Where the world comes to study the Bible

The Designation of David as King (1 Samuel 16:1-23)

Introduction

I well remember my first day on the job delivering for a wholesale meat company. It was actually my brother-in-law’s job, but I agreed to fill in for him while he did his practice teaching one semester. The first day on the job I accompanied him as we delivered meat to various businesses. Some were very nice restaurants with such items as steaks, and some were skid-row establishments with items on the menu like “pig tails and beans” for 25 cents. I can still remember the foul odor which greeted us at those places.

I thought I should dress appropriately since it was my first day on the job, so I wore a suit. I have never made that mistake again. When we entered one of those skid-row eating places, we did not go through the front door; we went through the back door into the kitchen. Upon entering our first establishment, we were greeted with startled, panic-stricken looks. People began scurrying about like roaches revealed by the flip of the light switch.

I did not understand, but my brother-in-law did. “It’s that suit you’re wearing,” he said. “People think you’re from the health department.” I looked too good. I looked like a health inspector. No wonder they had such startled, frightened looks on their faces. It was the last time I ever wore a suit to work on that job, and I was as happy as my customers were.

That same kind of look seems to be on the faces of the leaders of the village of Bethlehem when Samuel arrives (verse 4). “Do you come in peace?” they inquire. What do they fear? Why the white faces, sweaty palms, and trembling knees? What do they fear from Samuel? Why would a prophet come out of his way to this insignificant tribe and less-than-prominent place? This man had come for a reason, and the presence of a prophet may be viewed as the presence of God Himself. Perhaps their fear flows from their piety and a sincere fear of God. Perhaps not. Perhaps their fear is of Saul, because Samuel’s pronouncements of divine displeasure with Saul appears to have been public:

13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 “But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you” (1 Samuel 13:13-14).

22 And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has also rejected you from being king.” 24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; I have indeed transgressed the command of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and listened to their voice. 25 “Now therefore, please pardon my sin and return with me, that I may worship the LORD.” 26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 And as Samuel turned to go, Saul seized the edge of his robe, and it tore. 28 So Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. 29 “And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind” (1 Samuel 15:22-29, NASB).

If God has rejected Saul as Israel’s king and is about to appoint another to take his place, surely Samuel will designate the new king. Samuel is afraid of Saul, afraid that he will kill him (16:2). If Samuel is afraid Saul will kill him, is it unreasonable for the people to assume those who side with Samuel might also be put to death by Saul? After all, Saul will kill Ahimelech and the priests at Nob for simply providing David with food (see 1 Samuel 22). The Bethlehemites have good reason to fear Saul -- and anyone who comes to them who opposes Saul.

With a great sigh of relief, these elders of Bethlehem learn from Samuel that he has come to offer a sacrifice, and that they will be invited to the sacrificial meal. Of course, they do not know the rest of the story, which is what our lesson is really about. We have much to learn from this chapter which describes the designation of David as Israel’s king, the one who will eventually replace Saul.

Samuel’s Orders
(16:1-3)

1 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 “And 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.”

Samuel must be commended for his loyalty to Saul. When Saul disobeys God in chapter 15, Samuel is distressed and cries out to God all night long (15:11). His distress is in response to God regretting that He made Saul king. Samuel appears to intercede on Saul’s behalf before God. Saul’s response to Samuel’s rebuke is hardly one of repentance, which causes Samuel further grief:

35 And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death; for Samuel grieved over Saul. And the LORD regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel (1 Samuel 15:35, NASB).

It is as though Samuel is unwilling to give up on Saul. He must be reluctant to appoint Saul’s successor because this will appear to drive the final nail in Saul’s political coffin. God’s question to Samuel has the sound of a mild rebuke. How long will Samuel grieve over the one whom God has rejected? How long will Samuel have a different opinion than God? God has rejected Saul, and it is time for Samuel to act accordingly. Samuel is to fill his horn with oil and go to Jesse the Bethlehemite, where he is to anoint one of his sons as Saul’s replacement.

