The last time I took up our study in 1 Samuel, we witnessed the wretched demise of Saul. God had specifically called him to lead Israel against a long time enemy, but he acted with rebellion against God’s explicit instructions, what the Bible referred to as the “sin of witchcraft/idolatry” (15:23)
As a result Saul’s disobedience, God removed him from being king over Israel. As we will come to see, the Spirit of the Lord departs from Saul. He no longer had that special, theocratic anointing that provided him the ability to lead. Moreover, the Word of the Lord departs from Saul, meaning he no longer has any direct communication from God. This is seen with Samuel separating himself from Saul an no longer available to him as a mouthpiece for the LORD.
As Saul finishes out His life, he is alone and grows suspicious and bitter as he is given over to his sin.
Saul was originally the selection of the people. David, however, is God’s selection. Saul was a man after his own heart, where as David is a man after God’s heart.
Coming to chapter 16 we are introduced to David, the son of Jesse. 1 Samuel 16 records David’s calling and anointing to be king and can be broken down into three sections:
I. The Prophet’s Mission – 16:1-5
After Saul’s removal as king, Samuel mourns for him in grief. God reminds him that He had removed Saul from being king and tells Samuel to move on, to put the past behind him. God had provided Himself a king from among the sons of Jesse and Samuel is to rise up and anoint that one son.
Samuel, however, rightfully objects by pointing out how Saul could kill him. God tells Samuel to take a heifer for a sacrifice and call Jesse’s family to join in the sacrifice, thus keeping his intentions discreet.
II. The Presence of Jesse 16:6-13
After inviting Jesse and his family to the feast, Samuel made known his intentions of anointing a new king, because Jesse begins pointing out his sons and their so-called regal appearance. But as 16:7 states so clearly, God does not look on the outward appearance of a man, but upon a man’s heart. Even though all of Jesse’s sons march in front of Samuel, it was clear the LORD hadn’t chosen any of them.
His remaining son, however, was not present–David.
Interestingly, whereas Saul was a man of great stature, David is described as the youngest and smallest, and whereas Saul was unable to locate his father’s lost livestock, David was faithfully tending the sheep.
David is eventually found and summed to the feast where God tells Samuel that he is the one He will anoint to be king. When Samuel anoints David, the spirit of the LORD comes in power upon David. He was experiencing a theocratic anointing to lead the people. That anointing is affirmed publicly by the people of Israel in the next chapter when David defeats Goliath.
III. The Providence of God – 16:14-23
The reader will notice the next verse, 16:14, where we are told the spirit departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from God troubled him. It is the record of the spirit leaving him and indicating that Saul no longer had the spiritual, theocratic anointing from God to lead Israel. That had all be transferred to David.
Upon recognizing Saul’s spiritual malady, a worship leader of sorts is located to play calming music for the king. One of the king’s servants just so happened to know that David was skilled in playing music, so he is summed to join Saul at the court so that he could play for the king.
So God not only anointed David as the next king, He providentially provided an opening for him in the king’s court, readying him to be the next king of Israel.