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1. God Chooses David to Be King (1 Samuel 16)

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Main Point: God uses people who have a heart that trusts in Him.

Key Verse: Man looks at how someone appears on the outside. But I look at what is in the heart. - 1 Samuel 16:7b

Props: A handful of dollar bills; a silver cup or bowl; picture of your children (if applicable).

Background/Review (1 Samuel 8 - 9)

Ask: Are there any kings in the world today? Maybe you don’t know their names, but what do you think they look like? How do you think they live? Say: Let’s look at a few modern-day kings. Belgium has King Albert II, Spain’s King is Juan Carlos, and the king of Jordan is King Abdallah II.


Say: Now you know the names and faces of some modern day kings. Ask: Are these kings good or bad? Listen for answers. Say: We can’t tell if a person is good or bad based on what they look like. Only what is in a person’s heart tells us what they are really like.

Say: Okay, think back to the time when God called Abraham. God told Abraham to leave his homeland and go to a new land. God told Abraham that He would make him into a great nation. Ask: Who remembers what nation Abraham’s descendants became? Say: They became the nation of Israel, or the Israelites. Later these people became known as the Hebrews or the Jews. The Israelites trusted in the one true God to be their leader. GOD Himself was KING over the nation of Israel, and Israel was blessed not to need a human king like the other nations. God provided everything His people could ever want, and He provided it perfectly, since He is a perfect God.

Israel didn’t need a king, but they heard other nations talk about their human kings. The Israelites wanted to be like the other nations; they wanted a human king too (1 Samuel 8:5). The people wanted to have a human ruler - even though he would not be perfect and he would make many mistakes. They rejected the All-Perfect, All-Knowing, and Powerful GOD as their King! (1 Samuel 8:7)

Application: How could God’s people no longer be satisfied with God? Because they forgot the amazing things He had done for them (1 Samuel 8:8). They stopped trusting Him. They listened to other people rather than listening to God. Can this happen to us today? Certainly! We must abide with God - remain with Him and think about Him every day - in order to remember Who He is and the great things He has done. We have to listen to Him, not to the people around us (including TV and movies).

Say: God wanted to be the Israelites only Ruler. He knew this was best for them, and He warned them of the dangers of having a human king (1 Samuel 8:11-18):

  • They would have to pay taxes. Teacher: Hand the dollar bills to an adult leader.
  • They would have to serve the king. Hold up a silver cup. If the King wanted his silver cups polished, they would have to polish them; if he wanted his chariot washed, they would have to wash it; if he wanted weapons, they would have to make them.
  • Also, the King could take anything he wanted - their land, their belongings, and their animals.
  • And, their sons and daughters would become slaves of the King. (If you have children, show a picture of your children, and describe how you would never give up your child to be a slave.) Say: Can you imagine your parents giving you over to a king to be his slave?

God clearly warned the people. Ask: Do you think they listened to God? No. Say: Even after God warned the people, they insisted that they wanted a king.

Application: Do you ever insist on doing things your own way even though you’ve been warned? Life always becomes more difficult when you choose your own way. Choosing a way other than God’s way is sin! It doesn’t take long for sin to spoil everything.

Say: God gave the Israelites what they asked for, but it was NOT what God wanted for His people, and many trials and hardships were going to follow. God gave them a human king. His name was Saul. Saul was the first King of Israel.

The godly prophet, Samuel, anointed Saul King. Saul hid himself when he found out that Samuel was going to announce him as the King of Israel (1 Samuel 10:22). The leaders of Israel had to talk him into accepting the position! He started his “career” as King very humbly, even though he was the most handsome man in all of Israel. But soon he became proud and disobedient to God. That ruined everything! Saul became a man that did NOT listen to God!

Shortly after Saul was appointed King, he sinned. Even though he was TALL, his character was SMALL. (Character is whom you REALLY are when no one else is looking.) He did NOT listen to God, and look what happened:

1. God had strict rules about His priests and animal sacrifices. Samuel was a godly priest, and he was supposed to offer a sacrifice to God. Saul waited and waited for Samuel, but then he got impatient and decided to offer the sacrifice himself. It was not Saul’s place to offer the sacrifice. God gave this job to Samuel, not Saul. Saul disobeyed (1 Samuel 13:12).

2. Another time, Saul directly DISOBEYED God, LIED to cover up his sin, and BLAMED OTHER PEOPLE (1 Samuel 15).

3. God rejected Saul as King because he didn’t listen to and obey God.

4. Saul became angry, afraid, and jealous. (Sin ruins everything!)

Ask: Would you like to live in a land with a king like Saul? No. Say: Neither did the people of Israel. Remember, it was never God’s plan for the Israelites to have a human, imperfect king. Insisting on having things their own way instead of God’s way messed up everything. The Bible says:

And the Lord was very sorry he had made Saul King over Israel. - 1 Samuel 15:35b

God Chooses David (1 Samuel 16:1-13)

Say: Because Saul did not obey God, God rejected him as King. The prophet, Samuel, was very sad about Saul, but God had a new job for Samuel.

The Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you be filled with sorrow because of Saul? I have refused to have him as King over Israel. Fill your animal horn with olive oil and go on your way. I am sending you to Jesse in Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be King." - 1 Samuel 16:1

Say: As Samuel walked to the house of Jesse, he must have wondered what the new King would look like. Jesse had several sons. When Samuel saw Jesse’s oldest son, he thought that he must be the one.

