Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament book of First Samuel, which not only describes the time period of Samuel the prophet in Israel, but also the time of Saul king of Israel, and David the shepherd boy from Bethlehem who would emerge as the future king of Israel. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters seventeen through nineteen of this Old Testament book. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the narrative of David the son of Jesse continuing from that which took place in the sixteenth chapter. If you turn and direct your attention back to the sixteenth chapter you will find the prophet Samuel making a journey unto the town of Bethlehem, for the LORD revealed unto him that it would be in Bethlehem where he would find that one who would be the next king of Israel. In order to truly understand the narrative of David who was this shepherd boy from Bethlehem, turned fugitive and vagabond, turned king of Israel, it’s necessary and important for us to understand the narrative of the king who was originally anointed by the prophet Samuel to rule as the king of Israel. As you turn and direct your attention back to the previous chapters which are found within this Old Testament book you will find Saul son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin being chosen by the living God and anointed by the prophet Samuel to rule and govern the people of God, as well as to save the children of Israel out of the hands of their enemies—the Philistines. The story and account of David, however, cannot be understood without and apart from the narrative of Saul, for the lives of these two men were intrinsically connected, and would be connected from the time of the events which are written and recorded in the seventeenth chapter of the book of First Samuel. It’s in the Old Testament book of First Samuel, and specifically, in the seventeenth chapter of this book where we once more find the Philistines in array against the children of Israel—the underlying exception this time, however, was that they had a champion among them from the city of Gath. When the Philistines arrayed themselves against the children of Israel this time they did so with the valley of Elah between themselves in the children of Israel, as Goliath of Gath would enter into the valley and challenge any among the children of Israel to engage him in battle. Oh it’s one thing for the Philistines themselves to set themselves in array against the children of Israel in battle, and it’s one thing for the Philistines to sore provoke and intimidate the children of Israel in the midst of the land, but it’s something else entirely for a voice to actually rise up among them in the midst of the earth to intimidate and threaten the people of God. Up until this point in time we only read of the Philistines and the children of Israel being engaged in conflict and warfare with each other. This time, however, there would be a voice and champion that would rise up among them which would threaten and intimidate the people of God, and would challenge their trust, their faith and their confidence in the living God.
Without getting ahead of myself and jumping too quickly into the words which are written and recorded within the seventeenth chapter it’s worth noting the events which set in motion the backdrop and foundation for this conflict which took place in the midst of the children of Israel. In order to truly understand the emergence of David who was this shepherd boy from the town of Bethlehem, and how he would be anointed to be the next king of Israel, it’s imperative that we recognize and understand—not only two distinct times when Jonathan the son of Saul provoked the Philistines in battle instead of his own father, but also two distinct times when Saul king of Israel disobeyed and rebelled against the word and command of the LORD. In chapters thirteen and fourteen we find the narrative of Saul leading the children of Israel from a place of fear, and in a place of fear, while in the fifteenth chapter we find Saul son of Kish being given a very specific instruction and command of the living God concerning an ancient foe and adversary whom he would be called upon and raised up to utterly and completely destroy. What’s interesting and worth considering is that when Saul was given the opportunity to save the children of Israel out of the hands of their enemies, and even when Saul was given the opportunity to utterly and completely destroy an ancient foe and adversary—that which he put on display instead was fear in the face of adversaries, and rebellion before and against the word and command of the living God. It would be very easy to jump right into the narrative of David the son of Jesse, and the one who would be anointed to be the next king of Israel, however, I am convinced that before we can even attempt to delve into the narrative of David we must consider the narrative of Saul and his rebellion to the command of the living God, as well as his fear in the face of the enemy and adversary. Consider if you will the two distinct narratives that describe Saul’s fear and trembling in the face of the enemy and adversary, as well as the opportunity he was given to once and for all utterly and completely destroy an ancient foe and adversary of the people of God. Consider if you will the following narratives found in chapters thirteen, fourteen and fifteen of this Old Testament book beginning to read with and from the opening verse of the thirteenth chapter:
“Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Saul chose him three thousand men of Israel; whereof two thousand were with Saul in Michmash and in mount Beth-el, and a thousand were with Jonathan in Gibeah of Benjamin: and the rest of the people he sent every man to his tent. And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear. And all Israel heard say that Saul had smitten a garrison of the Philsitines. And the people were called together after Saul to Gilgal. And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Beth-aven. When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad Og Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the turnt offering, behold, Samuel came: and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which He commanded thee: For now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee. And Samuel arose, and gat him up from Gilgal unto Gibeah of Benjamin. And Saul numbered the people that were present with him, about six hundred men. And Saul, and Jonathan his son, and the people that were present with them, abode in Gibeah of Benjamin: but the Philistines encamped in Michmash. And the spoilers came out of the camp of the Philistines in three companies: one company turned unto the way to Beth-Haron: and another company turned the way to Beth-Haron: and another company turned to the way of the border that looked to the valley of Zeboim toward the wilderness. Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords of spears: but all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock. Yet they had a file for the mattocks, and for the coulters, and for the forks, and for the axes, and to sharpen the goads. So it came to pass in the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people that were with Saul and Jonathan: but with Saul and with Jonathan his son was there found. And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the passage of Michmash” (1 Samuel 13:1-23).
“Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines’ garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father. And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men; and Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod’s brother, the son of Phineas, the son of Eli, the LORD’s priest in Shiloh, wearing an roped. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone. And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines’ garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh. The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah. And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the LORD will work for us: for there is no restratint to the LORD to save by many or by few. And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart. Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them. If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to your; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them. But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the LORD hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us. And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves. And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his amourbearer, Come up after me: for the LORD hath delivered them into the hand of Israel. And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armorbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him. And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armorbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling. And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another. Then said Saul unto the people that were with him, Number now, and see how is gone from us. And when they had numbered, behold, Jonathan and his armourbearer were not there. And Saul said unto Ahiah, Bring hither the ark of God. For the ark of God was at that time with the children of Israel. And it came to pass, while Saul talked unto the priest, that the noise that was in the host of the Philistines went on and increased: and Saul said unto the priest, Withdraw thine hand. And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture. Moreover the Hebrews that were with the Philistines before that time, which went up with them into the camp from the country round about, even they also turned to be with the Israelites that were with Saul and Jonathan. Likewise all the men of Israel which had hid themselves in mount Ephraim, when they heard that the Philistines fled, even they also followed hard after them in battle. So the LORD saved Israel that day: and the battle passed over unto Beth-aven. And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjure the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food” (1 Samuel 14:1-24).
“Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalekites did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and sprea them not; but slay birth man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. And Saul gathered the people together and numbered them in Telaim, to hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley. And Saul said unto the Keynotes, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the failings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile, and refuse, that they destroyed utterly. Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night. And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD. And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spare the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. And Samuel said, When thou was little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORd anointed thee king over Israel? And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and Dost evil in the sight of the LORD? And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD. And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: For thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. And as Samuel turned about to go way, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and rent it. And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man that he should repent. Then he said, I have sinned: but honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God. So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD. Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal. Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul. And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel” (1 Samuel 15:1-35).
