Our Sunday school lesson last Sunday was especially meaningful because it dealt with the truth that God loves to use the most unlikely. That thought gives me great comfort and joy, because I, too, have been (and today still am) one of those most unlikely persons to do what God has called me to do.

God, likewise, chose a most unlikely candidate to succeed Saul as king of Israel. Saul was chosen to be king some years earlier, for all the wrong reasons. First of all, God did not want them to have a king. A theocracy (governed by God) was what God wanted. He wanted their total allegiance — not to share it with some human king. But nothing doing! The people demanded a king, and so God, in essence, said, “Well if you want a king, then a king you shall have.”

Saul was chosen, largely because he was tall, broad-shouldered, and handsome. How can a nation go wrong with such a leader?

Everything will always go wrong when a nation elects a leader, who is comely in appearance but lacks inward substance. When Saul cowered at the thought of a conquest, which was looming for him against a 10-foot warrior, it was then that a little, ruddy-complected, shepherd boy — the youngest in the family, and disdained by his brothers, came forward — with not many resources, strength, or implements of warfare. But what he had was enough! He had a heart for God and an assurance that God would fight the battle with the giant Philistine, using him as an instrument.

God sent the prophet Samuel to Bethlehem, to the house of Jesse, to choose the successor to Saul. When Samuel caught a glimpse of the eldest son, Eliab, who was tall, rugged and handsome, Samuel said, “This is the man!” But God said, “No, I don’t look on the outward appearance, but I look into the heart.” Little insignificant (humanly speaking) David, who was small, appearing too young, and was told by his older brothers to return to his father’s sheep, was the one who possessed a heart for God.

Although the small, ruddy-complected David gathered five smooth stones for his slingshot, because God’s might and power, he only needed one. He bravely and unwaveringly faced the giant, hurled the stone at him, smacking him in the forehead, causing the giant to fall to the ground. If he wasn’t dead yet, David took care of that by beheading him.

What do we take away from such a story? It’s this: God delights in choosing the ordinary, and the least likely, to do His work on earth. Why? Because if he used someone full of themselves — and with a stellar reputation, and a silver tongue, he or she would receive all the glory. But God receives glory when he uses the inept, the scrubs, the unpolished, the ones who seldom are the first chosen by man, to play on the team.

Churches generally aren’t interested in having a pastor who sounds “pastoral.” They want one who has a heart for the people and most of all for Him. Nations aren't necessarily interested in a leader who sounds “professional.” They want someone who can deliver.

That should give every child of God great hope for a great future — to know that God does not call the qualified, he qualifies whom He calls.


Paul Gauntt currently serves as the pastor of First Baptist Church of Palmer.