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1 Samuel

Time for a New King
16:1 - 17:58

1 Samuel 16:7
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.

At the heart of good leadership is a leader’s good heart.

Related Reading

Psalm 8

Psalm 19:7-14

Psalm 23

Psalm 29

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Reflect upon today’s memory verse, for it is the key to the entire book of First Samuel. Indeed, it is the key to the Scriptures. God looks not after the ways of men but after the ways of the Spirit, to the spiritual nature of one’s heart. As the title to this book reflects, First Samuel is a study of the condition of people’s hearts. The lesson theme may refer to leadership, but the application goes well beyond those we normally think of as leaders. Only those whose hearts are pointed towards God will succeed in the areas which are most important in eternity.

Most of us become sports fans at some point in our lives. We anxiously watch such events as the Super Bowl, or our local college, or even our high school stars. Television has created that wonderful toy known as instant replay so we may live over and over again that “fantastic play.” For several years the National Football League experimented with instant replay as a means of “helping” the officials. About the only heart condition these replays create is a fast beat of excitement or anger as we cheer or boo the play.

Another Anointing [16:1 - 23]

One has to wonder at Samuel’s emotions as we read the first chapter of today’s lesson. Instant replay makes us feel like we were “there” as the play unfolds. Samuel must have felt like he was in an instant replay as God draws upon him to anoint yet another king.

Samuel deeply grieved for Saul’s condition and the Lord’s rejection of him as king. But God has other plans and will not let Samuel wallow to long in this mourning. Samuel must fill a vessel of oil and journey to Bethlehem to anoint Israel’s new king.

book282.gif The contrast between Samuel and Saul is striking. Saul, given the specific order of God, claimed success through partial fulfillment. Samuel, on the other hand, pulls himself away from his own emotions to complete the directive God has given him. When Samuel questions God’s command, he does so by turning to the Lord in prayer. Samuel talks the matter over with God. Then, once God has satisfied his concerns, Samuel packs up and heads out on God’s business (16:1-4).

Much of Samuel’s concern was not with God’s directive to anoint a replacement king. Rather, Samuel feared Saul would hear of the anointing and Samuel’s life would be in jeopardy. Samuel feared. We should draw from this confidence that our personal emotional welfare is important to God. He wants our obedience, but he wants us to seek peace from Him and not to bury ourselves in crippling emotions.

So, Samuel comes to Bethlehem, to the family of Jesse and immediately commences to view life the same way the people do. As Jesse’s first son parades in front of Samuel, the old prophet is confident he has met the next king. Why? Because the son, Eliab looks the part! This leads us to God’s response in our memory verse. God seeks those who will follow Him, not those captured by the ways of the world.

One of the great mysteries of life is the means God has chosen to bring salvation to a fallen world. Paul writes the following in 1 Corinthians 1:25 - 29:

bible326.gif 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
book283.gif God has turned the world and all of its materialism over to Satan. God then allows each of us to trudge through this mud of sin until we have individually had enough. At that point, God pulls us up based solely upon a faith in Christ. Look back where you came from. Is it not foolish that God would want to use you as a messenger of His Word? Just look where you have come from! But this is how God has chosen to work. Why? Because God has looked upon your
heart and discovered a heart he can mold and shape. It is a heart willing to be patient and study and learn about Jesus Christ and the promises and hope that He brings. It is not a pure heart, for Scripture teaches there are none save Christ. Rather it is a heart willing to allow the potter His way at molding and shaping the life within. It is a heart which will trust the potter to do that which is best.pottery.gif

This is the heart which God has seen in David – a heart which will lean more on God than on the devil.

ole40.gif Is your heart moldable?

David was guarding the family sheep. This is not a light task, although sheep herding was surely not nearly as glamourous as being a soldier. So, as the youngest, the undertaking fell to David while his brothers acted as soldiers in Saul’s army. That David is the proper choice is noted in the Scripture because the Spirit of the Lord immediately came upon him (16:13).

book284.gif Those of us who have accepted Christ as Savior have experienced this same phenomena. The Spirit of the Lord has not only come upon us, He indwells us and empowers us to carry out God’s plan for our lives. What a tremendous sense of comfort this is to the true believer in Christ – God Almighty makes His home in our hearts!

