‘…Make us a king, to judge us like all the nations’
1 Samuel 8:5
‘…for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart’ 1 Samuel 16:7
In our last lesson, we saw that the time following the prophet Joshua was
a dark and corrupt period
in the history of the nation of Israel. But even in that dark time we observed the light of the faithfulness of God. The LORD had not forgotten what He had promised to Abraham and his descendants concerning the Redeemer who was to come
out of the nation of Israel.
However, we saw how God was at work in the life of a woman called Ruth. Ruth was not an Israelite, but
she believed in the God of Israel with all her heart.
And while many Israelites turned from the LORD their God to follow the religions of the surrounding nations, Ruth chose to turn from the religion of her father to follow
the God of Israel.
Ruth moved to the land of Israel and settled in the town of Bethlehem where she married an Israelite named Boaz. Boaz and Ruth had a son named Obed; and Obed begot Jesse, the father of the prophet David. Thus God’s plan to redeem the children of Adam from their sins was moving ahead, because it was through the descendants of David that
the Redeemer would come into the world.
It was in Bethlehem, David’s hometown, that the Savior was to be born. In future lessons, we will learn how God’s prophets told all these things before and then how the Redeemer fulfilled them hundreds of years later. Only God could do such a thing!
The prophet David is very prominent in the Holy Scriptures. His name appears more than one thousand times.
Perhaps you know that he was the young man who defeated Goliath, the giant, with just a sling and stone. You probably also know that
David was a great king in Israel
and the prophet who wrote much of the book of Psalms. If you know these things, that is great, but your knowledge of David should not end there. If we know that David was a great king, but do not know what made him great–of what use to us is such knowledge? Or if we know that David wrote the Word of God in the Psalms, but do not know what he wrote–of what use is that to us?
Friends, if you want to increase your knowledge concerning David and hear some of the wonderful and powerful words that he wrote in the Psalms, then we invite you to study this lesson and the next five lessons.
Do you know the name of the prophet of God who preceded the prophet David?
It is the prophet Samuel.
God chose Samuel to turn the people of Israel back to the LORD, their God, because their hearts were very far from God. In this lesson we will read from the book of Samuel. This holy book is important among the Writings of the Prophets, because it contains valuable stories from the life of Samuel and the first three kings of Israel:
As we have seen, God gave the Israelites leaders such as Moses, Joshua and Samuel to guide and judge them. However, the LORD God, who delivered them from their bonds of slavery in Egypt, was their rightful King. God, who commanded them to make a special tent so that He could dwell among them and be their Ruler.
They were to obey and follow Him alone.
However, most of the Israelites were not content to have just the LORD as their King.
They wanted to be like all the nations
of the world and have a son of Adam to reign over them as their king!
The Scripture says: (1 Samuel 8:4-9) “Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, and said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways; now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said,
Give us a king to judge us.
And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee; for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not rule over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee. Now, therefore,
hearken unto their voice;
howbeit, yet protest solemnly unto them, and show them the manner of the king who shall reign over them”
So, God told Samuel to give the people what they wanted and to appoint a king for them. God did not want the Israelites to have another king besides Him, but since they had rejected God’s reign,
In the next chapter, we see how Samuel appointed for the Israelites a man by the name of Saul. The Scripture says:
“Then Samuel took a vial (flask) of oil, and poured it upon his head.” 1 Sam. 10:1)
That is what the Israelites did whenever they appointed someone. They poured oil on the head of the prophet, priest or king to set him apart. After Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head, he said to all the people,
“See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the King” (1 Samuel 10:24)
At first, the Israelites rejoiced greatly in their king, Saul. He was strong and brave, and young and handsome, and taller than all the other children of Israel. By outward appearances, Saul should have been an excellent king. But God does not look on things as man does. Man looks at the outward appearance, but
God looks on the heart.
King Saul started out well, but, in time, he became proud and jealous and self-sufficient. Saul honoured God with his lips, but his heart was far from Him. Saul did not respect and obey the Word of God. He did what he wanted to do
instead of what God wanted him to do.
Some years after Saul was appointed king, “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 … Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning…” (1 Sam. 15:10-12) We do not have time to read everything about how Samuel rebuked Saul, but let us at least read this verse: Samuel said to Saul, “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” (1 Sam. 15:23).
Later, (1 Sam. 16:1-13) “And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go; I will send thee to Jesse, the Bethlehemite; for I have provided me a king among his sons. And Samuel said, How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say,
I am come to sacrifice to the Lord.
And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show thee what thou shalt do; and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee. And Samuel did that which the Lord spoke, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of Israel trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably? And he said, Peaceably; I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord.
and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth as no man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but
the Lord looketh on the heart.
Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this one. Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this one. Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse,
The Lord hath not chosen these.
And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are all thy children here? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he come here. And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and of a beautiful countenance, and handsome. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him; for
this is he.
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day onward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.” Thus we see how God appointed David to be the king of Israel after Saul. But you must understand that David did not become the king of Israel on that day. David was only a youth and the time which God intended for him to reign over the nation of Israel had not yet come. In fact, David would have to wait ten years before he would sit on the throne of Israel.
So David returned to the fields surrounding Bethlehem to tend and guard his father’s flocks.
He feared nothing because he trusted in the LORD. For example, one day, when David was tending his father’s sheep, a lion snatched up one of them. David went after the lion, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When the lion turned on him, David seized it by its hair, struck and killed it. (1 Sam. 17:35)
David was not only an excellent shepherd; he could play the harp and sing too. The Spirit of God inspired David to compose many hymns and to write them in the book of Psalms. Oh, how David loved the Lord God and His Word!
We would like to conclude this lesson with a few excerpts from the Psalms of David. Try to imagine David in the beautiful, green fields, among the sheep,
playing the harp and praising God
with songs and thanksgivings produced by the Spirit of God. Listen: “O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth … when I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained, what is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour … Oh Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (Psa. 8:1,3-5,9)
DAVID: Writer of the Psalms
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and
a light unto my path!
Thy word have I hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against thee!” (Psa. 119:105,11) “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes … More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them is thy servant warned; and in keeping of them there is a great reward” (Psalm 19:7,8,10,11)
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still waters. He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23).
In the next lesson, we plan to continue the story of David and see how God was with him as he faced Goliath, the giant. God bless you as you think about what God told Samuel:
“The LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)
We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have