GOD’S CHOICE OF DAVID (1 Samuel 16)
David was a man of all seasons. His life marked an epoch of God’s working His plan and purpose in the halls of history. Born to be a king, yet lived his early life as a shepherd. A man of war; yet longed for peace. Knew what it was to experience the joy of the mountaintops of life; yet experienced the depths in the valley of despair. Popular but not without rejection. Gulston tells us that, “in David all people would see themselves, in his hopes and his fears, in his failing, and in his strivings to climb the High Way.”
EVENTS LEADING TO THE CHOICE OF DAVID
One cannot get a true picture of the importance of David without some knowledge of the events before his introduction in 1 Samuel 16. The kingship of Saul and his failure led to the events of David. Notice three things about the kingship of Saul:
· He was the people’s choice (1 Sam. 8:7-8). God allowed them the desire of their hearts.
· He was a man of great looks and ability (1 Sam. 9:2).
· Once king he failed miserably in doing the will of God (1 Sam. 15:9, 20-21) consequently rejected by God (1 Sam. 15:28).
Getz says, “the story of Saul is one of psychological, physical and spiritual deterioration.” Saul’s downward direction is caused by his unbelief (1 Sam. 13:11); his impatience, he ran ahead of God (1 Sam. 13); and his dishonesty, when asked by Samuel what he did, he blamed others (Jonathan in 1 Sam 14; the people of God in 1 Sam. 15). Wiersbe points out that, “We don’t have to commit a serious sin to start on that steep road that leads to disgrace, discipcle and possible death.”
It does not end well with Saul. It ended with rejection by stubbornness; not restoration by repentance. It is not how we begin in life, but how we end that important. Yes, we will have failures and sin, even deep sin, but it does not have to end in rejection. God is willing and able to restore because of repentance of the heart (cf. Luke 15:17-24). We all are in some way or time prodigal sons that need to be restored. Saul refused to return to his father’s house.
THE CHOICE OF DAVID
Saul was the choice of man, which failed. David is the choice of God. That choice is not perfect. David will have his failures, but instead of rejection, God will restore him because he was a man after God’s heart. The choice of David is seen in 1 Samuel 16:1-13. The prophet Samuel has rebuked Saul and has nothing to do with him until his death (1 Sam. 15:35). Saul had become a recluse living under the regret of the Lord. Yet he is still king and has the power of a king.
In 1 Samuel 16:1-13, there are three parts to the choice of God. They are:
The Mission of Samuel 16:1-5.
This has been called the capstone of Samuel’s career. Yet it is a mission that Samuel did not want. There are two stated reasons for this: (1) Grief over Saul [v. 1]; and (2) the Fear of Saul [v.2]. It saddens Samuel that God rejected Saul. This may because of his own part in making Saul king. He grieves because of what Saul became and because God rejected him. He had done his best for Saul. Now he was left devastated. Sauel is also fearful of Saul (as was Moses [Exodus 3:ll, 13; 14:1] and Jeremiah [1:6]), who could be described as the Herod of the Old Testament. He was selfish, demented because of his power, and self-protecting of his own power at all cost. He knew that Saul was willing to destroy him because of such a mission. Like most of us, Saul, would strike out at the massager, instead of heeding the message (cf. 13:14). Saul was not going to simply surrender to a replacement. He would rebel against such an idea. Yet, Samuel knew he must obey God in spite of the circumstances and personal danger. The work of God must go on, and Samuel was to have a role in it. His mission was to anoint the next king of Israel.
This is a God-directed mission. It involved preparation, filling the horn with oil and taking the sacrifice; obedience to the instruction to go, and ministry to the right people, the house of Jesse the Bethlehemite. His going to Jesse was twofold: To worship by way of the sacrifice and to choose the next king. This is preceded by the act of consecration, both of the elders, and the house of Jesse (16:5). This act of consecration consisted of ritual cleansing, involving bathing, putting on clean outfits, temporary suspension of sexual activity, and avoidance of the dead.
The Meeting with Jesse (16:6-10).
The words “when they entered” (16:6) is somewhat unclear, however it seems to indicate in the context the place of worship. After the sacrifice and worship, Samuel held the anointing ceremony. It centered on Jessie and his family and was the central purpose of his coming to Bethlehem.
God’s instruction to Samuel was to anoint the one whom He designated to him (`6:2). After being consecrated, Samuel begins to look over the sons of Jessie. He attention first was directed to Eliab, who was handsome and impressive, but was not God’s choice. Samuel is instructed not to look on appearance or stature (16:7). God is looking on the deeper level of the heart (16:7). Eliab did not pass the heart test. Samuel looked at the seven sons but God had not chosen any of those (16:8-10). The prophet’s experience seems to contradict his revelation. Yet, not all the sons had been examined. In disappointment Samuel finally asked “Are these all the Children?” Jesse say there is a young one out attending the sheep. He is the youngest, probably considered too small to be considered to be in the running by Jesse. By being called the youngest, it is to be noted that it is not simply pointing to age. It also indicates that in Jesse’s mind he was the least important. David illustrates the principle that God uses the small weak things to carry out His plan and purposes (cf. 1 Cor. 26-31).
The Meeting with David (16:11-13).
David was sent for. Upon arrival, the physical traits are given. He is described as “ruddy” meaning either having red-tinted hair, or having a bronze complexion. He was also “handsome.” However, these traits are not the basis of God’s choice. All God’s choices are based on His grace, not man’s greatness or potential greatness. What mattered was David’s character. “He was not interested in how tall the man was, but rather in the largeness of his soul,” observes Getz. He looks at the heart (16:7). In respect to Samuel and the choice of God there are two important elements that stand out:
· We are to guard against deceitful influences.
· We must be conscious of the standards that are God’s, not interject our own in their place.
David was clearly the choice of God. Samuel had no choice but to anoint him king. David illustrates three important principles about the choice of God:
· The choice of God is often contrary to human reason. Human reason would not have led to the choice of David.
· God’s choice is based upon the heart of the man, not his head. The choice of God is not based upon our ability, but our availability.
· The choice of God is a heavenly recognition of the usefulness of the man. Our heart may not be perfect, but it is to be perfectly useable by being open to God and His will.
David’s heart is shown to be:
· A Spiritual heart—he was a man after God’s own heart.
· A Servant’s heart—Psalm 78:70,
· A heart of Integrity—Psalm 78:72
What is our heart condition?
 Charles Gulston, DAVID: SHEPHERD & KING, [Grand Rapids MI, Zondervan, 1980], 20.
 Gene A. Getz, WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE A FAILURE: TAKE A LESSON FROM DAVID, [Ventura CA, Regal Books, 1979], 7.
 Warren W. Wiersbe, DON’T LOSE YOUR CROWN: STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF KING SAUL, [Lincoln NE, BACK TO THE BIBLE, 1985], 40.
 Robert D. Bergen, NAC: 1, 2 SAMUEL, [Nashville TN, B&H, 1996], 177.
 Ibid, 178.
 Getz, 11. s