Within each of these chapters we find the stage being set for the events that would unfold in the sixteenth chapter when Samuel the prophet would be sent unto the town of Bethlehem to anoint the next king of Israel. With that being said, however, I am convinced that we cannot truly understand the narrative that is found in the sixteenth chapter—and all those chapters which are present within Scripture thereafter without and apart from understanding the fear of Saul, as well as the rebellion of Saul. What’s truly intriguing to think about and consider is the fact that the fear of Saul and the rebellion of Saul seemed to be interconnected and intrinsically linked to each other. In the thirteenth chapter of the book of First Samuel we find Saul calling for the burnt offering in order that he might offer it before the LORD—not only because Samuel delayed his coming unto him, but also because the people were scattering from him. What a truly tragic picture is found in the thirteenth chapter of this Old Testament book, for not only do we find a people scattering and fleeing from Saul, but we also find a people that are hiding in caves, in thickets, in rock, and in high places out of fear of the enemy and adversary. Even Saul himself would and could not lead the people in confidence, in boldness, in faith and assurance before the LORD their God, as we read how the people followed Saul trembling. What a terrible indictment it is to think about and consider the fact that when Saul was chosen by the living God and anointed by the prophet Samuel to save the people of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines, it was his son Jonathan who would actually strengthen himself in the LORD, and engage the Philistines in battle and warfare. In both the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of this Old Testament book you will find Jonathan attacking a garrison of the Philistines—not once, but twice. Within this Old Testament book you will find this first king of Israel trembling in fear before the enemy and adversary that was the Philistines, and it was Jonathan himself who would rise up with sword in hand that he might engage the enemy and adversary in conflict and battle. We dare not miss and lose sight of this absolutely incredible and tremendous fact, for it brings us face to face with the stage that was being set for David this shepherd boy from Bethlehem to emerge on to the scene, and for David to be anointed as the next king of the nation and kingdom of Israel. It would be Saul’s fear that would lead him to disobedience and transgression against the word and command of the LORD, and it would be Saul who would transgress the command of the LORD—not once, but twice during his reign as king over the nation and people of Israel.
If we are to understand the narrative of david the king of Israel, it is important that we begin with the reign of the one who was chosen and anointed before him to rule and govern as the king of Israel. The entire narrative of David surrounds and is centered upon the reality that the LORD rejected Saul from being king over the people of israel, and had sought for Himself a man after His own heart. The narrative and story of David is able to come into play and is able to be manifested in the midst of Scripture because of the LORD rejecting Saul from being king over the nation of Israel. The LORD would reject Saul from being king over Israel, and in direct response to that rejection of his being king over the nation and kingdom of Israel, it would open the door for David this shepherd boy from the town of Bethlehem to emerge on to the scene and be anointed as the next king over the nation and kingdom of Israel. It’s worth understanding that David’s story doesn’t begin in the valley of Elah and in the midst of the camp of the children of Israel which were set in array against the Philistines. The narrative and story of David begins with the reign of the king who ruled and reigned before him, and would even begin in the town of Bethlehem where he shepherded his father’s flocks. When Samuel came unto Bethlehem he would assume that one of Jesse’s older sons would be the one who was chosen by the living God to be the next king of the nation and kingdom of Israel, and yet the truth of the matter is that. The LORD had rejected each of Jesse’s older sons and had chosen unto and for Himself David who was the youngest of all Jesse’s sons. The narrative and story of David does not begin on the battlefield before the taunts and jeers of Goliath the Philistine champion from Gath, but rather it begins in the town of Bethlehem where he was anointed as the next king over Israel. What’s more, is that I would even dare say that the narrative and story of David begins even before that which is written concerning his being anointed as the next king of Israel, and begins in the fields as he watched over his father’s flocks by day and night. When standing before Saul preparing to confront Goliath the Philistine champion, David declared unto him that he not only rose up against both a lion and a bear, but also slew both of them when they roared and raged against the flock which was in his care. The narrative of David who would be the next king of Israel would not begin in the house of Jesse when Samuel the prophet stood before him with a horn of oil which was poured upon his head, but rather it began out in the fields when and where no one was watching, for it was there the living God saw what no other man would or could see. It was that which the living God saw there in the fields that so pleased and impressed Him, that He made the decision to make David the next king over the nation and kingdom of Israel.
