Day 10

Samuel Anoints David

from the 1 & 2 Samuel reading plan

1 Samuel 15:1-35, 1 Samuel 16:1-23, Ruth 4:18-22, Luke 6:45

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: 1 Samuel 15:1-35, 1 Samuel 16:1-23, Ruth 4:18-22, Luke 6:45

About the time my future groom and I started looking at rings, a story circulated through my college dorm that put many of us hopeful brides-to-be on high alert. Whether true or simply an urban legend, I can’t say. But long after my now-husband popped the question, the story has stuck with me. It goes like this…

A handsome young man decided to propose to a beautiful girl. He told her that since they were poor college kids, he could not afford much of a ring. He proposed with a small cubic zirconia, a manufactured replacement for a real diamond. But secretly, he purchased a beautiful, expensive, whopper of a diamond and planned to have it put in the setting for their wedding day. But when the blushing bride-to-be discovered her ring was a fake, she demanded the real thing. The groom was so turned off by her shallow behavior that he broke off the engagement. Only then did the girl learn that he’d planned all along to take her breath away with a real diamond.

In 1 Samuel, we find a similar tale of fake worth and diamonds in the rough. Saul had been anointed as the first king of Israel. He seemed to have it all, but it didn’t take long for his façade to crack. Saul was deeply flawed. His dependence on the Lord turned out to be counterfeit, and in 1 Samuel 15, the Lord rejected Saul as king of Israel.

Israel’s prophet, Samuel, was grieved by Saul’s failings. I imagine he might have felt like that bride-to-be, who thought her boyfriend had bought her a diamond only to discover she’d been given a chunk of glass. But God was like the groom with something better tucked away. Despite Israel’s long history of doubting God, He planned to replace Saul with a king so good he’d become the measuring stick for all other kings to come.

At the Lord’s prompting, Samuel went to the house of Jesse looking for a new king. Jesse had  eight sons and he paraded all but the youngest in front of Samuel. Each time, the Lord said “no.” Samuel was baffled by God’s rejection of such strong, capable men. God’s explanation put a magnifying glass over Samuel’s heart.

But the Lᴏʀᴅ said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lᴏʀᴅ sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lᴏʀᴅ sees the heart.’”
– 1 Samuel 16:7

David didn’t look like a king. His father thought so little of him that he didn’t even bring him in from the field. But God chose him. Beneath an unimpressive exterior, God saw treasures in David’s heart.

We can’t polish ourselves pretty enough to create our own worth. But God mines for value in each of our hearts.


Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

Post Comments (75)

75 thoughts on "Samuel Anoints David"

  1. Sarah Buchanan says:

    As a first year teacher I sit at my desk completely overwhelmed by the thought of students walking through my door tomorrow. “I am inadequate, they’ll see right through me, I am not who the school should have hired!,” are thoughts that circle through my head. But, God showed up this morning using his word to steady this shaky heart. Humans, including ourselves, cannot see what He sees. He placed me here, just like David, He sees something in me.

    1. Kristen says:

      I am also a teacher. I remember my first year. I was hired the night before school! I remember lying in bed after coming home around 10 at night and thinking that I didn’t even know what I was teaching tomorrow! That ended up being a great year! God gave me a feeling that something may happen on the field trip we took on that morning while I was getting ready. Don’t you know I had to ride in the ambulance with my student. I had no purse with me or a ride back, but my principal came to get me and wrote about how well the situation was handled. Give everything to God! He will give you wisdom and can give you favor!!! I have been teaching for many years now, but just this morning I was asking God for wisdom about a purchase to use with the students. Be teachable, because none of us know everything! May God guide us as we teach and give us favor and wisdom, protection, and energy this year in Jesus’ Name, Amen!

      1. Kristen says:

        Also, I complete the First 5 study from Proverbs 31 ministry. We are studying Job. You may want to check it out! Today, the lesson focused on the fact that God had all the answers and solutions we need. We should seek Him first.

    2. Emily B. says:

      I’ve been where you are, and I remember how easy it is to feel overwhelmed. But you are going to be great–you’ve got the Spirit of Almighty God in you! You have a purpose for being right where you are, and I know God will use you. :)

    3. Laura says:

      Hi Sarah, I began teaching last January, but I am technically considered a first year teacher this year as well! There have been so many ways in which God has affirmed that He has gone before me in teaching, and He has prepared places for me. Keep trusting Him and leaning on Him. I did a ton of professional reading this summer, and the heart of every book I read was to build relationships with students. I think it is beautiful that the “best-practice teaching” is in line with the gospel–just love kids! A fellow SRTer last spring encouraged me to spend time praying over my classroom and praying for kids during planning time, and I am excited to grow in that practice more and more this year. Congrats on getting a job and beginning this wonderful career!

