This is the first, in a several part study, on the life of King David. I plan on posting at least one each week until completed.
I need to start off this post by saying that I love the record of David in Scripture. I feel a special kind of kindred spirit with him. From the lowly shepherd boy in I Samuel, to the aged King of Israel in 2 Samuel. David is said to be a man after God’s own heart. He is the author of many of our beloved Psalms. I can feel the emotions of David in all of the ordeals of his life as I read them. David was not a perfect man, as none of us are. But David’s overriding passion was to His God. The study of David will teach us not just about himself, but more importantly, about David’s faithful God.
David is an outstanding type of The Lord Jesus Christ. The name David means “beloved”, or “beloved of God”. Of course, above all, Jesus was loved by the Father. David was born in Bethlehem, just as our Lord was born in Bethlehem. David spent his early days as a young shepherd boy in the quiet countryside. The Lord Jesus spent His early years in the sleepy, quiet village of Nazareth, as a carpenter. The Lord Jesus is also the true Shepherd of His sheep. When David was chosen by God to become king, the Spirit of God anointed him for the work. Our Lord was anointed by the Spirit as He began His Messianic ministry. David reigned as king in Jerusalem, and The Lord Jesus will reign in Jerusalem as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. David is a great type of The Lord Jesus. These are just a few things that I have thought of.
The Call of David
God had just rejected Israel’s first king, Saul. He had been disobedient, and therefore rejected by God. The prophet Samuel was in despair. He had invested a lot of time, and had great hope for Saul. I Sam 16:1 “The Lord said to Samuel, How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons”. The key word in this chapter is also the theme. The word “provide” is the key word. It is used 9 times in this chapter. Remember, the people of Israel had begged for a king, to be like the other nations. Saul was that king. Now God was providing for His own replacement.
So Samuel filled his horn with oil and headed for Bethlehem. When Jesse’s sons came marching in for the evening sacrifice, I think that Samuel had an intuition that he was seeing God’s choice of the next king. Verse 6-7 says that Samuel just knew when he laid his eyes on Eliab, that he was the choice. Eliab must have been quite a male specimen. We know he was tall, and undoubtedly handsome. He probably was the star of the Bethlehem High football team. He may have been part of the All-Judean All Star team. But he was not God’s choice.
Verse 7 should speak to everyone of us. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” Samuel was looking at Eliab’s outward qualities. He reminded him probably of Saul. Saul had the same outward qualities. I Sam. 9:2 tells us that no one was better looking than Saul. But God wasn’t impressed. He rejected both Eliab, and Saul. Only God’s perfect wisdom is adequate for directing His kingdom. We choose people in leadership, so often, based upon looks, and smoothness of speech. God looks only at the heart. This doesn’t mean that God’s against handsome, or pretty people, or smooth people. But these are the least important qualities to God.
Well, one after another of Jesse’s sons were paraded before the prophet Samuel. After inquiry of God, they were all rejected. All seven brothers present were not God’s choice. Now, I’m sure Samuel again was a little shaken. And he asked Jesse ” are these all of your sons”? Vs. 11. Jesse said “no, there remains the youngest who is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel told Jesse to send for him at once. There was to be no sacrificial meal until the shepherd appeared, sheep smell and all. This is the kind of stuff that country songs are made of. Psalm 78:70.
Now Jesse thought that there was no way that the youngest could have been God’s choice. We don’t even know his name until verse 13. Yet, God’s thoughts are not man’s thoughts. When the young shepherd boy appears, God insists ” This is the one.” Our God is not a slave to our conventional ways. He frequently stands human logic on its head. The same is true of David’s Greater Son, Jesus. The folks in Nazareth said “He’s just one of us.” Mark 6:3. Others said “He has to much fun.” Matthew 11:18-19. Others said “He is not from the right place.” John 7:42-43. And what did they know? Nothing. “The stone which the builders rejected, has become the chief cornerstone.” Psalm 118:22. There is a real delight that we should have over God’s unusual, unguessable ways.
So Samuel has God’s choice. He could empty his horn of oil. So he anointed David in the mist of his rejected brothers. And the Spirit of God rested upon David from that day forward. David was equipped for the work. God not only appoints His people to a task, but He also equips us to be able to do it. For all of the battles of life we are equipped by the Spirit of God. So it was with David’s Son, Jesus. The Spirit of God also rested upon Him. He came down like a dove upon Him. And then directly after, Jesus was driven out into the wilderness, there was the temptation, encounters with the enemy. And wild beasts. Mark 1:12-13
The servants of the Lord today find the same pattern. No longer are we brought into subjection to Christ, than we are swamped in trouble. If we will remember David, and his Greater Descendant, we begin to understand that this conflict is a sign of our sonship. That we are not under God’s displeasure, but His discipline. The wilderness is not a sign of His absence, but the place of His presence.
There is huge contrast between vs.13 and 14. The Spirit of the Lord came upon David, but departed from Saul. One of the sad text in the Bible. The Spirit departed. What a difference. And now in the following verses Saul is going to attempt to receive consolation from David. And we know that before long Saul will hate David. Should we not expect the same in this world? As Saul will hate David, so the world will hate Christ’s people. Jesus told us to expect it. But we are instructed to be the salt of the earth. We are the reason now that society and culture have not completely gotten worse than it is. Not that we Christians have all of the answers; but woe would be the world if God’s people, with all of our faults, are not in it.
When we study I Sam. 16, you can’t do so without sensing that he or she is in the presence of Jesus Christ. Verse 7 dominates my thought with the words ” Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.” This is just the Old Testament stating of what John wrote in vs. 2:25, ” For He Himself knew what was in man.” Who is this before us? Or have we failed to see Him because we put so much stalk in appearances?
We have a lot to learn studying David. Please return again next week as we continue.