1 Samuel 16:1-5 Because of disobedience, King Saul was destined to be removed as king of Israel by the hand of God’s judgment. But the work of God among Israel would go on. God had chosen a young boy who had a heart “after God’s own heart”. Samuel was commissioned by God to anoint Saul’s replacement. But this was not going to be an easy task for Samuel.
The Lord rebuked Samuel, for he had grieved over His rejection of Saul far too long. It had been the sad duty of Samuel to inform Saul of his rejection by the Lord. Samuel had held great hope for Saul, for Saul appeared to have all the attributes needed to be a very successful ruler. He was tall, handsome, and had a charismatic personality.
When he first began to rule he had a humble and a courageous spirit. Saul had been chosen to be king by the Lord Himself, and the Lord had transformed him, giving him a new and changed heart.
But Saul had failed and been condemned by God and rejected as king. The tragedy of Saul’s failure grieved Samuel as Scripture says, for some long period of time he mourned. It was time for Samuel to snap out of his grief and mourning and to arise and secretly anoint a new king. Samuel feared that Saul would hear about the secret anointing and kill him because Saul would interpret the anointing as a threat to his own claim to the throne.
The LORD’s solution: He was to go for the purpose of offering a sacrifice to prevent Saul from being suspicious. The Lord’s solution was for Samuel to go for the purpose of offering a sacrifice which would prevent the arousal of suspicion. The Lord instructed Samuel to invite Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice. At some point during the sacrifice, the Lord would indicate which son was to be anointed as the secret king.
The obedience of Samuel Samuel obeyed. When Samuel arrived in Bethlehem, the officials feared that he had come to hold court and to execute some judgment. But Samuel assured them that he had come only to offer sacrifice to the Lord. He called them to sanctify themselves and to come to the sacrifice with him. Samuel overcame his discouragement by being redirected and obedience to the Lord.
2. The secret anointing of David: Being empowered by God’s Spirit (1 Samuel 16:6-13)
1 Samuel 16:6-13 –When Jesse and his sons first arrived at the worship service, Samuel’s attention was immediately drawn to the oldest son, Eliab. The young man was tall and attractive. Samuel thought that surely this was God’s choice. But the Lord rebuked Samuel for considering the outward appearance and not thinking as the Lord thinks.
The qualification of God for service is not physical appearance but the heart. Man usually looks at the outward things, but the Lord looks at the heart. Jesse was not much different than Samuel as has each of his seven sons in descending order by age pass in front of Samuel. The Lord’s choice was the youngest son considered by his father not even to be eligible or qualified to be consideration by Samuel. Samuel was puzzled by the Lord’s rejection of Jesse’s seven sons.
Did Jesse have other sons? Jesse replied that he did have a younger son who had been left behind to tend the sheep. Hearing this, Samuel immediately sent for David. When David arrived, the Lord immediately identified David as His choice to be king. He was God’s choice: not because of his striking physical features, but because he was a young boy with a heart “after God’s own heart”.
David was anointed in the presence of his brothers and apparently no one else. While he was being anointed, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. Note what Scripture says: the Spirit of the Lord remained on him from that day forward. God’s Spirit never left David. The greatest gift in all the world is the gift of God’s Spirit.
When we approach God through Yeshua, God places His own Spirit in us, in the very core of our being. We become indwelt by God’s Spirit. It is God’s Spirit who convicts and saves and gives us assurance of salvation. He guides, teaches, protects, and provides the necessities of life for us, meeting all our needs.
It is this Spirit that anoints us and never leaves us and identifies us with the King of Kings. It is the Spirit of God who empowers us to conquer all the trials and temptations of life, who enables us to live a victorious and triumphant life day by day.
3. The beginning of David’s preparation to be king: A picture of God’s sovereignty (1 Samuel 16:14-23).
1 Samuel 16:14-23 – God here now begins to make the transition in Israel’s leadership. This section reminds us of God’s sovereignty and guidance. First God removes His Spirita. The removal of God’s Spirit from Saul from Saul. But even more tragic than this, an evil spirit was sent by the Lord to torment Saul. The Spirit of God was no longer present to guide, protect, or provide for Saul as he walked daily throughout the remainder of his life. No wonder David understood so well the consequences of what he wrote in Psalm 51:11.
But what does it mean when it says that the Lord sent a tormenting spirit on him, a spirit that filled him with depression and fear? Various commentators have interpreted this to mean that demon-possession was sent on Saul as a judgment because of his disobedience, or that these attacks were allowed by God because of his disobedience, or a deep sense of guilt, depression, and fear, all kinds of emotional and psychological problems came upon aroused by God within Saul because of his disobedience.
Whatever the case, Saul had disobeyed God and was now reaping what he had sown. The hand of God’s judgment had fallen on him. God’s Spirit had left Saul to live the sinful and disobedient life Saul had chosen (Romans 1:24). The change in Saul’s behavior caused his attendants to suggest that a harpist be found to soothe Saul when he was stricken with an episode of depression and fear.
Saul agreed and ordered a musician to be found, one who played well. God providentially saw to it that David be that harpist. When David began serving Saul, the king was very impressed with him, so impressed that he made David one of his armor-bearers. And he requested that David’s father Jesse allow his son to become a permanent member of his court. In the sovereignty of God, God moved events in order to place David in the court of Saul. God worked all things out, moving the events so that the preparation of the future king could begin.
By being in the court of Saul, David would learn how a king should rule a nation. He would learn exactly what a king should and should not do. He would be exposed to the nation’s economic, military, and justice systems and to the morality and character of its officials. God moved events so that David could learn how to fulfill his task upon this earth.
The lesson for us is clear: God is sovereign. He rules and reigns over the earth.