Samuel’s reluctance takes another form in verse 2, where Samuel hesitates due to the dangers involved. Samuel protests that if word reaches Saul that he is anointing a new king, Saul will kill him. This seems to be a real danger. After all, Saul does not hesitate to annihilate nearly all the Amalekites (chapter 15). He does not even hesitate to put his own son to death (chapter 14). Like Herod centuries later, he does not flinch at the thought of killing off any potential threat to his throne. Neither will he be reluctant to kill off any who support a rival king (see chapters 21 and 22). Samuel feels his concern is good reason for hesitation.

God has a solution to Samuel’s problem. Samuel is to take a heifer with him and tell the people of Bethlehem that he has come to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. He is to invite Jesse to this sacrificial meal, which will provide the occasion for him to anoint one of his sons as king. The specific son is not identified, but it is to be one of the sons of Jesse. This will be a sacrificial meal very much like the one Samuel is invited to attend, along with his servant (see chapters 9 and 10).

Some may be troubled at the instructions God gives Samuel. Does God not personally direct Samuel to deceive Saul and the people of Bethlehem? It certainly is true that God does not inform the elders of Bethlehem all that He is about to do through Samuel, but what He does indicate is absolutely true. Samuel does come to offer a sacrifice. God often has more in mind than He reveals to us beforehand. This is hardly inappropriate. The wonder is that God tells us any of what He is about to do (see John 15:15).

Samuel’s Arrival, the
Sacrificial Meal, and the Selection of David
(16:4-13)

4 So Samuel did what the LORD said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, “Do you come in peace?” 5 And he said, “In peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” He also consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 Then it came about when they entered, that he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD'S anointed is before Him.” 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “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.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” 9 Next Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” 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.” Then Samuel said to Jesse,” Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here. “ 12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” 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 elders of the city of Bethlehem are white-faced when Samuel arrives. They fear that his arrival will not be peaceable. But Samuel’s words put their minds at rest. He has come to offer a sacrifice, and they are invited to attend. They are to consecrate themselves and join Samuel in the sacrifice. In addition, Samuel consecrates Jesse and his sons as invited guests.58

The selection of Saul, years earlier, was not difficult for Samuel. God told him in advance that the king-to-be would be coming the following day. God made it clear at the outset that Saul was the one He had chosen (9:15-17). In the case of Saul’s replacement, Samuel knows where and whose son the new king will be, but he does not know which one of the sons of Jesse. Samuel has his own criteria for selecting the new king, some of which must stems from the designation of Saul, reinforced by the criteria for kings of that day and our own day as well.

Just what would the criteria be? First, one would expect the first-born to be the choice for king. The first-born was given a double portion of his father’s goods. Headship of the family was passed on to the first born. The oldest would be expected to be the most mature, the most experienced, the wisest of the family. So why would anyone expect the youngest son to be God’s choice? In addition to priority in birth order, Samuel expects the king-to-be will be evident by his appearance. Studies show that most top executives tend to be “tall, dark, and handsome.” Samuel expects the same. This was exactly the way it was with Saul (see 9:2).

Jesse and his seven sons know what Samuel has come to do. It is something like finding Cinderella. Jesse and his sons must be awe-struck at the possibility of one of their family being the next king. And so Jesse has his sons pass by Samuel one by one, beginning with the oldest. God knows what Samuel is thinking when he looks at Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son, a tall, good-looking fellow (see verse 7). But He tells Samuel that this is not His choice for Israel’s next king, indicating His criteria has more to do with a man’s character than with outward appearances. So Jesse has the next son, Abinadab, pass by Samuel, and he too is rejected. Then comes Shammah, and then the next four of Jesse’s sons pass by Samuel, but God does not indicate any of them as His choice for king.

Surely Samuel is perplexed and wonders what the problem might be. It seems as though none of Jesse’s family considers David even a remote possibility for king. He virtually slips from their minds, until Samuel asks Jesse if there are no other sons. Well, there is David, of course, but he is a mere lad -- he is still considered a child -- not a man. How could he be the new king? He has been given a child’s work – keeping the sheep. As I have traveled overseas, I have seen many a woman or child tending a small flock of sheep. This is David’s job, which seems to tell all. How can he even be considered as a candidate for Israel’s king?

What matters to God is David’s heart. Saul is a man whose heart God had to change:

9 Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came about on that day (1 Samuel 10:9, NASB).

