David and Samuel
As we embark on a journey of looking at the life and times (and legacy) of David, in ten parts, through the lens of ten different characters who played significant parts, we note the Book (or two books) that tell much of the story is named after the man who God commissioned to go and anoint David as King over Israel.
This was Samuel’s second time of having been told to anoint a king of Israel. The first time was with Saul, who we will consider more in our third installment, who not only was the one David replaced as king but with who he would have many dealings. Samuel played an important part when it came to the story of God’s special people. For a thousand years, God’s special people operated without a king, unlike all the nations that surrounded it and, following the death of Joshua after possessing the Promised Land, the nearest they had to a king were judges, and Samuel was the last of the Judges.
Israel was meant to be a holy (set apart) nation, with God as their king, but they wanted to be like all the other nations. While regrettable and, if their wish were to be granted, it would have (as we are to find out in the period of the Kings of Israel and Judah) profound consequences. Saul was the peoples’ choice and his kingship was disastrous due to a wrong attitude and disobedience. Samuel was called upon again – here to anoint his replacement.
But this time it was to be the one God wanted and not the one who fitted the bill as man’s choice, but whose heart was not right, for He was looking for a man after His own heart. There is no greater accolade than being deemed by the Lord as being someone after His own heart and is something within the reach of all of us! All Samuel knew was that he was to go to the house of Jesse and anoint one of his sons to be king. When he met Eliab, the oldest, Samuel felt he had found his man, but he was told these were not God’s choices.
“And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” 1Samuel 16:6,7. And that was the case with each of the seven sons of Jesse’s, who were paraded before him.
When Samuel asked Jesse if that was all the sons, he was told there was the youngest, who happened to be out in the fields looking after the sheep. Jesse demanded he be brought in and, when Samuel saw him, the Lord told him that this was His choice. Samuel duly anointed David and after that appeared to play little part in David’s life besides the time when David came to him when fleeing from Saul. It is good to know that God sees beyond what humans see, not caring about outward appearance but rather what is in our heart.
There was a quality in David that even his own family did not see and one that made him stand out. While the story of David that follows includes the good, bad and ugly, we soon find out something about David that makes him special beyond his peers. He not only goes on to be Israel’s greatest king, and one future kings were to be compared to, but he establishes a dynasty culminating in the coming of Jesus, Israel’s messiah and the Saviour of the world.