Being known

watermelon-saltGreat combinations: blue jeans and a white t-shirt, French fries and ketchup, watermelon and salt, surf and sun, peanut butter and jelly…

I have a new one for you. This one is even better: 1/2 Samuel and Psalms.

Peanut butter

In 1 Samuel 16, the story of David begins. We learn about his anointing as the future king of Israel, his battle with Goliath, his tumultuous relationship with Saul, … The story continues through 2 Samuel (David’s death is finally described in 1 Kings 2).

Jelly

In many of the Psalms we get David’s firsthand account of his relationship with God. He worships, he complains, he rages, he honors. I encourage you to find yourself in David’s story and poetry.

David is a mighty figure in the Bible for the same reasons that you and I are key figures in God’s kingdom. David was selected, he was loved, he achieved great heights, and he stumbled to devastating depths. He was not perfect, but he loved God. You are important because God has already selected you. He chose you to love you.

An example

Let’s take a look at 1 Samuel 16. God has rejected Saul, Israel’s first king, because he chose to celebrate himself rather than God. He chose his own path, so God needed a new king to lead his people. He commands Samuel to anoint this new king. He told Samuel that the new king would be one of Jesse’s sons, but he did not tell him which one of Jesse’s eight boys it would be.

When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

Here’s the cool thing about David’s selection. He didn’t do anything to be chosen. He didn’t apply, he wasn’t nominated, he didn’t lobby, he did nothing. God already knew that David was the man to lead his people. God also knew that David would eventually commit adultery and have Bathsheba’s husband murdered in battle (2 Samuel 11). I’ll let you in on a secret. God already knows you, too.

Let’s now take a look at Psalm 139. I imagine that David relives his selection and anointing in the first few verses:

1 You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

David understood that he was intimately known because he was chosen before he asked, before he even knew to ask. This is the fantastic news for you. You were also known and selected before you took your first breath. Look back over the arc of your life. What unpredictable event or time period have you experienced that you can’t explain? Is it possible that you traveled that path to prepare you for what God has in store for you?

You are known and loved my friend.  Ask your loving father to search you, to hem in you in behind and before. He has a great journey for you! You’ll find the greatest combination of all: God and you.

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About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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