    4. Karen From Virginia says:

      Praying the Lord meets you. Fully. Lean on Him. Focus on the one the Lord has given you. The first year is the hardest. Praying you’re surrounded by good support and God’s strength and peace

  2. Katalina says:

    My mother constantly recites 1 Samuel 6:7 to me. The heart is probably the most important thing that the Lord looks for in His people. He wants our hearts to be a reflection of what He is to us, even in times of struggle and hardship. There could be a lot of physical damage and maybe some emotional hurt but if our hearts are the ones that are starting to change and become poisonous, that’s when our lives are taking a turn for the worse. Lord, I pray that you constantly guard our hearts and protect them from any damage that can cause a change in which our lives can drastically become something we won’t be able to handle. Even in the midst of difficult times, please keep our hearts safe from poison so we can maintain a heart that will glorify You ❤️

  3. JessMC says:

    I’m struggling to understand chapter 16:14, “Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and an evil spirit sent from the Lord began to torment him.”

    I guess I have never thought about the Lord sending an evil spirit. I think about Job and how the Lord allowed Satan to persecute Job but this specifically says “an evil spirit sent from the Lord began to torment him.”

    It’s a struggle to think about the Lord sending an evil spirit upon someone. If anyone has any thoughts and wisdom to share, I would love that!

    1. Kathy says:

      The Lord is pure goodness. He turns his eyes on our sin and allows us to do as we choose. When we are not walking in the Spirit we are prone to be filled with all the world has to offer evil spirits included. Reading in context I feel that he allowed Saul to be tormented to fulfill his ultimate purpose the anointing of a new King. Though he was tormented by this spirit allowed by God when David was playing for him he was soothed. We do suffer the consequences of our choices but God knows our heart and forgives and allows us back in fellowship if we ask. I do not read where Saul asked for forgiveness. Saul said, ” I have sinned. Please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel. Come back with me, so I can bow in worship to the Lord your God.” 1 Samuel 15:30. The Lord treasures obedience above all worship Luke 6:45

    2. Rachel Smart-Gargasz says:

      I too struggled with these verses. The one thing that did come to me is that because Saul had this evil spirit he had to have the lyre played for him to calm him – que David who played the lyre well and was summoned to the home of the current king! When David played it brought Saul peace. This was Gods plan to bring David into proximity and into the plan – next stop … slay a giant. Hope this helped a little. I too want to hear from others on this.

      1. JessMC says:

        Thank you for this! I hadn’t made the connection that God used the evil spirit to connect David and Saul. I read the passage but didn’t really comprehend the whole passage because I was stuck on “the Lord sent.”

    3. churchmouse says:

      Could it be that God is just permitting Saul to be tormented by his guilt? Perhaps He is allowing Saul to feel the brunt of the guilt that comes with sin. Surely God could restrain that type of spirit but He lets it loose because it is a consequence of Saul’s sin. Just a thought.

    4. CJ says:

      I would love to have some additional commentary on this too. It says “sent from the Lord” not “allowed” or “permissed” or anything else. This seems contradictory to our Lord.

      1. Taylor H says:

        I love all of these questions because they make us dive so deep into the heart of God. My husband and I were discussing this question this morning as he’s doing the He Reads version with me. He had just finished a commentary on 1 and 2 Samuel and said scholars explain ‘from the Lord’ to have a similar meaning to God’s permission or judgment, essentially stating that God removed the Spirit and offered Saul to Satan. A few of the commentaries interpret it that way but it varies based on how the original Hebrew is translated.

        When you think about it, it sounds harsh but without Jesus it’s what we as sinful creation deserve. I heard it stated in a sermon once that we shouldn’t desire what’s just and fair because what’s just and fair for us is what happened to Jesus. What we should desire and be grateful for is the costly grace which we received through The One who bore it all.

    5. JessMC says:

      Thank you all for the insight. I’ve thought about this through the day and talked through it with my husband tonight.

      It’s uncomfortable to think about the Lord sending an evil spirit just like it’s uncomfortable thinking about the passage in Romans 9 when it talks about God hardening Pharaoh’s heart. God is good and He is also just. God is creator and ruler of all. Ruler of and over evil spirits? YES. He can and does use whatever and whomever He needs to accomplish His ultimate plan. It may seem uncomfortable but I’m uncomfortable because I have a finite perspective. His ways are pure and the evil spirit brought David to Saul, which then allowed for God’s purposes to be done in both.

