DAY ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE : 1 Samuel 16 v. 1 – 17 v. 37; John 15 v. 1 – 16 v. 4; Psalm 67 v. 1 – 7
Samuel Anoints David – God wakes Samuel up to the task of anointing the next king. In a sense God says, ‘Get over it, Samuel. Move on. Let’s get anointing the next one!’. Off to Bethlehem. One of Jesse’s sons is to be king.
Samuel is worried about Saul’s reaction, so God relays a cunning plan, involving a heifer and a sacrifice.
The elders of Bethlehem tremble in the presence of Samuel, hoping he’s come with good news.
Then there’s the parade of the sons! First Eliab – ‘it must be him’ thinks Samuel, seeing his appearance and height.
‘The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’
Abinadab, Shammah, and several others all pass by Samuel, but God has not chosen any of these.
When there’s only the youngest left (and he’s out tending the sheep), Samuel asks to see him.
Enter David, ‘ruddy, with a fine appearance, and handsome features’. God says, ‘He’s the one – anoint him!’
David is anointed, and ‘from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power’.
Love the fact that David is almost overlooked by his family, but is God’s first choice !
Expect the unexpected, and don’t always go for the ‘obvious’. Samuel had learnt to hear the promptings, the voice of God.
Give us ears to hear You, Lord.
David in Saul’s Service – If the Spirit of the Lord has touched David’s life, the same Spirit has left Saul, who is now tormented by a ‘distressing / evil’ spirit which God allows him to suffer at the hands of. His attendants set out to search for a harpist to calm him when these distressing / evil attacks come. They have heard of one of Jesse’s sons who plays the harp - ’a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man, and the Lord is with him’. Sounds good, eh?
So David enters Saul’s service, and Saul ‘liked him very much’, asking Jesse if David can stay with him. ‘Whenever the spirit from God came upon Saul, David would take his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.’
It might sound strange to us that God is credited with sending a distressing / evil spirit – for me, it’s simply appreciating how God has allowed this to happen. Certainly, God removing His Spirit from Saul left the way open for an evil spirit to come in.
David and Goliath – One of the best knows stories of the Bible. The two armies of the Philistines and the Israelites are set up on opposite hillsides, with a valley in between. Enter GOLIATH (from Gath), champion for the Philistines, over nine feet tall, covered in bronze, a mighty warrior – a mighty sight.
Goliath called for the Israelites to send out someone to fight him – the winner would lead his army / nation to rule over the other.
‘Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.’
Then David enters the scene (suggesting that this happens before the events of chapter 16, when David becomes Saul’s harp-player), bringing supplies to his older brothers who are on the battle-field. There had been a forty-day stalemate, with Goliath goading the Israelites every day, but on this day Jesse sends David with grain, bread and cheese for his brothers and their commander in the Elah Valley. When he got there, David had to find his brothers already in the battle line, so he saw the daily ritual of Goliath’s appearance, his defiant shout, and the Israelites running in fear.
David speaks to the fearful Israelites around him, ‘Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?’
To his oldest brother, Eliab, David is acting precociously, and his motives are ‘wicked’ and ‘conceited’; he points out that his little brother should be looking after the sheep.
David stands his ground, and ends up being summoned by Saul; David offers to fight Goliath !!
Saul is flabbergasted, and tells David that, as a young boy, he is no match for the Goliath fighting-machine.
David’s reply is stunning
‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep…I went after lions and bears, striking them and rescuing sheep from their mouths.’
‘The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’
Saul commissions David to ‘Go, and the Lord be with you.’
David uses his experiences of God’s protection as a humble shepherd, as preparation for the greater battle – he has an assurance, a strong faith which has been tested against lions and bears, which is lacking in the Israelite camp. Can we, similarly, see how God has provided and prepared us for greater acts, especially in our experiences at work, home etc., through His faithfulness?
The Vine and the Branches – This is one of my favourite passages of scripture, and verse sixteen is one of my favourite verses, so here goes:
the beautiful picture here is of Jesus as a living vine, and His disciples as the branches, whose purpose is to bear fruit (with seed in it – Genesis!). Father God is the gardener, cutting off fruitless branches and pruning fruitful ones, so that more (and better) fruit may grow.
‘Remain / abide in me, and I will remain / abide in you’.
Branches need the vine to be able to bear fruit…‘apart from me you can do nothing’.
Those who remain in the vine (Jesus) will bear fruit, those who do not will be thrown into the fire. ‘If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given to you…this is to my Father’s glory that your bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples’.
It’s amazing, again, that with the reality of all Jesus is about to endure, He has time to patiently talk with His disciples about love, joy and peace!
‘As the Father has loved me….remain in my love
I have told you this so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete’
‘GREATER LOVE HAS NO-ONE THAN THIS, THAT HE LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS FRIENDS’ (Jesus now calls His disciples ‘friends’, because of all He has revealed to them)
‘YOU DID NOT CHOOSE ME, BUT I CHOSE YOU AND APPOINTED YOU TO GO AND BEAR FRUIT – FRUIT THAT WILL LAST.
THEN THE FATHER WILL GIVE YOU WHATEVER YOU ASK IN MY NAME.’
I love that reminder that we are in this relationship because of God’s initiative – He has chosen, called and appointed us, and our purpose is to be fruitful for Him (the purpose of every living thing in Genesis-creation – be ‘fruitful’) – we are to live fruitful lives for His glory.
There is the promise, underlined by appearing twice in this passage, that those who abide in Christ, who live as chosen, appointed and fruitful Christians, will find their prayers answered daily – the walk and the talk in tandem. Lord, move us closer and closer to this fruitful way of living.
The World Hates the Disciples – Jesus warns the disciples that will be times when persecution and hatred towards them will be fierce - ‘you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you our of the world…that is why the world hates you.’
Jesus’ coming has exposed the sinfulness of others, and therefore He is hated by those who do not know the One who sent Him.
When the Holy Spirit comes ‘whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, He will testify about me…and you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.’
Jesus takes time to tell them about the persecution to come, so that they will remember His warnings, and be encouraged.
‘May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face to shine upon us.
May the peoples praise You, O God..then the land will yield its harvest…
God will bless us and all the ends of the earth will fear Him.’