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From Eternity Past

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    The Shepherd Boy Is Called to the Feast

    Eliab passed from the inspection of Samuel, and the six brothers who were in attendance at the service followed in succession to be observed by the prophet. But the Lord did not signify His choice of any one of them. With painful suspense, Samuel had looked upon the last of the young men. Perplexed and bewildered, he inquired, “Are here all thy children?” The father answered, “There remaineth yet the youngest, and behold, he keepeth the sheep.” Samuel directed that he be summoned. “We will not sit down till he come hither.”EP 463.2

    The lonely shepherd was startled by the unexpected call of the messenger who announced that the prophet had come to Bethlehem and had sent for him. Why should the prophet and judge of Israel desire to see him? But without delay he obeyed the call.EP 463.3

    “Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to.” As Samuel beheld the handsome, manly, modest shepherd boy, the voice of the Lord spoke: “Arise, anoint him: for this is he.” David had proved himself brave and faithful in the humble office of a shepherd, and now God had chosen him to be captain of His people. “Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of [from among] his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” With a relieved heart the prophet returned to Ramah.EP 463.4

    The ceremony of anointing David had been performed in secret. It was an intimation to the youth of the high destiny awaiting him, that amid all the perils of his coming years, this knowledge might inspire him to be true to the purpose of God to be accomplished by his life.EP 464.1

    The great honor conferred upon David did not serve to elate him. As humble and modest as before his anointing, the shepherd boy returned to the hills and watched his flocks. But with new inspiration he composed his melodies and played upon his harp.EP 464.2

    Before him spread a landscape of rich and varied beauty. He beheld the sun flooding the heavens with light, coming forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoicing “as a strong man to run a race.” There were bold summits of the hills reaching toward the sky. And beyond was God. The light of day, gilding forest and mountain, meadow and stream, carried the mind up to behold the Author of every good and perfect gift. Daily revelations of the character of his Creator filled the young poet's heart with adoration and rejoicing. The faculties of David's mind and heart were developing and coming into a more intimate communion with God. His mind was constantly penetrating into new depths for fresh themes to inspire his song and to wake the music of his harp. The rich melody of his voice poured out upon the air as if responsive to the angels’ songs in heaven.EP 464.3

    Who can measure the results of those years of toil and wandering among the lonely hills? The psalms of Israel's sweet singer were in all coming ages to kindle love and faith in the hearts of God's people, bringing them nearer to the loving heart of Him in whom all His creatures live.EP 464.4

    David was preparing to take a high position with the noblest of the earth. Clearer conceptions of God opened before his soul. Obscure themes were illuminated, difficulties made plain, perplexities harmonized. Each ray of new light called forth sweeter anthems of devotion to the glory of God and the Redeemer. As he beheld the love of God in the providences of his life, his heart throbbed with more fervent adoration and gratitude. His voice rang out in richer melody, his harp was swept with more exultant joy. And the shepherd boy proceeded from strength to strength, from knowledge to knowledge, for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him.EP 464.5

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