The emergence of David on to the landscape of Israel is one that must be understood in light of Saul who had been chosen by the LORD and anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the king of Israel. We cannot truly understand the narrative of David who would be the next king of Israel without understanding the narrative of Saul king of Israel, and how this men who would be anointed by the prophet Samuel to save the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines would not only be a man who was seized with fear at the presence of the enemy, but he would also be a man who was seized and gripped with intimidation before the people whom he was called to shepherd. When it comes to the command to utterly and completely destroy Amaleki we seeSaul demonstrating an intimidation of the people he was called to lead as not only did he spare Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, but so also did he spare everything that was good and pleasant in his eyes. When the prophet Samuel confronted him because of his disobedience we find Saul blaming the people for their actions, and how he had faithfully executed and carried out the command of the LORD, and how it was the people who had spared the best of the flock, the best of herd, the best of the cattle, and that which was good and pleasant to the eyes. This actually leads us into a tremendous reality concerning Saul, for in addition to his being a man who was seized with fear in the sight and presence of the enemy and adversary, he was also one who was rebellious before and to the word and command of the LORD. In the thirteenth chapter we find him transgressing against the command of the LORD by offering the burnt offering, which was reserved for the priests of the LORD. What’s more, is that in the fifteenth chapter we find him transgressing against the command of the LORD by refusing to utterly and completely destroy that which the LORD had instructed him to. The backdrop of the LORD searching out a man after His own heart, and a man who would truly shepherd his people Israel would be the fear, the intimidation, the anxiety and the transgression of the command and word of the LORD. This man Saul would be one who would be chosen by the living God, and would be anointed by the prophet Samuel to save the children of Israel out of the hands of the Philistines, and yet the narrative concerning his life would be one that would conclude with the LORD rending and tearing the kingdom out of his hand and giving it to his neighbour who was better than he was. Oh please don’t miss and please don’t lose sight of this absolutely tremendous reality, for in order to truly understand the narrative of David king of Israel, it’s important that we understand that his emergence onto the scene would come as a direct result of the LORD rejecting Saul from being king over Israel, and as a direct result of the LORD rending the kingdom out of the hands of Saul and giving it unto him.
When and as you come to the narrative of David who would be chosen by God and anointed as king over the nation of Israel, it’s important for us to recognize and understand this his story doesn’t begin in and with the Valley of Elah where Goliath the Philistine champion of Gath would come out day after day and mock, taunt, intimidate and ridicule—not only the people of God, but also the living God himself. The narrative of David who would be the next king of Israel would not begin on the battlefield as he ran to meet Goliath the champion of Gath, but it would begin with his being called out from the sheepfold where he shepherded his father’s flocks. IN the sixteenth chapter of this Old Testament book you will find the LORD speaking unto Samuel and asking him how much longer he would weep and mourn over Saul since He had rejected him as being king over the nation and people of Israel. Instead of weeping and mourning over that which no longer is in the midst of the people of God, the LORD instructed Samuel to rise from his place in Ramah, fill his horn with oil, and then take his journey unto the town of Bethlehem in the land of Judah, for it would be there where he would find that one who would be the next king of Israel. This is actually quite astounding when you think about and consider it, for there are times within our lives when we mourn over that which the LORD has rejected, and that which the LORD has said “No” to, and the LORd instructs os to cease our weeping for that which once was, and to rise from our place and to go unto that place which the LORD Himself will show us. There are times within our lives when we find ourselves facing the LORD rejecting that thing, or perhaps even those things which once were, and we allow ourselves to get caught and stuck in what once was. There is a tremendous danger and tragedy in our getting caught in what once was, for if we allow ourselves to remain in that place of what once was position ourselves to miss out on that which the LORD not only desires to raise up within our lives, but also that which the living God desires to anoint and establish in our midst. Samuel wept and mourned over Saul king of Israel for the LORD had rejected him from being king over the nation and people of Israel, and had torn the kingdom out of his hands and given it unto another. Through and within the life of Samuel we see and catch a glimpse into those times within our lives when the LORD has perhaps rejected something which He once approved of, and when He has torn something out of our lives which He had once purposed and ordained, and as a direct result of the word and work of the LORD we find ourselves weeping and mourning over what once was in the midst of our lives, and in the midst of the earth. The narrative of David begins with the LORD speaking directly unto the prophet Samuel and asking him how long he would weep and mourn over Saul considering and seeing as the LORD had rejected him from being king over the nation and people of Israel.
