“you were little in your own eyes…”
1 Samuel 15:17
This is such an interesting verse to me. Very telling. Samuel was speaking these words to King Saul, and they were a challenge, in a way. And so they are to me.
When Saul was first informed that he had been chosen to be the king of Israel, he protested. “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all of the families of the tribe of Benjamin?” (1 Samuel 9:21) And then when the time came to present Saul to the Israelites as their king, he was hiding. Despite his impressive stature and his lofty calling, he was indeed little in his own eyes.
But the role, or title, or privileges of being king had gone to his head. He no longer saw himself as little. He had offered a sacrifice unlawfully, without waiting for Samuel, seemingly believing that his role as ruler also entitled him to take Samuel’s role as priest, too. In this passage, we again see Saul disobeying God’s command, and this time Samuel confronts him with a very true assessment: “You are no longer little in your own eyes.”
When Saul was little in his own eyes, God saw him as a king. For indeed, while God knows our every flaw, He also sees all that we can become. Jesus told us to be perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect, and when Jesus is our Lord and Savior, God sees us through the filter of His Holy Son, who died to erase our sins and wash us white as snow.
But how do we see ourselves? Am I little in my own eyes? Do I see all that I have accomplished, instead of seeing that it was He who gave me the strength to accomplish it? Do I look upon my spiritual growth with pride, and fail to see how far I have to go? Do I strive to remove the speck from another’s eye, while ignoring the plank in my own?
As I grow in Him, I am able to offer more to others, but the more we are capable of, the harder it is to be humble. But humility has to be what we strive for; the highest goal we can attain, because He promises that if we humble ourselves in His sight, He will lift us up.
To be little in our own eyes, is to be humble in His sight.