God Sees the Heart | Bible Class on David’s Anointing as King – 1 Sam 16:1-13

God Sees the Heart

God Sees the Heart | Bible Class on David’s Anointing as King (1 Samuel 16:1-13)

The narrative of David’s anointing is important for many reasons:

A great deal was written about David in Scripture.

More was written about David than any other character in the Bible (that’s obviously excluding the Lord). 66 chapters in the Old Testament and 59 references in the New Testament are about David. That demonstrates the importance of David. What made David so important?

This is the anointing of a new king.

With Saul, the people desired a king, and God granted them one. However with David, God was anointing a king for Himself. “Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons’” (1 Sam 16:1).

David would be a king be a king who would put God first (1 Sam 13:14). How could a man after God’s own heart mess up as big as David did on occasion? How can we be people after God’s own heart?

David is an ancestor of Jesus.

Some of the ancestors of Jesus get special mention in Scripture (e.g., Abraham, Ruth, Bathsheba, et al.). David gets special mention because he is an “important” ancestor of Jesus. In Jesus’ day, “Son of David” was a Messianic title. Matthew 1:1. Matthew 12:23.

The use of “Son of David” as a Messianic title began because of David’s righteousness and God’s promise. 2 Samuel 7:12-17 speaks about Solomon’s building the Temple (however, notice that God promises to establish Solomon’s throne forever). 1 Chronicles 17:11-15.

This narrative also demonstrates God’s sovereignty over kings.

God to Samuel: “I have rejected [Saul] from reigning over Israel” (1 Sam 16:1). Since God had rejected Saul, Saul wasn’t going to be king (regardless of how powerful armies were, etc.).

God has always reigned over the nations, of course. He demonstrated that at the Tower of Babel. He demonstrated that with Nebuchadnezzar. He demonstrated that with Herod Antipas.

“The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Dan 4:32). That statement almost sounds blasphemous in a republican democracy such as ours. Yet, it’s a biblical truth. How might that statement shape the way we view politics?

There are numerous stories from around the time of David where a new king is anointed in secret and he usurps the throne of the current king. David, of course, is not usurping the throne. Critics of Scripture allege that this event never took place, for it sounds like fictional accounts in David’s day. However, why could God not have inspired this retelling in a way that would highlight those similarities? God inspired His Scripture in a way that people could understand it. The first two chapters of Matthew sound like the birth of a king in that era. Mark is written like a biography of that era would have been written.

1 Samuel 16:1-13

“Samuel mourned for Saul” (1 Sam 15:35). Why would Samuel mourn for Saul? Should we perhaps do more mourning for people?

God asked Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul?” Are there times we might mourn too long for someone? Is it possible that we might mourn inappropriately for people?

God had rejected Saul from reining over Israel. I can’t help but find that verse extremely ironic. The people had once rejected God from reigning over Israel (1 Sam 8:6-9). It seems that God allowed the Israelites to suffer at Saul’s hands because they rejected Him as their king. Do we always want what we pray for? Might it be wise to think through unintended consequences?

Would it be possible to reject God from reigning over us? Would it be possible to reject God from reigning over our country? How would a people demonstrate God’s sovereignty over them?

Samuel is to go and anoint David with oil. Anointing of kings was a common in the Ancient Near East. However, Egyptian Pharaohs were not anointed. The Pharaohs, however, anointed vassal kings with oil. This would demonstrate the power and sovereignty of the Pharaoh over the vassal king. Is it possible that David is a vassal king for God? God reigned supremely, and David ruled under Him. We must, of course, keep that in mind for all leaders.

Samuel objects to God’s plan by saying, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” Samuel is looking at things from the wrong perspective. God had said, “Go,” but Samuel is worried about himself. Granted, the thought of losing one’s life is quite serious. However, Jesus has called us to do that very thing. In a spiritual way: “He who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt 10:38-39). In a literal way: “They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service” (Jn 16:2).

Samuel could get into a dicey situation. (Yes, we know that God gets Samuel out of this). Are there times we need to be in difficult situations? How can we honor God in difficult situations?

God tells Samuel, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’” Is God asking Samuel to lie? What is God asking Samuel to do? Is it ever appropriate not to share the whole truth with people? When might it be wise not to share everything?

Jesse was to be invited to the sacrifice, and God would direct Samuel’s actions. Does God need to show us what we are to do? How might He do that?

Samuel did what the Lord said. That’s always the wise and right choice. Why is obeying the Lord wise and right?

The elders of Bethlehem trembled when Samuel came. Why would the elders of Bethlehem tremble when Samuel came? Samuel hacked Agag to pieces (1 Sam 15:33).

