1 Samuel 16:1-13
As David enters the narrative, I want us to bare in mind that Jesus will come as the “Son of David.” There are so many connections between David as the King of Israel and Jesus, who is the true and better David, who will establish God’s Kingdom on earth. So, we’ll continue to pay attention to how Christ is the focus of all of Scripture, and we’ll see this throughout the life of David.
Today, I just want to hone in on two verses…
v. 7 - But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
This is both comforting and concerning. I think we mostly read this and think, “thank God that he sees past my actions and outward struggles to do the right thing, and that he sees my desire to do the right thing.” And this is true. But what’s also true is that he see past external actions that present one version of us, knowing intimately the driving motivations, selfishness, pride or fleshly desires that drive those behaviors. That God sees the heart is a double edged sword. And what it emphasizes for us is the need to deal continually with our hearts. Behaviors never tell the whole story. Sometimes they make us appear better than we are, and other times they make us appear worse than we are. God is concerned with our hearts.
So whereas we are impressed without charisma, attractiveness, success, intellect, achievement, power, status, wealth, popularity, education, and things of this nature. God is telling us that these things are morally neutral. You can have any or all of these things working in your favor, but have a wayward and corrupt heart that is seeking pleasure, power or approval for he glorification of self. Or you can have any or all of them working in your favor and be walking humbly before the Lord, secure in the Lord, and seeking the glory of the Lord. The bottom line is this… God is impressed with and drawn to those whose hearts are submitted to him and who desire to please him and who find their ultimate joy in him. We can struggle, as we find David doing along the way, but when the Lord has a claim on our lives and we make him our ultimate treasure, he sees that, knows that, and lends his presence and power to that. Which takes us to v. 13
v. 13 - And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.
Just as the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus at his baptism to empower all of what would follow in his life and ministry, so David receives the presence and power of the Spirit upon his life. God’s Spirit in David is what will allow him to accomplish so many things, personally, militarily, politically, and so forth. God had chosen and appointed David as king over his people “for himself” (v. 1). And when God calls us to his service he will surely lend his power to accomplish his purposes, so long as we remain steadfast in our devotion to him. God had chosen Saul and anointed him with His Spirit as well, but Saul’s wayward heart, his disobedience forfeited what God entrusted to him. And we see in the next verse (I know I’m cheating by going to tomorrow’s passage), that the Spirit departed from Saul. God was searching for a king who be faithful and wholehearted in his devotion to Him. And Saul drifted from God’s call.
One thing we can derive from this is that just because we have the Spirit of God in a new and powerful way since pentecost, his presence or power doesn’t guarantee that we’ll walk uprightly before Him and dependent upon Him. We can choose to spurn the Spirit, resist the Spirit, and grieve the Spirit and in so doing, forfeit the power of the Spirit. God’s grace gives us a helper to empower us to live new lives day by day, moment by moment, but we must learn to surrender to Him, and not ignore Him. What makes Jesus so unique is his total surrender and attentiveness to the Spirit, as well as his cooperation with the Spirit.
- Is there any way in which you have been resisting the Spirit in your life? Repent today and ask for God’s grace and help… then pay close attention to his promptings and obey.
1 Samuel 16:14-23
We see God’s providence at work, here, anointing David king in Saul’s place, and then having him appointed to minister to Saul. In v. 18 we see that David has a good reputation by those who know him, and the presence of the Lord is already a noticeable reality. The person who recommends David for Saul’s service says about him, the he’s a man “skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech and a man of good presence, and the Lord is with him.” A skilled musician is one thing, but these are mostly signs of maturity, wisdom and character. These are qualities produced by walking with the Lord, and living with an awareness of God’s presence in one’s life and his call on one’s life.
v. 23 is helpful in knowing what else Spirit-empowered people do… It says that Saul was “refreshed” by David. In John 7:37-38, Jesus says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” And John adds in v. 39, “this he said about the Holy Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive.” Living water is water that’s always fresh, always hydrating, always replenishing; water from a source that is never depleted and always satisfying.
In Acts 3, in one of the first sermons preached after the Spirit falls at Pentecost, Peter calls his listens to “Repent, therefore, and believe, that times of refreshing may come from the Spirit of the Lord…” God’s presence is poured out on guilty sinners and wounded sufferers for our refreshing. And God uses Spirit-filled believers in Christ as an ordinary means of that refreshing. It is a primary ministry of the Spirit to refresh exhausted, worn out, defeated, discouraged, hurting and oppressed people. And it is a primary effect of walking in the Spirit, to be those who minister such refreshing to others.
When was the last time you experienced the refreshing of the Spirit personally? What are common ways in which the Lord refreshes you by His Spirit?