What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

1 Corinthians 6:19

The contrast with Saul’s predicament shows the difference between the things of the world and the things which are God’s. The wise choose God. The foolish receive trouble and turmoil of an unwanted nature. Verse 14 records not only that the Spirit of the Lord departs from Saul but that “an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.” This spirit causes Saul great torment. He is restless, suspicious, deeply disturbed, violent, an all-around not nice guy. This condition will be in constant contrast with the reactions of David throughout the remainder of First Samuel.


This verse creates a lot of difficulty for many people. God is a God of peace and love, a God who cannot “behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity” (Habakkuk 1:13). God is sovereign of all and over all. God cannot do evil (James 1:13), but as has been discussed earlier, God has many methods of dealing with men. God’s perfect will is complemented by God’s permissive will. Under His permissive will, events are allowed to occur within the limits God Himself sets. God has “allowed” this evil spirit to invade Saul’s life. Since the Israelites view God as having absolute control of the universe, if Saul is controlled by an evil spirit, such spirit is ultimately sent from God as the final voice of authority. The evil spirit will return often to torment Saul. God uses this evil spirit to teach David lessons. In New Testament terms, one might apply Romans 8:28 as the basis of these episodes. Only music from David harp is able to bring soothing to Saul’s tortured soul.



How do you find comfort for your soul when it is tortured by circumstances?

Do you need a David?


Notice that Saul’s servants deal with the symptoms and not the cause of the king’s problems. What Saul needed was a change of heart not a harp!

Giant Killing [17:1 - 58]

Chapter 17 is one of those stories all of us learned in Sunday School. The spiritual lessons may have floated right past us, but the adventure and action of the story clings to our imaginations. David and Goliath, David the giant killer, what excitement this picture brings to the imagination! What a contrast between Saul, his army, and David the young shepherd.

There, on one side of the valley, Goliath and the Philistines hurl insults upon the Jewish soldiers. On the other side of the valley, the Israelites gather for shelter, seeking solace, waiting for Saul’s leadership. Goliath stands at least nine feet tall and wears 125-pound armor coat. Saul is tall among the Israelites, but is as dismayed and afraid as his men (17:11). Onto the scene comes the young shepherd boy, David, seeking his brothers to take a report back to their father.

David is overcome with righteous indignation at the treatment afforded the soldiers by Goliath and the Philistines. David fails to understand how the giant could “defy the armies of the living God” (17:26). Doesn’t the condition of David’s heart shine through?! He may not be a perfect person, but he loves the Lord and understands who He is. So, with his slingshot and five smooth stones (items shaped and formed by God!) David defeats Goliath. David places his trust in only one Person – God Almighty!


45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.

1 Samuel 17:45-47



What about you? What giants are you facing today?

In whose hands have you placed the battle?

It seems unfair to us, but our giants always seem to be greater than we are. Appearances attempt to control our emotions so that we react on emotion rather than on faith and knowledge. This is the way of the Devil. God wants us to fight from our weaknesses, relying and trusting upon Him and not upon ourselves. The glory, then, for our victories will go where it properly belongs – to God!

book287.gif Some people are troubled by Saul’s questions of verses 55 and 58 where Saul asks “whose son are you?” After David having effectively become part of Saul’s household in the previous chapter, why does Saul need to ask the question? It is possible that Saul has forgotten David because of the effects of the evil spirit. It is also possible that Saul has never learned about David’s family, for the question is not, “who are you,” but rather “who is you father?” If so, one cannot help but wonder at the one-sidedness of the relationship between Saul and David, a relationship where Saul took peace from David, but had no desire to learn anything about his “savior.”
As we will see in the next lesson, friends are an important part of our lives. We should not treat them lightly. Learning about them displays a two-way relationship, not a one-sided burden.



This chapter once again demonstrates how, in worldly terms, God uses the foolish things of life to overcome tremendous mountains. There is a large demand for faith and trust on our part toward God. David possessed this faith and felled a nine-foot tall giant with a single small stone. How often we forget we can accomplish the same feats if only we will trust in God.


ole43.gif When was the last time you attempted to slay a giant?

Whose power did you draw upon? Yours? Or God’s?

What were the results?




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