“In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples, of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10
The prophet Samuel was sent by God to anoint a new king over Israel. He was to go to Bethlehem and find this king among the sons of Jesse. With no pageantry or public proclamations, Samuel approached Jesse and his sons, looking for the one he thought was worthy to be king. The oldest son stood proudly with intelligent eyes, but God quickly informed Samuel that this was not the chosen one. Another son stood before the prophet, his strength was evident in his physical stature, but he too was not be the future king. Five more sons, each having distinct characteristics outwardly that seemed royal in nature, passed before Samuel, yet God was not interested in any of these sons. God told Samuel that He doesn’t look on the outward appearance, but rather on the heart. Heeding God’s word but feeling frustrated, Samuel pleaded with Jesse, did he have any more sons? Reluctantly, Jesse admitted his youngest was left in the fields, herding sheep. As the forgotten David appeared before Samuel, God told Samuel that this was the one. Although David was anointed that day, his time to reign would not happen for many years. Meanwhile, he would be insulted by his family, face giants, be chased by a king and his army, and forced to be homeless! Only after all these trials would David finally receive his crown and rule as king.
About one thousand years later, in the small village of Bethlehem, the king of all kings was about to enter the world. His birth would not be marked by any other leaders of his nation, only poor shepherds would acknowledge his arrival. His parents, likely feeling forgotten and inconsequential, could not even find a proper place for his mother to give birth. Instead, their last resort was a stable meant to house animals. His first cradle would not be covered with plush purple blankets, the color of royalty, instead he would be wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a bed of straw in a rough feeding trough. Although his birth signified the promise of redemption being fulfilled, he wouldn’t fulfill that promise for another thirty-three years. During that time, he would be rejected by the people he grew up with, betrayed by all his closest friends, slandered by the religious leaders of his day, beaten until his body was covered with stripes, and crucified on a cross. Yet, this king would reign, conquering death and the grave! He would ascend into heaven, and more than two thousand years later, we eagerly await his return! This time, his kingship will be recognized by everyone, for the Lord declares, “every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess”!