a study on the life of David. I’ve always wanted to study this man’s life…figure out what made him ‘tick’, as it were. I’m not following anyone’s guide or book, but just reading scripture and will, hopefully, report back my findings/questions/queries, etc. I’m not sure what prompted me to start this now, but I know I really need to start digging into scripture more than I have. And since David was a man after God’s own heart, I’d like to see why that was exactly…maybe even see if I can follow David’s examples.
So, David 1st shows up in 1 Samuel 16. Samuel has anointed Saul to be King over Israel (chapter 10) due to the urging of the nation (chapter 8 ) and soon discovers that Saul was a big mistake. God tells Samuel to stop his crying (over the blunder of naming Saul king) and anoint a son of Jesse…but He doesn’t tell Samuel which of Jesse’s sons (he has 8).
This strikes me as odd. Why not tell Samuel to anoint Jesse’s son David right away? Why did they have to go through all of Jesse’s sons one at a time and reject each of them until David was (eventually) standing before them? A few lessons come to mind:
- Obedience. God tells Samuel to go. He went, not knowing who he was to anoint.
- Trust. Again, Samuel must have had a long time to ponder who this new king would be. Although he did have a nugget of information, he still had to trust God, especially when Jesse seemingly ran out of sons to potentially anoint.
Just before we see David chosen, we read a phrase that’s been repeated so many times:
Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. [I Sam 16:7, ESV]
First off, do you see a little foreshadowing here? God says not to look at someone’s physical appearance as the criteria for leadership. Only 1 chapter later do we see the Philistines putting their army’s hands into a 9ft, 9in giant named Goliath. I’m sure David wasn’t a very small person, but even if he was that still wouldn’t have stopped God from working through David.
Secondly, let’s address the ‘looking on the heart’ part. Notice that scripture doesn’t say ‘looks in the heart’ or ‘looks through the heart.’ These last two differences would, to me, suggest that God’s not looking to see if you have passion. Instead, scripture says “looks on the heart”. What does ‘looking on the heart’ mean? I think to help understand it better, maybe we should play with the words a bit. When we say we have something ‘on our mind’, it means that it’s the foremost thought at that particular time. The thought isn’t literally on our mind, but our thoughts have been prioritized. So, I think that what “looks on the heart” means is that we have a correct prioritization of God in our lives. In other words, if worst came to worst, you’d choose to follow God, even over family, friends, work, government, etc. David’s commitment to God was demonstrated in the battle with Goliath, as David’s brothers certainly did not want their little brother representing the entire nation of Israel against the Philistine champion.
Well, that’s what I think so far. Maybe after I read it again later I’ll come up with more. By the way, I guess I should mention that I have no seminary training, so please don’t read this thinking that what I’ve written is truth…it’s just my commentary on what I’ve read.
God, thank you for giving me the desire to learn more about You through your servant David’s life. Just as You’ve worked in and through David’s life, may it be the same with my life. I pray that You will show me how to be the man You want me to be. Amen.