David—1 Samuel 16
Shaun LePage - October 31, 2008
I. Before we read ch. 16, let’s first remember the immediate context. What have we learned about Saul? What did he do in ch.15? Was this his first blunder? See ch.13—didn’t wait for Samuel; ch.14—foolish vow, tried to kill son; ch.15—didn’t obey, made excuses, false repentance/pride. What—according to Samuel—was going to happen now? The kingdom would be “torn away” from him.
A. 1-5: Samuel goes to Bethlehem. What do these verses tell you about Samuel? He “grieved” over Saul (15:35). In fact, he was afraid of him (v.2). Why? Probably because it appeared the entire kingdom was on the verge of collapse and Saul was hard-hearted, unrepentant and foolish. Israel was surrounded by enemies and needed a wise leader, but Saul was likely to make things worse. What else? Samuel’s perspective was off—he wasn’t thinking with God’s perspective. What do these verses tell us about God? He was not worried. He had a plan that even made sure Saul did not kill Samuel. It wasn’t a lie—God provided a legitimate way for Samuel to meet David. Why might the elders be afraid of Samuel? Maybe because he just flayed Agag. Maybe Saul had everyone on edge. Maybe they were afraid Samuel had come to bring judgment.
B. 6-13: David anointed. What do you find interesting about this passage?
1. What does v.7 say about God? God is omniscient, of course, but it tells us about what God values—reread 13:13-14; 15:22,23,28. How would you summarize all this—what does God value? Obedience. Don’t get ahead of the story yet. We’ll compare Saul’s and David’s disobedience later. What else does “heart” imply? Character issues—integrity, humility, etc.
2. Samuel is still not thinking like God. Samuel probably didn’t tell Jesse or anyone what he was doing—if word got out that he had anointed someone else, his life was in danger. Saul would have considered it treasonous. Notice how he seems to poor the oil then leave.
3. Jesse may have shown a certain level of neglect for David by not having him there, though he probably didn’t know what Samuel intended to do. When Jesse admits he has one more son, Samuel seems to demonstrate a little more perspective—“Go get him!”
4. David was the youngest. Tending the sheep. Ruddy (reddish—perhaps complexion and hair color). Beautiful eyes and handsome appearance (though his “appearance” had nothing to do with why he was chosen). Anointing was used to inaugurate Saul, priests and prophets. Why is it so significant that David was anointed by Samuel? The writer wants us to know that David wasn’t some renegade who snatched the throne away from the rightful king, Saul. God—through His prophet gave the throne to David. What do you think is significant about “in the midst of his brothers”? There were eyewitnesses! Interestingly, the Jewish historian Josephus wrote that after Samuel anointed David he whispered in his ear, “You will be the next king.” If Samuel said anything, he probably wanted everyone in the room to know what the anointing meant. What happened to David after he was anointed? “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon” him. Remember that—David was a man after God’s own heart, but that doesn’t mean he was a great king in his own power.
C. 14-23: Saul terrorized. What is the big contrast that takes place at the beginning of this section? “The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul” almost simultaneously when it came on David. What does all this tell us about the ministry of the Holy Spirit at this time? His indwelling was not permanent until Pentecost (John 14:16-17; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:13). What do you make of this “evil spirit from the Lord”? God allowed this spirit to torment Saul as discipline (cf., Job 1:12; 2:6). We shouldn’t think this was cruel punishment. It is more consistent with Scripture to believe that this was God’s grace—an attempt to lead Saul to repentance (Hebrews 12:6-11) because God was very patient with Saul. What do you think is significant about the fact that David was employed by Saul? Saul’s torment provided David with his second step toward the kingdom. His fame was growing. Of course, this demonstrates the sovereignty of God more than anything. We’re not told who it was that knew David and told Saul about him, but it was “one of the young men”. Perhaps a friend of David who had seen David kill a bear or a lion protecting the sheep. What does it say about David that he had been anointed to be king, but he served Saul in such a way that “Saul loved him greatly”? David didn’t try to force Saul out and take the throne. He remained humble and servant-minded. What does this scene—David providing soothing music to Saul and the two of them spending a lot of time together even though Saul had been rejected and David had been anointed—say about God? He was gracious to Saul and probably even using Saul to train David in some ways. No doubt David became familiar with the procedures and practices of the kingship as he served Saul.
D. What do you think we’re supposed to learn from this chapter?
1. God is in control. He was not worried about Saul. He had a better man in the wings. He moved Samuel to anoint the right man. He moved David into Saul’s life in preparation to be king.
2. God looks at the heart. He is looking for people who will obey and live and lead with integrity and character. He looks into the hearts of kings and others whom the world reveres and sees foolishness and pride. He looks out across the sea of mankind into the hearts of nobodies and sees greatness.