But Saul’s heart did not remain true to the Lord, and he has to be set aside and replaced by a man, like David, who has a heart for God. Thus, God says to Saul,

14 “But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you” (1 Samuel 13:14, NASB).

What no one realizes is that God will provide David with all he needs to be Israel’s king. David is immediately given the Spirit of God to guide and empower him. In the providence of God, he is strategically placed in the presence of Saul as his armor-bearer (16:21), where he can learn how a king rules. David is not chosen to immediately replace Saul, but is first placed in a kind of internship, later to be mentally, morally, and spiritually groomed for the kingdom which will not be his for several years.59

Jesse sends for David, and he is brought before Samuel. David is also a good-looking young man, lacking none of the qualities found in his older brother save his age and position as first-born. We see that God does not disqualify David for his good looks, but neither does He choose him because of them. Good looks in a king is much like good looks in a wife – they should not be the basis for selecting a life’s mate. But having chosen a woman of godly character, if she is also beautiful, this in no way diminishes her desirability (see Proverbs 31:30). David’s character is pleasing to God, and it is the basis of his election to service. David’s physical appearance is icing on the cake; David’s deficiencies will be provided by the Holy Spirit and the preparation God has planned for him.

God indicates to Samuel that David is indeed His choice for Israel’s king, and so Samuel stands up and anoints him. God’s Spirit comes upon David, possessing and empowering him from this point onward.60 Samuel then gets up and returns to his home in Ramah.

The Selection of David for Serving Saul
(16:14-23)

14 Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him. 15 Saul's servants then said to him, “Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrorizing you. 16 “Let our lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well.” 17 So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me now a man who can play well, and bring him to me.” 18 Then one of the young men answered and said, “Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the LORD is with him.” 19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and said, “Send me your son David who is with the flock.” 20 And Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread and a jug of wine and a young goat, and sent them to Saul by David his son. 21 Then David came to Saul and attended him, and Saul loved him greatly; and he became his armor bearer. 22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David now stand before me; for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.

In terms of time, it is a long way from the prophetic designation of David as Israel’s king to his ascent to the throne, and even longer in terms of logistics. How does a young man whom even his family does not consider a candidate for king rise to that position when a paranoid king is already in place, a king who does not hesitate to kill his competition? The answer to this question takes time and space in Scripture, but verses 14-23 give us a sample of how God providentially brings about what He indicates through His prophet.

Very obviously, Saul has no idea of what has taken place as recorded in verses 1-13 of this chapter. If he believes Samuel’s words (as well he may not, especially as time passes and he remains on as Israel’s king), he will indeed be set aside and replaced by a man of God’s choosing. He does not know Samuel has designated and anointed David as his replacement, or that the Spirit which God had given him has now been given to David. What he does know is that things are very different than they were. He never sees Samuel (see 15:35). He does not sense the Lord’s presence and power, through the Spirit. He does experience a very different spiritual phenomenon though. An “evil spirit from God” now comes upon Saul, terrorizing him. He seems to have spells where the terrorizing of this spirit is present and times that are more normal.

As one might expect, there are different theories about this “evil spirit from God.” The appearance of this “spirit,” like the disappearance of the Holy Spirit, is from the Lord. That is, it is the Lord who directs the Holy Spirit to forsake Saul. Is it possible that David’s plea that God not let His Spirit depart from him (Psalm 51:11) is, in some measure, the result of what David beholds with his own eyes while in Saul’s service? The evil spirit is also from the Lord. This should not be surprising, because God is sovereign. Satan cannot do anything to anyone without God’s permission (see, for example, Job 1 and 2). To Saul’s servants, this “evil spirit” is not new or unusual. They have seen this before, and they recognize it in his life and know what the best treatment for his condition is. All of this inclines me to conclude that this is a demonic spirit which now oppresses Saul. From what I know about history, it seems that men like Adolph Hitler experienced something remarkably similar.

Saul’s servants believe that soothing music will have a beneficial effect on Saul, and they recommend that Saul find a man skilled at playing the harp so that when the spirit overtakes him, the musician can play soothing music and calm his troubled spirit. Saul approves of this idea. He, above all, is terrified by the spirit’s oppression in his life.

