God Chooses Unlikely Vessels for Great Tasks

11.21.19 | by Dan Steere

God Chooses Unlikely Vessels for Great Tasks

    God Chooses Unlikely Vessels for Great Tasks


    The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”

    1 Samuel 16.1 

    Here is the beginning of the Bible’s account of David. Aside from those few things mentioned later, we know very little of his boyhood or of his personality before this seminal event. It’s as if David suddenly leaps onto the stage of Biblical history – an unknown shepherd boy, completely unaware of God’s plans for him. Yet, God has already chosen David, and that choice determined the course of his entire life. 

    It is likely that David was a teenager at this point, too insignificant to even be considered in selecting a king. His father left him watching the sheep when he called all the other brothers to Samuel’s sacrifice. For Samuel’s part, he continued to focus on outward appearance, and was ready to anoint David's older brother on the spot – until God corrected him. “...For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16.7) 

    Here we see God’s criterion for usefulness, the one characteristic that fits men and women for great tasks. Although he was physically handsome, David was largely unremarkable and without great gifts or pretensions. It was David’s heart that appealed to the Lord. We are told in 1 Kings 11.4 that his heart was “wholly true to the Lord his God.” It was this heart for God that, on the human level, provided the foundation for all his later accomplishments. 

    This is the pattern throughout Scripture and also in the history of the church. God consistently has chosen to work through the unimpressive, the unremarkable, the unknown, and the uneducated. (See 1 Corinthians 1.26; 2 Corinthians 4.7, 12.9) He has accomplished remarkable things through an impulsive fisherman, a former persecutor of Christians, a bipolar German monk, a converted slave trader, a depression-plagued evangelist, a teenaged preacher, etc. The outward condition of the willing vessels makes no difference, since it’s the omnipotent Holy Spirit Who does the work through them. As the Lord said to one of David’s descendants, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16.9) 

    So, what’s the best way to prepare ourselves for God’s use? While there is nothing wrong with pursuing education and training, such things should never divert our attention from pursuing a heart for God. Frankly, without this wholehearted devotion to God, it matters very little how educated, skilled, or doctrinally orthodox we are. But, if you have been given a heart like David’s, be assured that God will use you for His glory, regardless of your age, status, location, or disability. God loves to do great things through unlikely vessels.

    ~Pastor Steere