God’s perfect number seven
The Bible contains some very interesting symbolism; for example the number seven has much significance. It is the symbol of completion and of Divine perfection. God told Naaman to bathe in the Jordan seven times and he would be cleansed of leprosy. Joshua was commanded to march around the walls of Jericho seven times and, did you know that seven priests blew seven trumpets to bring those walls down?
Boxing God in
We often see ‘patterns’ like this in scripture and then think to ourselves, “hah! So this is how God works, I have the Lord all figured out now!” We try to box God into our ideas of Him, and how we think He should do things. The problem with that way of thinking is that when God doesn’t act as we believe He ‘ought to’, we more or less tell Him by our attitudes, “you can’t do that Lord, that isn’t how you do things!”
Perhaps Jesse subconsciously did this, when Samuel told him to bring his sons, so that the Lord would show Samuel which of Jesses’s sons to select and anoint as the future king. Jesse brought seven sons and stood them before Samuel. Perhaps I’m reading too much into this, but I can’t help wondering if Jesse, once he had been blessed with his seventh son, felt complete; satisfied. Notice this: “In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 1 Samuel 16:10
All seven of Jesse’s sons? Jesse had eight sons! But he had only bothered to present seven to be considered by Samuel. Samuel however, was attuned to the voice of God: “Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.” “Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.” So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.” So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on.” 1 Samuel 16:11-13
It’s almost as if this eighth son was of little consequence in his family. If seven was perfection to Jesse, an eighth son would have been superfluous, extra, spare – surplus to requirements.
Whether that’s what went on in Jesse’s mind is only an interesting theory, however what is true is that David was the youngest, the baby, and his own father did not consider him worth bringing before Samuel. I wonder how this effected David’s view of himself. I wonder if this is exactly why David grew up knowing how to seek the company and refuge if the Lord; why he had such a deep loving relationship with Lord? Because as a boy and teen, he had no one else. He was the extra one. But He was God’s choice!
Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Um, hang on a minute, isn’t there another son?’ (my paraphrase) and only then was David fetched: “as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on.” 1 Samuel 16:13 (NLT)
You may not always be the first choice by your church leaders, or your boss. You might still be waiting for a life partner. Perhaps you feel overlooked and undervalued. But you have not been forgotten by the Lord. Eighth-son
David just quietly obeyed his father and kept the sheep. There may be long periods where you feel that’s all you do; exist in the background, barely noticed, hardly making impact, until suddenly it is your ‘appointed time’… and everything changes!
God’s perfect number eight, nine, ten….
Many Christians go through life with an ‘eighth son complex’. They have a deep seated belief that they are overlooked and forgotten. But not one is forgotten by the Lord. There is no ‘pecking order’ in God’s family. God doesn’t have first, second, third, fourth and so on. Each and every one of His children, in His eyes, is cause for celebration; each one has a God-ordained future.
If you feel forgotten and overlooked today, I hope this will encourage you. And if not, perhaps you could encourage someone else! Be patient and wait for God. Don’t let persistent ’no’s’ discourage you or keep you from your God-given dreams. If God has a plan for you, He will make it happen. And lastly, remember what Samuel said: that while man looks at the outside, God looks at the heart. He sees the real you. Under David’s humble, rough, shepherd’s robes beat the heart of a Godly King, a man after God’s own heart. What’s the condition of your heart?