I have to admit that I absolutely love reading the narrative of David who would be chosen by the LORD and anointed by the prophet Samuel as being the next king of Israel, for it would come directly on the heels of the LORD not only rejecting Saul from being king over the nation and people of Israel, but also the LORD instructing Samuel to rise from his place of weeping and mourning, and filling his horn with oil that he might take a journey unto Bethlehem where he would not only find the next king of Israel, but would also anoint the next king of Israel. I love the narrative and picture that is painted in this particular passage of Scripture, for David’s being anointed as the next and future king of the nation and people of Israel would come after the LORD rejected Saul from being king over His people, and even instructing Samuel to rise from his place of weeping and mourning, and to go and anoint that one whom the LORD would hand pick and hand choose to shepherd his people Israel. Oh, I can’t help but wonder how many times we within our lives might find ourselves in the same place and position as Samuel the prophet of the LORD, as we weep and mourn over that which the living God has rejected, and that which the living God has declared would and should no longer be within our lives. There are times within our lives when the LORD rejects that thing—perhaps even those things—within our lives, and initially we find ourselves weeping and mourning over that which the LORD has done, and over that which the LORD has spoken. We find ourselves spending a considerable amount of time weeping and mourning and being sorrowful over that which the living God has rejected, and we find ourselves living and dwelling in the reality of what once was. The danger in living in the reality of what once was rather than what is and can be is that when we do so we find ourselves missing out on that which the LORD is raising up in our midst. The danger with allowing ourselves to live and dwell in the past, and perhaps even in that which the LORD has once done is that when we allow ourselves to live in a past move and past work of the living God, we find ourselves in a place where we miss out on that which the LORD desires to do in the present. By choosing to dwell and abide in the past and perhaps even in that which the LORD our God has done, we find ourselves in a place where we might very well miss that which the LORD our God has for us in this present day and in this present time. Samuel was weeping and mourning over Saul king of Israel, and it was in that place of not only dwelling on what once was, but also weeping over that which once was the living God speaks to him and instructs him to rise from his place, fill his horn with oil, and to set out on a journey to the town of Bethlehem. IT would be there in the town of Bethlehem Samuel would find and anoint the next king of the nation and people of Israel.
The sixteenth chapter of the Old Testament book of First Samuel begins and opens with the LORD instructing Samuel to cease weeping over Saul since He had rejected him from being king over the people of Israel. Moreover, the LORD instructed Samuel to fill his horn with oil and to set out on a journey unto the house of Jesse who was in the town of Bethlehem, for it would be in the town of Bethlehem he would not only find, but would also anoint the next king of Israel. It’s worth noting that when Samuel the prophet came unto the house of Jesse, and when Jesse began passing his sons before the prophet to see and discover whether or not they would be anointed as the next king of Israel, the LORD would refuse each of Jesse’s eldest sons. Perhaps one of the most astonishing realities that surrounds the first portion of the sixteenth chapter is the fact that the LORD not only rejected Saul from being king over Israel, but the LORD had also refused each and every one of Jesse’s eldest sons from being the next king of Israel. This is quite astonishing and revealing when you think about and consider the fact that when Samuel saw Eliab who was Jesse’s eldest son, he thought that this certainly would be the one whom the LORD would choose to be the next king of Israel. The truth of the matter is that when Samuel looked upon Eliab and thought that this would surely be the next king of Israel, the LORD corrected his thinking and declared unto him that man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks upon the heart of a man. Please don’t miss and lose sight of the words which the LORD spoke unto Samuel the prophet, for it reveals something that would be truly different concerning this one who would be the next king over the people of Israel. When it came to Saul being chosen as the first king of Israel he would be chosen based on his outward appearance and based on his countenance before and in the midst of the people. When it came to raising up and anointing that one who would be the next king of Israel we learn and discover that the LORD would not choose one based on their outward appearance, and would not choose one based on their stature, but would choose one based on the condition of their heart. In the thirteenth chapter we find Samuel declaring unto Saul king of Israel how the LORD would look for one who was after His own heart, and now here in the house of the one who would become the next king of Israel, Samuel is once again brought face to face with the reality of the heart of a man, and how the LORD looks and judges based on the heart rather than the outward and external appearance of a man. It is absolutely necessary and important for us to recognize and understand this, for when we seek to understand the narrative of David who would be the next king of Israel we find and discover that when he was chosen by the living God—he was chosen not because of his outward appearance, but because of the nature and condition of his heart. Moreover, David wasn’t chosen based on man’s standards and based on his external stature and appearance, for he was chosen by the LORD and anointed by the prophet Samuel in the company and presence of all his brethren.
