Isaiah records this strange conversation between brothers about who should lead them, with one of them suggesting that their leader should be the one still with a cloak or jacket. At that point in time, the ruling class had all been taken captive by an invading military power. Those left behind had no experience leading a city or territory, let alone a family.
The prophet Isaiah understood the way the human mind works. He recognized that desperate people do desperate things or make desperate decisions, often without thinking through the long-term consequences. This is particularly true in terms of who they are willing to follow.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, another prophet, Samuel, was guided by God Himself to choose Israel’s second king, David. When Samuel looked at David’s older brothers, he was sure the next king would be one of these fine young men. But God directed him to look beyond external qualities. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7b). Samuel anointed David as the next king and the Spirit of God descended on the boy.
What about you? When you get desperate, to whom do you turn? Are you willing to follow anyone who will listen or who seems like a reasonable option? Or do you follow Samuel’s example and look past the surface — presumably wise words or a captivating appearance — and instead listen for God’s direction?
Oh God, it is so easy to get swept away by the competing voices in the world. Let me listen for your voice of comfort, wisdom and grace when I’m in trouble. Amen.
Go Deeper — Think about a time you had to decide who to follow. What influenced you?
Read Further — Read a biography of a Christian leader who led courageously against the opposition, perhaps Corrie Ten Boom or Dietrich Bohnhoeffer who stood up to the Nazis in World War II Germany.
Photo Credit: Noe Araujo