  4. Kathy says:

    “Humans do not see what the Lord sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.” Such timely words! My high school kiddos come back today – SCHOOL IS STARTING!
    Papa God, I pray for Your heart, for Your eyes, and for Your ears. Help me to see their hearts. Help me to love them when they are not so lovable. Help me to go beyond their prickliness, just as Tina did with the young woman she served food to. Remind me every day that they are Your children and that I have been called by you to be light in the darkness.
    Be blessed, sisters.

    1. Laura says:

      Praying for you, Kathy! I’ll be starting with 6th graders next week, and I have the same prayer. Praying that we will be able to see the ways God has uniquely designed each of our students, and the way each of them tells us more about who God is. Thank you for being a loving adult in kids’ lives!

  5. churchmouse says:

    There was just something about that youngest son of Jesse. Oh he was smelly – he hung out with the sheep after all. He had “beautiful eyes and a healthy, handsome appearance” going for him. But where was that going to get him when he was just a shepherd boy? Who would have ever guessed that one day when the prophet Samuel came to visit David, the last of Jesse’s sons, that he would be called from the sheep fold and anointed?! David, with head a bit oily, goes back about his business of tending Jesse’s flock-with one distinctive difference : he now had the Spirit of the Lord upon him. And folks start to notice! King Saul is a hot mess of a king, tormented. He needs a calming influence. Enter a young man in the court who describes this sin of Jesse, David – he’s no longer the young shepherder but “a valiant man, a warrior, eloquent, handsome, and the Lord is with him.” Oh and he can play soothing melodies on the lyre. Who would have thought the shepherd boy would find himself in the king’s court? God works in mysterious and astounding ways to accomplish His purpose. He also often times works quietly and over a long period of time. Changes are happening though we are not always fully aware. How kind of God, lest we become overwhelmed of the enormity of the task and we run, or procrastinate, or deny. God just does His thing through some unlikely people. He looks beyond the superficial and looks in the heart. Oh sisters, do not think that in the everyday mediocrity of life that God is not working or that He doesn’t see and value what you are doing! He sees the runny nose you wipe, the house you clean, the errands you run, the papers you correct , the deadline due, the late hours you keep, the values you are trying to instill. the tears you shed, the prayers you cry, the discipling of your littles…and the dreams you think are long gone. He sees. You are never invisible or forgotten by Him. You are doing kingdom work. He has placed you there for His purpose. Who knows? You may be raising a shepherd. You may be raising a king. But there are rewards for those whose calling is just to do the raising. Just to be faithful in the seemingly small. Do not think you have not been anointed too. You are. Your King sees and He loves what you’re doing, tissue in your hand towards a small upturned face. A shepherd? A king? God knows. You’re doing holy work. Yes. You. Are.

    1. NanaP says:

      Thank you, churchmouse. Thank you for these words today. Prayers for you … for a blessed day!

    2. Amber Lucht says:

      I always appreciate your comments Churchmouse. Thanks for sharing today and everyday.

    3. funkybodunky says:

      “Just to be faithful in the seemingly small.” Thank you for that reminder, churchmouse! :)

    4. Donna says:

      Thanks for the “push” to remember to pray for our daughter and family who now have added 3 foster children to their 3!!!! God is good!!!

    5. GramsieSue says:

      So true, Churchmouse. The raising of our children is a holy calling. And yes, it’s tiring. It’s crazy. And some days you just want to give up. They claim your time, your energy, your attention, your heart. They argue with you. They disobey you. They make you crazy. I had the most stubborn, head-strong boy…he would argue just to argue. My girls were so easy, but oh my word! This boy pushed all my buttons. And when he was quite young an older lady at my church told me that God had created him with that strong will for a reason. My job was to pray that his strong will and stubbornness would be channeled into God’s will. And you can bet I spent many hours on my knees! And today, he is a youth pastor…and stubbornly devoted to teaching teens how to live lives following Christ. I never saw this coming. But ladies, none of us know what our children will become. Shepherd, king, youth pastor…it’s in God’s hands. And we are in His hands as well, doing what He has called us to do.

  6. Lesley says:

    I have a couple of questions about this passage. It says in ch15 v11 and 35 that God was sorry he made Saul king. Surely God must have known from the start how it would turn out?
    Also when Saul acknowledges his sin and asks for forgiveness, why is the kingdom still taken away from him? David wasn’t a perfect king either but God forgave him when he asked.

