1 Samuel 16=God Chooses David
Bible Background: We got a taste last week, that the times Samuel lived and served in would be tumultuous. They are! The Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant. Eli and his sons die. Samuel acts as Judge, Priest, and Prophet. His sons don’t turn out well. The people demand a king, so “we can be like the other nations.” Samuel warns them “be careful what you ask for.” Samuel anoints Saul as the 1st king of Israel. He seems like a good choice, but soon falls out of favor with God. Now, while Saul is still on the throne,, Samuel-with some fear and trembling-anoints David as the next king. David is the youngest of his brothers, and in some ways, the least likely choice. He will exhibit many strengths and flaws. But he will be remembered for having a heart for God.
Digging Deeper: 1. One thing in today’s story is the risk that Samuel faces (Who dares to pick a new king?? The current king’s son ought to be next in line!) and the trust he must have in God to obey God’s directions.
2. A second thing that stands out is God’s unconventional, but sound, choosing: David is not the oldest, or the tallest (the ones who sometimes have an advantage!) God “looks on the heart.” We might add-God looks generously on David’s heart! Because David’s “heart” will be all over the place-in the ‘right’ places, and in the ‘wrong’ places.
3. Many of the Psalms are attributed to David. (Many of us were taught that David wrote most of the Psalms-possible, but not likely.) Many of those Psalms fit the life of David. Psalm 51, a Psalm of Confession, fits particularly well, and gives us the offertory song words we’ve used in Lutheran liturgy for generations: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me….”
4. The significance of David in scripture is second only to Jesus (whether he deserves that or not!) Part of that is because Israel saw his reign as their “Golden Years”. He made Jerusalem the capitol. He united the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern Kingdom (Judah). And he kept quite a few of the nation’s enemies at bay. The other great significance is that God promises that from David’s family line, a Messiah will come, who will rule forever! When Jesus is born, his ancestry is traced back to David (and even to Ruth & Boaz, the grandparents of David’s father, Jesse!)
5. We’ve seen multiple times in these first weeks of the Narratively Lectionary how God chooses and uses such talented and flawed persons. How might God be seeking to use us with our pluses and minuses? When have you worried about falling out of favor with God? When have you felt the Spirit nudging you to do something good and necessary, that also scared you?