Before we come to the battle that would rage between the Philistines and the children of Israel we find that immediately after David was anointed as king over the nation and people of Israel, the Spirit of the LORD came upon him from that day forward. In all reality, I would dare say that the words which David would speak unto Saul when preparing to fight and face Goliath concerning his rising up against the lion and the bear when they came against both himself and the flock were words that described a period of time between his being anointed with the oil from the prophet Samuel’s horn and his being summoned unto the house and place of Saul king of Israel. In the Old Testament book of Judges you will find that when Samson rent the young lion as one would rend a kid, he was able to do so because the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him. There is not a doubt in my mind that the narrative we find concerning David is one that describes how the Spirit of the LORD would come upon him from the moment he was anointed as the next king of Israel. I am convinced that between the anointing and the summoning there were two conflicts which David would experience and face in the private and personal realm as he would not only face and engage a lion, but also a bear. When David stood before Saul king of Israel there on the battlefield we find him describing how a lion came against the flock and snatched one of his father’s sheep from before him. David would go on to reveal how he would not only snatch and recover this lamb from the mouth of the lion, but when the lion would turn against him, he would catch it by its beard and would strike it down and slaughter it. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that it was the Spirit of the living God that would make this possible in the life of David, and it would be David’s confrontation with both the lion and the bear that would prepare him for that time when he would hear the taunts and ridicule and mockery of Goliath the Philistine champion of Gath in the valley of Elah. Oh, I firmly believe that after David was anointed by the prophet Samuel, and after the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, he would enter into an even greater period of testing and preparation before the living God. Once the Spirit of the LORD came upon David he would begin a time of preparation for that which the LORD had called and ordained him to do in his generation. I am convinced that both the lion and the bear were preparation for David—not necessarily for ruling and reigning as king over Israel, but as preparation for facing Goliath whom we will see in the seventeenth chapter of this Old Testament book. There is not a doubt in my mind that it was the presence of the Spirit of the Sovereign LORD which came upon David king of Israel during those early years that would enable him to rise up against both the lion and the bear, and that both of them would prepare him to face Goliath in the valley of Elah in the seventeenth chapter of this Old Testament book.