One of Saul’s servants suddenly thinks of a man who perfectly fits Saul’s need. He has somewhere seen and heard about David in Bethlehem. David is not only a gifted musician who skillfully plays the harp, he is also a valiant warrior (as seen, perhaps in his “battles” with the bear and the lion), a man of good looks and godly wisdom. Most importantly, he is a man with whom the Lord is present. The very things which qualify David to serve as king are the things which qualify him to serve the king. Already David’s kingly qualities are becoming evident, even to those in the palace.

Saul summons David in a polite way, but it is also an offer no one dares to refuse the king. The request is made of Jesse, since David still lives under his roof. From Saul’s words spoken to Jesse, it is evident that Saul is aware of David’s role as the sheep-tender too (see verse 19). Jesse sends David, along with gifts of food, to the king where David begins to serve as the king’s attendant. As David’s character and skills become more evident to Saul, he is promoted to the position of Saul’s armor bearer, probably the most intimate and personal job of any of Saul’s staff. Saul not only comes to respect David’s abilities, he comes to love him as well. He is perhaps almost like a son to Saul.

David’s probationary service ends, and he is given tenure, so to speak, with the king. Saul properly requests of Jesse that David be allowed to enter into permanent service with him. So it is that whenever Saul is oppressed by the evil spirit, David plays his harp and soothes the troubled spirit of the king. The Spirit of God in David brings about the departure, for a time, of the evil spirit. How does Saul spell relief? D A V I D.

Conclusion

Saul’s sin in chapter 15 is the end for Saul; it is not the end of Saul’s reign, but the end of Saul’s opportunity to turn and repent. But why anoint David as king so long before he is appointed and crowned as king? First, the Spirit, which comes upon Saul for his kingly service, can now be removed and placed upon David. It is in the Spirit that David will now grow and mature and minister to Saul, as God prepares him for service. How ironic, how unexpected, that David will serve the king to prepare him to serve as king. God’s ways are beyond our ability to predict.

Secondly, the anointing of David results in a test for all Israelites. David’s anointing, unlike Saul’s, is semi-public. His father and brothers, as well as the prominent men of the city who attend the sacrificial feast have to know that the new king who will replace Saul is being designated. As men realize that David is the next king, their response to him is indicative of their relation to the King of Israel and His kingdom. It also determines their place in David’s kingdom.

Let me illustrate with a man and his wife, Nabal and Abigail, described in 1 Samuel 25. David is fleeing from Saul, and he and his men are hiding out where Nabal’s flocks are kept. They have not molested any of Nabal’s shepherds or taken any of his flock. They have been an asset to Nabal, and now at sheering time, they politely ask Nabal for a gift. Nabal refuses, with these words:

10b “Who is David? And who is the son of Jesse? There are many servants today who are each breaking away from his master. 11 “Shall I then take my bread and my water and my meat that I have slaughtered for my shearers, and give it to men whose origin I do not know? (1 Samuel 25:10b-11).

It is not that Nabal is unaware of who David is. He knows he is the son of Jesse, and he also knows that he is fleeing from his master, Saul. In other words, he knows that David is the designated king to replace Saul. If there is any doubt of this, listen to the words of his wife, Abigail, spoken to David:

28 “Please forgive the transgression of your maidservant; for the LORD will certainly make for my lord an enduring house, because my lord is fighting the battles of the LORD, and evil shall not be found in you all your days. 29 “And should anyone rise up to pursue you and to seek your life, then the life of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of the living with the LORD your God; but the lives of your enemies He will sling out as from the hollow of a sling. 30 “And it shall come about when the LORD shall do for my lord according to all the good that He has spoken concerning you, and shall appoint you ruler over Israel, 31 that this will not cause grief or a troubled heart to my lord, both by having shed blood without cause and by my lord having avenged himself. When the LORD shall deal well with my lord, then remember your maidservant” (1 Samuel 25:28-31).

Nabal knows exactly who David is, and he refuses to have anything to do with him. Is this because he might have negative repercussions from Saul (see chapters 21 and 22)? Abigail is a wise and godly woman. She knows who David is, and her response and appeal to David are based upon her submission to him as her coming king. David’s early designation as Israel’s future king thus becomes a test.

