Call to Worship August 1 2021

Expository Thoughts on 1 Samuel 16

The pomp and circumstance of the entrance of a king languishes in our imaginations. When we hear of a king in America it is often foreign to our thinking, but not completely foreign. We know what the inauguration of a president looks like every four years- the musical entrance, lofty promising speeches, the swearing of oath to office, the fanfare parade, and night time galas. Depending on the party or candidate millions watch our national political affair publicized across the world. It truly has become an international spectacle. The president of the United States matters to the whole of the world, its countries and governments. American ideas and culture permeate the thinking of the world and the next American President becomes a symbol for the world to see.

I Samuel 16 depicts the entrance of a king whom the world cared little about in that day. Saul had been God’s choice for Israel, but not a man after God’s own heart. He was the choice of the people in that Saul feared them more than anything else. He acquiesced to their will instead of the commands of God. So, God pledged to take the throne of Israel from him and his family. God’s removal of one king ushered in the anointing of an unknown king. This new king was not much to speak of nationally, not to mention the global stage of the Mediterranean region and Asia. His own family could not have imagined the future of their youngest son and brother. A shepherd boy whose name was David.

David was not the most obvious choice as King of Israel. David was not homely by any means, but his physical attributes were not the focal point for God’s choosing him. (1 Sam. 16:12) Although Samuel was somewhat struck by David’s eldest brother Eliab, God revealed that Samuels’s vision and perspective were merely physical. God declared that He “looks at the heart.” Ultimately David was God’s choice due to how God had fashioned him regarding his mind, will, and affections, not his height and facial features. No matter his whereabouts or how long it may take to retrieve him, nothing could stand in the way of Samuel calling for him. While Samuel was sent by God under the pretense of offering a sacrifice in Bethlehem, God revealed His choice for the kingship of Israel.

Bam! Just like ice cream melting down a sugar cone side in the southern summer heat, it was over. Samuel anointed David and “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon” him, whereas, “the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul” (1 Sam. 16:13-14). Neither man nor those in their company, at the time, knew exactly what had happened. The background of Samuel’s grief over Saul had come to fruition as the pledge of God was fulfilled. All Saul could do now was unknowingly invite his successor into his home. David would become Saul’s sanity saver during the hours of an evil spirit terrorizing him at God’s command. Here in lies a sovereignty that humbles us and confounds our understanding. This should not surprise us and should not confound us. God is in control of all things. Even Satan must work by the sovereign permittance of God (Job 1:8). Furthermore, the word used is not only a noun or thing, but an adjective. The idea is of God granting a spirit of “pain, misery, distress, or calamity.”[1] God brought this trial to Saul to fulfill His purpose.

So, God was working in the midst of the whole process. Every person, place, and animal was a part of God’s providence that day, which is no different from any other day. One family witnessed a future for coronation, another the beginnings of desolation. Even a young cow was used as the human perspective for the journey and arrival of Samuel, who would anoint David. Oh and that little town of Bethlehem, it is the city of David and a future king coming according to prophecy- the one and only Messiah whose coming day was globally little known as well.

His name is Jesus! At the tail end of His ministry, He entered Jerusalem on a providential donkey. He threw the temple into a conniption of burnt fried chicken proportions and marched to his coronation on the cross. Jesus, the one true King of all the ages, claimed His crown. He bore the sins of His people and died a sinner’s death. He arose on the third day and lives forevermore as the King of all Kings. Never fear, you Samuels, even when it looks the bleakest it can possibly look. God has a plan, a plan and purpose for redemption and reconciliation. There is a coming day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus the Christ is Lord. Will you be grieving over this world or worshipping the triumphal King? Soli Deo Gloria!

[1] Dale Ralph Davis, I Samuel: Looking on the Heart, (Christian Focus Pub., 2014.), 175. His footnote relays this explanation.