We are reminded in today’s reading that man does not see things as God does. We do not see the interior motivations of others, so we often misjudge situations and people. God’s plan for salvation is greater than we can comprehend, and God never abandons His creation.
In our first reading, we hear the often quoted line, “But the LORD said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance, but the LORD looks into the heart.”” Samuel is sent to Jesse in Bethlehem to anoint God’s chosen king. Jesse has eight sons, only seven of which were invited to the banquet. Samuel judges the appearance of each the seven sons, but God chooses none of them. For God sees the heart of each and only one is yearning for God, who is not present.
God has chosen the youngest son, David who is shepherding the flock in the field. The young David has a heart for God. In his role as shepherd, He has encountered God in His creation and has fallen in love with the Creator. David has become a compassionate shepherd who cares for his flock. He protects them, leads them and cares for all their needs. This is the heart that will serve God’s people.
The name David means “Beloved” or “Loved One”. David will become one of the greatest men of the Bible, mentioned more than 1,000 times in the pages of Scripture. Jesus’ lineage is referred to through the line of David. What separates David from the other great fathers in history? Abraham excelled in faith; Moses in fellowship with God and Elijah is fiery force of enthusiasm, but David’s motivation was love. David most revealed God to the people for our God is LOVE.
So often we question God’s choices especially when it involves us. Me, Lord? You want me to do what? I’m sorry Lord, I think You have made a mistake, I am not capable of that task. However, if we look at history, we will see that God usually chooses the least likely to accomplish His plan. Those who, by human standards seems ill-equipped, achieve great things when they accept God’s call. In working through the unlikely, God can reveal His presence and His power. This often leads others to faith in Him.
Jesus in our Gospel reminds us, “The sabbath is made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath.” The Pharisees pass judgement on the actions and appearance of Jesus and His apostles. They do not see into their hearts. They do not recognize Jesus as the Son of Man. They simply apply their rules without any consideration for the people and situation. Jesus reminds them of King David’s actions and how the needs of the people superseded the law. The Sabbath allows people a day of rest and the opportunity to praise the Lord. It is for the people’s benefit.
God looks into our hearts and sees what we truly are. He sees the king in the shepherd boy. He sees the hunger in the grain-pickers. He sees our abilities when we cannot and knows our hopes and fears. Appearances can be deceiving. But the Lord sees what is true.
All of God’s plans and His commandments are for our benefit. His motivation is always compassion for our needs, for His love for us is unending. Our challenge is to see the world through God’s eyes whose constant focus is LOVE, to trust God’s plans and to accept His call when it comes.