When was the last time you were used by the Spirit to refresh someone else? Are you making yourself intentionally available and useful to the Lord to bring refreshing to others?
1 Samuel 17:1-18
These verses are creating the setting for an epic story that every biblically illiterate person knows the basics of. I don't want to dig in to the details of this too much... let's keep it simple.
In v. 11, we're told that at the sight and Goliath, the armies of Israel, and their king, were "dismayed and greatly afraid." That is to say that they were terrified, paralyzed, overwhelmed and utterly defeated. Let's just sit on that and ask the Lord to help us be honest with ourselves. Nobody wants to admit their afraid or overwhelmed or paralyzed or defeated. But most of us feel that way, probably with some degree of regularity if not constantly, in one or more areas of life.
In what area or way have you lost hope, perspective, or expectation? In what area or ways are you feeling resigned, despairing or impotent? That's what fear does to us... fear doesn't just paralyze us in the present, it swallows up the possibility of possibility for anything different. Goliath made Israel feel small in stature, forgotten by God, isolated, alone and doomed.
- What relationship, sin struggle, or external circumstance is leaving you in a similar state?
1 Samuel 17:19-40
Tomorrow, I’ll draw more direct connections to Jesus, but today I will emphasize just a couple things that jump out at me about David that may instructive for us.
God-Consciousness - David is clearly mindful of God. He’s not just arrogantly and defiantly posturing or show-boating. David is voicing his concern with the name and reputation of the Lord God. He’s zealous for God’s glory and troubled by the defeated indifference of the armies of Israel. Their responding in light of the external circumstances from an earthly perspective, but David comes in with a fresh perspective rooted in a larger reality of a covenant keeping who is sovereign over all things and totally committed to Israel. They’re seeing the situation only and are forgetting God’s character and nature. David is seeing the same situation as everybody else, but through a filter of deep conviction about God’s character and nature. He is factoring in the reality of a loving and powerful God who is personally involved with them.
Preparation - David was doing ordinary, even low level work, in obscurity up until this point in his life. But he was doing that work faithfully. And in this pivotal moment, David’s faithfulness, work ethic, toughness and experience for this moment was forged by the daily grind of anonymous and thankless labor on ancient near east hillsides. But he was ready for this moment, at a human level, because he was serious about many preceding and seemingly insignificant moments. God doesn’t waste anything. Wherever he has us is using it to form something in us, teach something to us, and to prepare us and equip us for something later. We don’t know the full picture, but you can be sure there is one larger than the one you see. Let’s give ourselves fully to wherever we are, and anticipate that God is at work there.
Security - David’s brothers, Saul initially and I’m sure plenty of others were telling David why he couldn’t or shouldn’t step into this situation. We will always have naysayers and critics and people who tell us we can’t and reasons to believe we can’t. But David’s security and confidence was not rooted in what people said about him, but in what God called him to. What about you? Where do you derive your sense of confidence and security? Is it in your ability? The approval of others? Your most recent performance? Or is in the love of the Father, the life of the Spirit, and the redemption of Christ? Only one of those is a security that can’t be shaken.
1 Samuel 17:41-58
Here is the epic story of David and Goliath. There are lots of things that could be dug into here but I am mindful of two people represented in this text.
The Son of Jesse - David is obviously a major character in the storyline of redemptive history and this is the most widely known event in his life. David embodies a number of characteristics here that exemplary... his courage in the face of daunting circumstances; his sacrificial service in risking his own life; his zeal for the name of the Lord and glory of God; his faith in the power of God that surpassed any fear of a powerful enemy. David was not a perfect man by any means, but his heart for God was genuine and willingness to put his life on the line for Israel was real. To say nothing of his actual skill in defeating Goliath with God's help. David acts heroically for sure, but there is a different hero.
The Son of David - While David is worthy of imitation in so many ways here, we are far less like faithful David and far more like fearful Israel. We are more prone to cowering in the corner, shrinking back, overwhelmed by the moment and looking for a way of escape. David is less example here than it is foreshadowing. We are far less able to live like David and far more to trust in the rescue and deliverance of a true and better David.
Our hope is not in picking up the sling of faith and shooting rocks of love, truth, grace or whatever religious word you want to throw out there... David's intervention here on behalf of Israel is ultimately pointing us to the offspring who would come through his lineage to save Israel in a far greater way, from their sin. We aren't not our own David sent to save the day for everyone around us. We are Israel looking to the greater David, and trusting in his power to defeat our enemy, Satan, to slay the giant of Death, and to set us free from the oppression of our Philistine flesh, sin. David is foreshadowing Jesus. He is the true giant killer, and the real surprising Savior, and the ultimate Anointed King.