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The Person God Is Looking For

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Mike Kollin was linebacker for the Miami Dolphins when his former college coach, Shug Jordan, asked him to do some recruiting. Mike says, "What kind of player are you looking for?" The coach says, "Well, Mike, you know there's that fellow, you knock him down, he just stays down?" Mike says, "We don't want him, do we, coach?" "No, that's right. Then there's that fellow, you knock him down and he gets up, but you knock him down again and he stays down." Mike answers, "We don't want him either, do we, coach?" Coach says, "No, but Mike, there's a fellow, you knock him down, he gets up. Knock him down, he gets up. Knock him down, he gets up." Mike said, "That's the guy we want, isn't it, coach?" The coach answers, "No, we don't want him either. We want the guy who's knocking everybody down!"[i]

            They’re called scouts—people who visit high school and college games, looking on the basketball court for the next Michael Jordan, on the football field for the next Peyton Manning, on the tennis court for the next Venus or Serena Williams. Most players will be only average, but they’re on the lookout for shining exceptions: the extraordinary boy or girl who has the potential to be a champion.
            The Bible says God is doing some scouting of His own, not for people with great ability, but for those with a heart after God’s own heart.           

2 Ch 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…”

            God’s looking for people He can make champions of faith, men and women and boys and girls who aren’t satisfied with an average religion—their hearts burn with a deep love for more of God.

1 Samuel 16 begins the story of a young boy whom God describes as a man after His own heart. God sees something in him that He’s looking for in each of us. Read with me in

1 Samuel 16:1-2 and let’s discover what kind of person God’s looking for.   


2 Ch 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…”

            God’s not looking for people with extraordinary talents or abilities. Passing a football or dribbling a basketball or singing songs or even public speaking are all nice gifts, but that’s not what makes you a spiritual champion. It takes a certain kind of heart to make this team.

            In this chapter, we get a good look not only at what God is looking for, but at some things God is not looking for, beginning with this one:


 I read there’re about 1600 members of the Flat Earth Research Society of America. They refuse to believe the earth is round, but insist it’s flat. Their president, Charles K. Johnson, explains his view this way: “I’ve been a flat-earther all my life. When I saw the globe in grade school, I didn’t accept it. It was illogical.”

This is a good example of a hard-headed person. They know the facts, but the facts don’t matter. They stubbornly cling to their illusions and reject reality.

Israel’s first king was a hard-headed, hardhearted  man named Saul.

For most of its early history, Israel was ruled directly by God Himself through prophets and judges. But in 1 Samuel, they ask for a king like all the other nations. So Saul becomes king.

            At first, Saul does all right, but soon he has some problems doing things his own way instead of God’s way. His disobedience leads God to reject him as King. Saul still sits on the throne, still give the orders, but he no longer has God’s blessing. He’s hard-headed.

This is the situation in  1 Sam. 16:1-2a. Samuel, God’s prophet, is sad and sorry. Samuel has been Saul’s friend, his biggest supporter before his fall from grace. He’s moping around, feeling sorry for himself and for Saul, when God says How long are you going to pout? I’ve got other plans. I’ve rejected Saul as King. It’s time to move on. Go to Jesse’s house because I’ve found the man I’m looking for there.

Samuel loses his blues and gets nervous. How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me!

Samuel knows Saul will never give up his throne. He’ll do whatever is necessary to hold on to power—even if it means killing God’s prophet, his own friend Samuel. Saul’s not only hard-headed—he’s also hard hearted.

            Now here it’d be easy to look at Saul and say what a loser! He’s so stubborn he thinks he can get away with defying God! He’s so cold he’s willing to kill people who love him to get what he wants? Before we point the finger at Saul, let’s be sure we understand the same thing can happen to you or I.

            Most of us have a stubborn streak that shows up when things don’t go our way. We adults are just as prone to pouting as babies, even when we’re wrong. Forgive me if it sound harsh, but many church people I’ve known (including myself) seem especially prone to stubbornness.

Think about it. Most of our problems are not over truly important things. They are really over the fact we don’t get our way—even when our way is not God’s way.  We tend to be a little hardheaded sometimes.

This hardheadedness often leads to hardheartedness. We hold grudges against even our brothers and sisters in Christ. We say we forgive, but refuse to forget, and nurse those grudges until they become hatred—what Jesus calls murder in the heart in Matt. 5:21-22.  

            Saul is a good example of not a champion, but a loser. It’s not that God doesn’t love Saul or love us when we’re hardheaded and hardhearted. It’s that our stubborn pride alienates us from the God Who loves us. God isn’t looking for hardheaded hardhearted people, because their hearts are not right with Him. This chapter goes on to show that  


            Our culture is in love with appearances. Only the prettiest faces show up on magazines, only the most photogenic show up on TV or movies. We airbrush the pictures, inject the Botox, try to make men and women look younger, more attractive, more appealing. We make plastic surgeons millionaires. We love appearances, but not beauty.

They say beauty is only skin deep, which means beautiful people are no different from ugly people except for their appearance. 

Samuel learns a lesson we all must learn in vs. 7: …the Lord does not see as man sees; for man  looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the  heart.

God offers his fearful prophet a plan to get him to Bethlehem, and Samuel saddles up the donkey and heads out. Everybody gets a little nervous when they see Samuel ride into town. They know Saul and Samuel aren’t getting along well, but Samuel reassures them: Relax guys. I’m here to hold a revival. Get yourselves ready to worship the Lord, and be sure Jesse and his family are invited!  After the services are over, Samuel calls Jesse & sons to him.

