In 1 Sam 15, the LORD rejects Saul from being king over Israel, because Saul had not obeyed the commandment of the LORD concerning the Amalekites. But Saul insisted that he did obey the LORD – he obeyed 90% of what the LORD told him to do! But notice that the LORD did not consider Saul’s 90% obedience, obedience, but rebellion.
God does not leave His commandments open for man’s interpretation and for man’s reasoning. We can’t excise out the parts that don’t make sense to us, or that we feel are unprofitable for us, and justify it by our obedience to the parts that do make sense to us. He considers that approach, rebellion and witchcraft; stubbornness and idolatry. The heart that is only submitted to the LORD in part, and not wholly His, is the heart that is not submitted to Him at all.
So they ran and brought him from there; and when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. And Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the LORD has chosen, that there is no one like him among all the people?” 1 Sam 10:23-24
So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before Him!” But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Sam 16:6-7
God is looking for people who look good on the inside! I have often wondered, if God knew about Saul, why did He not just choose David from the beginning. But David was too young to be king, when the people began clamoring for a king. God’s timing is perfect. He had already provided for Himself a king – He was already preparing His answer to Israel, even before they asked their request. But Israel was not willing to be patient and wait for God’s perfect choice in His timing. Because they would not wait upon the LORD, they got a answer – a flawed answer. God used their impatience, however, to teach them an important lesson about how deceiving outward appearances can be.
When the LORD chose David, he was again the youngest of his brothers. The LORD keeps choosing those who are passed over by men, by the world, by the wisdom of this world (1 Cor 1:26-29).