Lesson 39

Anointing of David

"Take no account of it if he is handsome and tall. . . . men judge by appearances but the LORD judges by the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7 (New English Bible)

The Israelites wanted a king just as the nations around them had their kings. God had been their invisible king and Samuel the Prophet guided and judged them according to the leadings of the LORD. But the Israelites wanted a human king and a royal family who would live in a palace! To please the people, God chose Saul to be the first king of Israel.

Saul was tall and strong and handsome and, at first, humble. He led the people in the ways of the Lord. But, after a few years, he became careless about obeying the LORD’s commandments.

God directed Saul to attack the Amalekites and completely destroy them and all their goods. Instead, Saul and his men captured their king and kept the best of the sheep and oxen and anything else that appealed to them. When Samuel confronted him, Saul said he wanted the animals to sacrifice to the LORD. But Samuel replied that obedience is far better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). Eventually, God took the kingdom away from Saul.

God declared to Samuel that he had chosen one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king of Israel, and Samuel was to anoint him. Seven of Jesse’s sons passed before Samuel; they were tall and handsome young men, but the LORD rejected them all. Samuel was surprised, but asked Jesse if these were all his sons. Jesse answered that the youngest, David, was out tending the sheep. When David came before Samuel, the LORD said, "This is the one, anoint him." Samuel poured the olive oil upon David’s head and the spirit of Jehovah God came upon David (1 Samuel 16:12, 13).

We are especially interested in the story of David because his name means beloved, and because he was a picture of The Christ—Jesus and his faithful brethren, the church.

David was anointed many years before he became king. Just as the years of trials and testings David experienced were to prepare him for his office as king, so Jesus and the church also have a period of trials and testings in preparation for their roles as kings and priests in the next age.

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