            The first son Jesse proudly struts out is Eliab, who makes a big impression on Samuel. He’s probably tall, muscular, with the strong chiseled features of an imposing ruler. Look at those biceps! Those hands could really wield a sword! Check out the profile! Pretty kingly! This guy will really turn heads! He must be the one!  

            Just as Samuel is ready to break out the anointing oil, God speaks to him. Hold on a minute Sammy! This is not my man! This is not the kind of person I am looking for! I see beyond the physical appearance all the way down to the heart! This hunk’s heart is not what I’m looking for. He’s not the One.

Jesse brings out Son # 2- Abinidab, who is not too shabby either, but God says No, not him. Then Son # 3- Shammah. Then a few more sons. They’re all are fine boys, but they are not the one God is looking for. God is not looking for just another handsome hunk.

It’s human nature to judge people by externals. Too often, who or what a person is is not nearly as important to us as how they appear to be. It’s not that your appearance doesn’t matter- that is not the message. How you dress and present yourself does say a lot about you.   

 The point is God is not impressed by appearances. He’s not just looking for some handsome hunk or pretty princess. He’s not seeking people with perfect teeth, clear complexions, or buffed up bodies.

He’s not looking for folks who can put up a good front for a hard heart. How you look on the outside is not as important as who you are on the inside. Our Lord Jesus echoes these words in

Jn 7:24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”

God is not impressed by appearances. Isn’t that good news? Other people judge you by your looks, but not God. He sees you as you are, and loves you as you are.

On the other hand, you and I need to be careful we don’t try to cover up what is inside of us by prettying up the outside. The Pharisees tried to do this, and Jesus said to them:

Matthew 23:27-28 27“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

God sees all the way down to your very heart and soul. What does He see there?

None of Jesse’s handsome hunks are the man God is looking for. It’s not that God doesn’t love them; it’s that God is not impressed with our outward appearance. He sees our heart. Which brings us to one final point:


            After Samuel works his way through all of Jesse’s sons, I imagine there’s a long silence. Samuel scratches his head, checks his notes, and tries to figure out what went wrong.

“This is Bethlehem, right?’ They all nod. “Your name is Jesse, right?” The old man nods.

“Well I just don’t understand. This is where God said to look. These are all of your sons, right?” Jesse replies sheepishly. “Well there is one more: my youngest. He takes care of the sheep”

Samuel sighs, rubs his temples tries to stay calm as he says, “Go get him! Nobody sits down to supper until he gets here!” Jesse sends one of his boys, who mutters about how it stinks down in the sheep pen to go get his youngest.

He’s not what Samuel expects. First of all, he’s young- probably somewhere around 16-17 years old. He doesn’t look old enough to drive, much less rule a nation. He’s ruddy: either red-headed, or red-skinned, tanned by the sun. He’s a sheep herder- not the highest spot on the totem pole of prestige. He is the youngest son, on the lowest rung of the social ladder. Yet as soon as Samuel sees him, God says He’s the One! Anoint him to be King of My People.

So right there, with his dad and all of his big brothers watching, Samuel pours oil over a young man named David’s head, signifying He is God’s chosen King.

Notice vs. 13 and 14 says two things happen almost simultaneously: the Spirit of the Lord comes upon David, and the Spirit of the Lord leaves Saul. When Saul’s look for somebody to help Saul, they choose David because vs. 18 says about David the Lord is with him.

            We know why God rejected Saul, but why did He choose David?

1 Samuel 13:14 …The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart…

He found this man in David. What was it about David that impressed God?  

God has David’s heart. David loves the Lord with all his heart, mind, and soul. His love for God is strong and passionate. In spite of all his later faults and failures, you will have a hard time finding anybody in the Bible who loved God so much. Read the psalms and you’ll hear the voice of a man who is captivated by his love for the Lord.  

But it’s also true David has God’s heart. If I were to ask you who, besides God, is mentioned more times in the Bible than anybody else, who would you guess? That’s right—David. God is touched by David’s love for Him. God’s love for David is the reason why his life was so blessed. God’s love for David is also why God corrected, chastised, and punished David when he went astray.

God loved David perfectly, and David loved God passionately. This is what it means to be a man after God’s own heart: to respond to God’s perfect love for us by passionately loving Him.

2 Ch 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…”

Now before I’m done let me make sure I’m clear. When I say God is not looking for hardheaded or hardhearted or handsome people, I don’t mean God has no interest in them.

The Lord Jesus Christ tells us God loves us all—even the hardheaded and hardhearted. He is looking for you the way a shepherd looks for a lost lamb, or a father watches the road for his prodigal son to come home. Jesus Christ didn’t suffer and die for good people—He died for hard-headed, hardhearted people like you and like me.

            What I am saying is if you want a heart after God’s heart, you must soften your heart. If your heart is hardened by guilt, but hurt, by pride, if you demand your own way, He will give it to you. But you cannot have your way and His way, too. Your way inevitably leads to more suffering, more hurt, and ultimately to death for your body and your soul.

But if you soften your heart before the Lord, if you come humbly to Him, and lay down your pride, lay down your life, you’ll discover how much God truly loves you. He will forgive you of all your sins, He will give you a new life that will last forever, He will make you a new person.

 2 Ch 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him…”

He’s looking for you today. Won’t you come to Him?


[i] James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988), p. 466.

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