He thought, "This has to be the one the Lord wants me to anoint for Him."

But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider how handsome or tall he is. I have not chosen him. I do not look at the things people look at. Man looks at how someone appears on the outside. But I look at what is in the heart." - 1 Samuel 16:6b-7

Ask: What do people look at when judging people? The outward appearance. What does God look at when He judges someone? What is in the heart.

Application: If we are honest, we would all probably say that we have judged someone by the way he or she looked on the outside. We should pray for God to help us see things as He does - never judging someone by what is on the outside, but wanting to get to know what is on the inside of a person instead.

Say: So Jesse brought in his next oldest son. But Samuel said, “The Lord hasn’t chosen him either.” One by one, Jesse brought in seven of his sons, but Samuel said none of them was the right one.

So he asked Jesse, "Are these the only sons you have?"

"No," Jesse answered. "My youngest son is taking care of the sheep."

Samuel said, "Send for him. We won't sit down to eat until he arrives."

So Jesse sent for his son and had him brought in. His skin was tanned. He had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, "Get up and anoint him. He is the one."

So Samuel got the animal horn that was filled with olive oil. He anointed David in front of his brothers. From that day on, the Spirit of the Lord came on David with power. - 1 Samuel 16:11-13a

It was SO important for Samuel to listen carefully to God when proclaiming the new King of Israel. Otherwise, he would have made a wrong choice. He would have chosen the King based on outward appearance. Remember, King Saul looked good on the outside, but on the inside, he was proud and disobedient.

David wasn’t the biggest or the strongest of Jesse’s sons, but he had what God was looking for. God said that David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). David loved God; he wanted to listen to Him and obey Him. This doesn’t mean that David never sinned. No human is perfect, and sadly, David did sin. But David trusted God. He had a desire to follow and obey God (1 Kings 14:8). In the years to come, God would make David into a great king to rule over His people.

David In Saul’s Service (1 Samuel 16:14-23)

Say: Now, God did not make David the King of Israel right away. The anointing with oil was the promise that David would be King one day. (God ALWAYS keeps His promises!) At that time, however, God set in motion the events that would help make David the King of Israel at just the right time.

The Spirit of the Lord left Saul, and God sent a spirit to Saul that made him sad and

fearful. His servants decided to find someone who could play the harp for Saul. They thought that the beautiful music would sooth Saul’s mind and make him feel better. Ask: Can anyone guess who this will be?

Say: One of the servants said, "I've seen someone who knows how to play the harp. He is a son of Jesse from Bethlehem. He's a brave man. He would make a good soldier. He's a good speaker. He's very handsome. And the Lord is with him."

Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse. He said, "Send me your son David, the one who takes care of your sheep." - 1 Samuel 16:18-19

So David came to play his harp for Saul, and it soothed Saul’s mind. Saul was very pleased with David. He asked Jesse to let David stay with him and serve him. David became one of the men who carried Saul’s armor. Just think: by serving Saul this way, David was placed in the presence of the King, where he could learn how the King ruled the nation of Israel.

God had BIG plans for young David! God used David because David had a heart for God. All David did was love and trust God. God would do the rest! Already we see that God filled David with His Holy Spirit, and then He placed this young shepherd boy in the presence of the King so he would gain kingly experience.

Application: God has big plans for you too! God will always give you what you need in order to serve Him (Philippians 1:6). All He asks us to do is love Him and trust Him! (Mark 12:30, Proverbs 3:5)

PPT CUE: Key Verse

Key Verse: Man looks at how someone appears on the outside. But I look at what is in the heart." - 1 Samuel 16:7b

PPT CUE: Main Point

Main Point: God uses people who have a heart that trusts in Him.

Note to Teacher: When the author of 1 Samuel turns his attention from Saul to David, he calls us to consider a man who is a prototype of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, Saul is remarkably like Satan. Saul is given authority to rule under God, but instead, his rules and rule become more important to him than God’s rules and rule. And so he is set aside. David is the one designated to take his place, to rule righteously over the people of God. Satan, like Saul of old, has been rejected by God. On the cross of Calvary, our Lord defeated Satan. But he still is free to oppose God, though his future containment and punishment is sure. In this interim period, Jesus Christ has been designated as God’s King. He has not only proclaimed the kingdom of God, He has procured it by His death, burial, and resurrection. All those who submit to Him as King will enter into His kingdom, and rule with him for all eternity. The question for you and I today is: “Whom will we serve?” Who will reign over us? To whose kingdom will we submit? By nature, all men are born into Satan’s kingdom. It is only by the new birth, by trusting in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, that men are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God. - Bob Deffinbaugh, The Designation of David as King (1 Samuel 16:1-23) ©1996-2006 Biblical Studies Press, reprinted with permission from

In 1 Samuel 25:28-31, we see a husband and wife with very different perspectives. Nabal refuses to give his allegiance to the man whom God has appointed, and in whom God’s Spirit resides. He clings to the one who rules physically. But his wife professes that David is the true king, appointed by God. Her loyalty is transferred to the man of God who will take the throne in God’s perfect time.

We are now living in the interim. Satan is allowed to rule this world, but in God’s perfect timing, Satan will be vanquished and Jesus will come to rule for all eternity.

1 © 2008 All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Related Topics: Children's Curriculum

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