When we come to the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of the Old Testament book of First Samuel we find a tremendous training and preparation that was being prepared by the LORD within the life of David. Once David had overcome both the lion and the bear, his next challenge and his next matter of preparation would be facing Goliath the Philistine giant from Gath in the valley of Elah. When David went out to face Goliath on the battlefield, we find him going against this giant with more than just a sling and a stone, but coming against him in and with the name of the LORD. What I so absolutely love about the narrative of David at this time was that David hasted and in fact ran toward Goliath as Goliath prepared come against him, and while he was running, he reached into his shepherds bag, took one of the stones, placed the stone in his sling, and hurled the stone in the direction of Goliath. The stone would strike Goliath in the forehead and would sink into his head, and as a direct result of this, Goliath would fall to the ground on his face. With Goliath on his face David would stand over him, remove the sword of the giant from his sheath, and would cut off the head of the giant with his own sword. This would ignite and incite tremendous faith, confidence, trust and hope in the hearts of the children of Israel as upon the death of the Philistine giant from Gath the Philistines would flee from the face of the children of Israel. The children of Israel would rise up after the Philistines and would smite and strike them all the way unto the gates of Ekron in the land of the Philistines. One single act of David this shepherd boy would not only fell the giant which taunted, mocked, and ridiculed the people of God, as well as the living God himself, but it would also cause the enemy to scatter and flee, and would cause faith to rise up within the hearts of the people of Israel as they would chase after the Philistines, and would do so all the way to Ekron. Please don’t miss the incredible significance of what is written and recorded within these verses, for what we find in the coming chapters after David slew Goliath the Philistine giant from Gath is David leading soldiers and men within the army against the Philistines. Much like Samson the Old Testament judge would be a scourge and thorn in the side of the Philistines during his generation, so also would David be a scourge and thorn in the side of the Philistines. The words and language we find in the chapters which are before us are quite powerful and quite telling when you consider them, for David would initially being by rising up and striking both the lion and the bear, would face Goliath the Philistine giant of Gath in the valley of Elah, and he would then engage the Philistines in battle from that day forward—at least until and before he had to flee and run for his life from the murderous hand of Saul king of Israel who would became threatened and intimidated by him.
One of the greatest realities surrounding the life of David is that from the moment the Spirit of the LORD came upon him—not only do we find him rising up against both a lion and a bear, but we also find him engaging a Philistine giant from Gath on the battlefield. As if this isn’t and wasn’t enough, we find David setting out on mission and endeavors against the Philistines, for David would become the next scourge who would rise up against the Philistines in the midst of the battle. In chapters seventeen, eighteen, and nineteen we find David being sent on assignments and missions in which he would be sent against the Philistines in order that he might defeat and overcome this adversary and foe of the children of Israel. OF course we know and understand that there were times when Saul would send David against the Philistines in an attempt to have him killed by the enemy, however, Saul’s plans would not work within the life of David. Despite the fact that Saul would be intimidated by David and the fact that the Spirit of the LORD had come upon him and an evil spirit of God would come upon him, as well as the fact that Saul would try and have David killed by the Philistines, David would continually walk in victory and triumph over the enemy. What I also love about the narrative of David was that Scripture records on multiple occasions how he behaved himself wisely, and behaved himself more wisely than others—even in and especially in the midst of the battle against the Philistines. It’s quite unique and powerful to think that in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of the book of First Samuel—not only do we find David rising up against the Philistines in battle as he would be sent out by Saul king of Israel, but we also find his missions and assignment against the Philistines being short lived, as Saul would seek to strike him with a spear and javelin—not once, but twice while David was playing his harp in the palace and house of Saul. That which we read and that which we find within these chapters is a truly astonishing and remarkable picture of David being trained and prepared to rule and reign as the next king of Israel, however, we must recognize and understand that his preparation would not be the type of preparation we would normally expect, for David would find his time of preparation in fleeing from the murderous hand of Saul who had sought to kill him twice with his own spear, and as Saul would on multiple occasions send David out to battle in hopes that he would be struck down and killed by the Philistines. As we read, study and consider the narrative concerning David king of Israel, it’s necessary that we recognize and understand that David would be anointed as the next king of Israel, and he would rule and reign after and in the place of Saul, however, the path to the throne would begin with the lion and the bear, would progress to a Philistine giant from Gath, would continue to encounters with the enemy and adversary, and would continue even further with his fleeing from the murderous hand and threats of Saul king of Israel as he would seek on countless occasions to strike David down and kill him with every chance he got.