V 1. Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”
This was a mighty difficult assignment for Samuel! Israel already had a King – Saul. Saul was highly respected as a warrior king and any rebellion against his rule would have been dealt with sharply. But he was out of kilter with God, and was on a downward spiral of pride and selfishness. For Samuel to openly anoint another King however was to invite retaliation as it would have been seen as a revolt against Saul’s rightful position as king. Samuel must have set out for Bethlehem with some sense of foreboding; but the scene is set for the emergence of Bethlehem as a focal point in the purposes of God. Israel’s most powerful, respected and godly king was born and lived there, and some 1,000 years later another King – Jesus – would also be born there. It was not into some capital city or royal palace that either of these people were born but into the small, and ancient, village of Bethlehem out in the countryside. Even Jerusalem only came into prominence when David made it his capital some years later. God’s economy includes the small and apparently insignificant, as it always has. That is God’s nature, and His purposes are big enough to include you too today.