It is much the same today. 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. Have you changed kings, my friend?

Samuel is wrong about who God’s king will be. He expects that God’s king will be “tall, dark, and handsome,” so to speak. God makes it clear to Samuel that outward appearance is not the criteria for God’s choice of king (1 Samuel 16:7). David is good looking as it turns out, but this is not the basis for his election by God. By divine design, our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s eternal King, was not to be recognized by His appearance either:

1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. 3 He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him (Isaiah 53:1-3, NASB).

5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-8, NASB).

The Lord Jesus was not, as I understand these texts and others, a striking person, physically speaking. Men were not drawn to Him by His handsome features or by His deep, broadcast-quality voice. Men were drawn to Him as they recognized His heart for God, His being God. It was His submission and obedience to the Father which set Him apart, along with the fact that He perfectly fulfilled the prophecies concerning Messiah. He is the One God has appointed to rule, and when He returns, all men will bow the knee to Him and acknowledge Him as God’s King (see Philippians 2:9-11). The exhortation of Scripture is for us to receive Him as King and to become a part of His kingdom, or to await His wrath on us as His enemy (see Psalm 2:10-12).

This may be an appropriate place to say a word about music and its relationship to the spiritual realm. You will recall from 1 Samuel 10 (verses 5-6, 10-13) that the prophets whom Saul met, and whom Saul joined as “one of the prophets” (at least momentarily) as the Spirit came mightily upon him, were accompanied musically by stringed instruments -- the tambourine, flute and harp (verse 5). Somehow the Spirit’s coming upon Saul (and the rest, perhaps) is associated with or even initiated by music. In chapter 16, Saul’s demonic fits are calmed by David’s playing of the harp. Once again in 2 Kings 2:14-15, Elisha calls for a minstrel so that he can prophesy in the Spirit. I take it that music plays some kind of role in connecting with (or disconnecting from) the spiritual realm. I take it that we should be very careful about the kind of music to which we submit ourselves. I know there has been a lot of talk about “rock music,” and I am not inclined to wax eloquent on this matter here, but I do suggest that there is a potentially beneficial type of music, and very likely, a kind of music that may invoke the wrong spirit. This text should give us pause for thought on the subject of the music to which we listen and its influence upon us.

Our passage is about God’s selection of David for service -- not for his salvation. Someone may be inclined to come away from this message thinking that God chose to save David because he had a heart for God. God chose David to serve because of his heart. There is a vast difference between God’s selection to service and His election to salvation. If God were to choose to save those who had a pure heart, He would save no one:

9 Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin”? (Proverbs 20:9, NASB; see Romans 3:9-18).

9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NASB; see also Romans 3:9-18).

God does not save some men because He looks into their hearts and likes what He sees. God saves men who are wicked sinners in their hearts, and He has mercy upon them, placing their sins on His Son, Jesus Christ. Christ alone is sinless and thus able to die for the sins of others. There is only one person in all of human history whose heart was free from sin, and that person is Jesus Christ. God saves those who trust in Him for the forgiveness of their sins and for the gift of eternal life.

There is a great deal of talk about leadership these days, and I must say that the qualities and qualifications sought in contemporary leaders are not those which God sought in David. Evangelicals choose their leaders on nearly the same basis as secular society does. We look for men who have “resources” (money and influence) and “a good business head.” God sought a man who had a heart for Him. I believe that character is the first and foremost prerequisite for leadership. It may not be the only one, but it is foundational. Let us look for the kind of leadership that God chooses. Let us seek to be the kind of men and women whom God seeks for His service.


58 One could imply from this that Jesse is not one of the elders of the city. With a greater degree of certainty, we can say that Jesse’s sons are surely not elders of the city, and thus not likely candidates for such an invitation.

59 It is difficult to determine exactly how many years, but accepting the (uninspired) dates in the King James Version, it seems that David is anointed approximately 7 years before Saul dies and about 10 years or so before he becomes Israel’s king. God gives David time to grow up and to grow into his role as king of Israel, with the enablement of the Holy Spirit.

60 It is instructive to consult Psalm 51:11 here.