The fear of the elders reminds me of Herod the Great’s reaction to the visit of the magi. “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (Matt 2:3). Why would all Jerusalem be troubled at the coming of the magi? Before the Iron Bowl last year, a friend posted on Facebook something to the extent that he was worried that men who were fans of the losing team would be cruel to wife and kids. I’m afraid that is too much truth in that statement.

In the case of Herod the Great, people were fearful because he was a cruel tyrant.

In the case of Samuel, the elders of Bethlehem tremble because Samuel carried out the word of the Lord. Do you believe it’s ever appropriate to make people tremble because they know you’ll do God’s will? Whom might you cause to tremble?

Samuel encouraged the elders to sanctify themselves and come to the sacrifice.

Samuel also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

There are two interesting things taking place here.

One: The act of consecrating before the sacrifice.

We’ll talk about that in a minute.

Two: We have Samuel, an Ephraimite, sacrificing to the Lord.

It is clear that Samuel is an Ephraimite (1 Sam 1:1). How, then, could Samuel offer sacrifice to the Lord? Samuel was a Levite (1 Chr 6:33-38). Why is he called an Ephraimite then? What was the inheritance God gave to the Levites? Therefore, Samuel is an Ephraimite because of where he lived.

Samuel urges the elders to sanctify themselves, and he consecrated Jesse and his sons. The essence of consecration/sanctification is that people are set apart for God’s service. The basis of that consecration is the holiness and perfection of God. “You shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine” (Lev 20:26). Articles in the tabernacle and later in the temple were holy or consecrated because they were used for one very specific purpose. The elders and Jesse’s family would be set apart from everything else when they worshipped.

The sanctification of the elders and Jesse’s family would have included the ceremonial washings and purifications. I find it interesting that Jews needed to prepare before they worshiped. How many of us prepare to worship? What are some things we might need to do to prepare for worship? How do we go about preparing for worship?

When Samuel saw Eliab, he thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!” Why would Samuel believe Eliab would make a good king?

What was God’s response to Samuel? “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). Why do people look at the outward appearance? What misconceptions can happen if we only judge by outward appearance? What are examples of people judging by outward appearance?

God looks on the heart. “Hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men)” (1 Ki 8:39). “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen” (Acts 1:24).

What does God mean when He says that He looks at the heart? What are some examples where God looked on the heart? What implications are there for us that God looks at our hearts? How might God’s looking on the heart impact the way we deal with others? What happens when people refuse to look beyond the surface?

It can be a positive thing that God looks at the heart. John 1:47-51. Jesus was able to say that Nathanael was an Israelite without deceit. Jesus, because He could see the heart, was able to select 12 men to be the disciples He needed.

Jesus saw good in Nathanael’s heart. Is it important that He be able to see good in our heart? How can we make our hearts good? “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word” (Ps 119:9). Prayer. “Lead us not into temptation….” Publican vs Pharisee.

That brings up an interesting point. What about Judas? Judas fulfilled prophecy. “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (Jn 17:12). Acts 1:15-20.

I flatly reject a deterministic view of prophecy. That view would say that Judas had no choice but to act as he did. The prophecies, therefore, told what would happen because God can see the future. God did not cause Judas to act as he did.

Therefore, I believe it is absolutely the case that Judas had some redeeming quality. Just because I don’t know what that redeeming quality was doesn’t mean Jesus couldn’t see it.

That leads us back to David. Samuel to Saul: “Now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you” (1 Sam 13:14). How could a man after God’s own heart commit adultery and murder?

After seven sons of Jesse pass before Samuel, the prophet says, “The Lord has not chosen these.” It’s intriguing to me that Jesse has seven sons pass before Samuel. Typically, seven is a number of perfection. I don’t think that God caused Jesse to have eight sons to make a point. However, I can’t help but think we’re told about seven sons passing before Samuel to make a point. It seemed as though the “perfect” candidate had been found. Samuel had to keep looking.

It seems rather obvious that David has an issue with his father. Samuel had consecrated Jesse’s sons for the sacrifice. Obviously, David was not consecrated. Why would Jesse pass over David?

There seem to be a couple compelling data which say that David was not regarded very highly by Jesse.

“There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep” (v 11).

Jesse seems to have thought no more of David than a way to take care of sheep. Is there a danger when we look at our children from one dimension? Is it possible that sometimes we view our children as to what they can do for us?

“My father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in” (Ps 27:10).

I understand that the psalms are poetry; therefore, they express emotion rather than straight facts. However, the fact that David says his parents have forsaken him may reflect the reality of the situation.

David “was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking” (v 12). “Ruddy” refers to David’s red hair. Red hair was considered as a very beautiful look in that part of the world. Most hair was brown or black; therefore, being red headed was considered beautiful. Why would the Holy Spirit instruct the author of 1 Samuel to mention David’s physical appearance?

This Bible class was originally taught by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Dale Ridge church of Christ in Roanoke, Virginia.

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