[Lesson 45: Judges & Ruth] [Table of Contents] [Lesson 47: David & Goliath]

Lesson 46

Samuel, Saul, and David

1 Samuel 1-16; Psalms 8,23

Peace be with you, listening friends. We greet you in the name of God, the Lord of peace, who wants everyone to understand and submit to the way of righteousness that He has established, and have true peace with Him forever. We are happy to be able to return today to present your program The Way of Righteousness.

In our last program, 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 forth from the nation of Israel.

Thus 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 hear how God's prophets predicted all these things and then how the Redeemer fulfilled them hundreds of years later. Only God could do such a thing!

The prophet David {Dawud in Arabic} is very prominent in the Holy Scriptures. His name appears more than one thousand times. What do you know about the prophet David? 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 {Zabur}. 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 the prophet David and hear some of the wonderful and powerful words that he wrote in the Psalms, then we invite you to join us for today's study and for 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. Today 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: Saul, David and Solomon.

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 place His glory in their midst, wanted to 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!

In chapter eight of the first book of Samuel, the Scripture says:

(1 Sam. 8) 4So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have." 6But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7And the Lord told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."

Thus, 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, God would not rule over them by force. 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 flask of oil and poured it on Saul's 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, "'Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.' Then the people shouted, 'Long live the king!" (1 Sam. 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 evaluate things as man does. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. King Saul started out well, but, in time, he became proud and jealous and self-sufficient. Saul honored 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.

Thus, the Scripture tells us that some years after Saul was appointed king,

(1 Sam. 15) 10…the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11"I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the Lord all that night. 12Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul…13When Samuel reached him, Saul said, "The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord's instructions."… 22But Samuel replied: "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as obeying the voice of the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king!"

Thus, Samuel told Saul that the kingdom would be taken from him and given to another. In the next chapter, the Scripture says,

(1 Sam. 16) 1The Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king." 2But Samuel said, "How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me." The Lord said, "Take a heifer with you and say, 'I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.' 3Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate." 4Samuel did what the Lord said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, "Do you come in peace?" 5Samuel replied, "Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me." Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, "Surely the Lord's anointed stands here before the Lord." 7But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

8Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, "The Lord has not chosen this one either." 9Jesse then made Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, "Nor has the Lord chosen this one." 10Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, "The Lord has not chosen these." 11So he asked Jesse, "Are these all the sons you have?" "There is still the youngest," Jesse answered, "but he is tending the sheep." Samuel said, "Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives." 12So he sent and had him brought in. He was ruddy, with a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the Lord said, "Rise and anoint him; he is the one." 13So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.

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 ordained 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. David was a good and faithful shepherd. 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 {Zabur}. Oh, how David loved the Lord God and His Word!

We would like to conclude today's program with a few excerpts from the Psalms of David. Try to imagine David in the lush 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 majestic is your name in all the earth!…When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowed him with glory and honor.…O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!" (Psa. 8:1,3-5,9)

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path! I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you!" (Psa. 119:105,11) "The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul! The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple! The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes! They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb! By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward!" (Psa. 19:7,8,10,11)

"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside quiet waters; he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!" (Psa. 23) Amen!

Friends, thank you for listening. 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 does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7)