The Selection of David (1 Samuel 16)

Date: 3/26/2017
More audio from All Saints Church
Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Ethics
Organization: All Saints
Price: FREE

1 Samuel 16:1–13 - Now 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 selected a king for Myself among his sons.” 2 But Samuel said, “How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ 3 “You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you.” 4 So Samuel did what the LORD said, and came to Bethlehem.  . . . 10 Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.” 11 And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are these all the children?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.” . . . 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.

The Sadness of Samuel - Samuel was grieved that Saul did not remain faithful. No one want to see their work go up in flames. But the Lord gives Samuel a mission in the midst of his sadness, to anoint the next king. But if Saul discovers the mission of Samuel, then Samuel will be not only a sad prophet, but a dead one. God provides Samuel with some interesting ethical advice: don’t tell the whole truth, engage in a holy deception. Other examples of this include the midwives saving Israelite boys (fearing God) (Ex. 1:15ff), Rahab’s actions to hide Israelite spies “by faith” (Heb. 11:31, James 2:25), Elisha deceiving the Arameans (2 Kgs. 6:19ff), and the prophet Micaiah misleading the Ahab and God’s own approval of “a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets” (1 Kgs. 22:15ff). The interpretation of the ninth commandment should reflect all Scriptural teaching and take into account to whom the truth is due. But, these drastic situations do not provide support for false witnesses and perjury such as false reporting to the IRS or to evade taxes, or on a FAFSA application, or to lower your taxes by lying about how much you paid for a used vehicle.

The Selection of David - Perhaps the main lesson here is what even Samuel needed to learn. Unlike Saul, who was a head taller than any other Israelite, David is the runt. The contrast between Saul and David is expressed in the selection process: “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (16:7). God could have simply told Samuel to anoint David from the beginning. Like Peter and John with the Samaritans receiving the Spirit or with Cornelius (Acts 8-11), Samuel needed to see this. Even Jesse does not account David as a potential candidate (v 11). The entire episode is designed to bring home the message, God looks on the heart.

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more