    1. Bobbie says:

      A couple of thoughts: this is not the first time in scripture that it is written that God regrets something. In Genesis, he regretted making man and wiped out nearly all of humanity, except Noah and his family.
      I believe God does know how things will turn out just like he knew Adam and Eve would sin and made a way for salvation prophesied about in Genesis 3.
      God makes the way, gives the opportunity but we all have a free will to do right or wrong. Saul as king was a lesson to the people…here’s your human king…you rejected the perfect King of kings.
      Now about Saul’s acknowledging his sin and asking forgiveness. Look at his history, he uses religion and sacrifice to justify his disobedience. I think he acknowledges his sin…but God knows his heart. He may not have been repentant and was unwilling to turn away from his prideful, deceitful ways in his heart.
      That fact will play out as we continue our reading in coming days.

    2. April says:

      In addition to what Bobbie said below, which makes sense to me, I sometimes think that even though God did know what would happen, it still hurts him when it comes to pass… Maybe sometimes the regret is equal to hurt and pain that it “had to be so” even if it is all part of His plan? Good questions, thank you for going deeper.

    3. In addition to what others have said, repentance & forgiveness doesn’t always take away the consequences of sin. In heaven yes, but not always on earth.

    4. JessMC says:

      Thank you for asking this question. I was dwelling on it this morning as well and so appreciated reading the responses.
      In thinking about Saul’s consequences for not obeying the Lord’s command, on Sunday our pastor talked about the fear of the Lord being displayed by obedience. In light of that, I see how Saul’s lack of obedience showed his dependence on himself and his lack of fear and reverence before the Lord. I feel the Lord carried out strict consequences because though Saul asked for forgiveness he lacked the fear of the Lord.

      1. Viny says:

        In verse 24 Saul said that he was afraid of the men so he gave in to them. That’s one indication that Saul fears what others think of him more than what God thinks of him.

    5. Taylor H. says:

      My first thought when I read this was to go back and look at the original hebrew word used, nacham. While we may translate it to ‘regret’ it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how it was intended to be read, as many hebrew words have varied semantic applications. It’s more often translated as ‘repent’ and it’s a form of repentance that’s generally only used in the bible when referring to God. It also has a great deal more to do with the emotion of God, grieving for what had to happen rather than regretting the act itself.

      In regard to David vs. Saul. I think a great deal has to do with their hearts. I try and put everything in the context of the gospel. Time and time again Saul proved that he really didn’t have a heart for God, he was only sorry when he was punished. David on the other hand deeply loved God and his repentance was real. Much of God’s forgiveness and love toward David seems to serve as a foreshadowing of the redemption that is to come, through his bloodline no less. Whereas Saul serves as a reminder of what happens to us when we our hearts remain unchanged.

      1. Tochi Heredia says:

        Lesley, thank you for asking this, I was confused as well.

        Taylor, thank you for sharing your insight, too. I was comparing different Bible versions and all of them (both English and Spanish) had some version of the word “regret”. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of the original Hebrew text.

        Also, this verses came to mind: “What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! For he tells Moses, I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then, it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy.” –Romans 9:14-16
        How great is that we can trust on the One who is perfectly compassionate and sovereign!

      2. Kristen says:

        I searched this to try to understand too. I read that it isn’t translated to mean that God “regrets or repents” like we do. It is different for Him, but he grieves the choices the people make.

        1. Kristen says:

          If you search the verses and ask what does Samuel 15:10 mean, you will see the commentaries. The Blue Letter Bible one is good. Basically saying God is good and unchangeable and most wise! He doesn’t repent like man, but grieves the choices and how He alters the way he deals with that person.

    6. Ashley says:

      Thank you for this question! I was thinking about the same myself

    7. Laura says:

      Thank you to all of you for your thoughts on this question! Great insight :)

    8. Lesley says:

      Thank you all for taking the time to answer and share your insights. Your comments are really helpful- and I’m glad it’s not just me who was wondering about some of these things! I love that we can do this together and learn from one another.

  7. Jen Gladwell says:

    Reading this today I am struck that Samuel , a prophet and holy man of God didn’t see who God was choosing in David – I would have thought he would have been able to make the right call but even he can’t see exactly what God is doing!

    1. Amy says:

      I had this same thought; however, when I consider who God selected the first time in Saul and his characteristics, I wonder if Samuel had some pre-disposed ideas in his mind about what the king should look like. I also have to wonder if Samuel, who had dealt with Saul all this time, was a bit tired of Saul’s behaviors and had some of his own ideas of what would work. ;) Kind of like an employer who makes a bad hiring decision and wants to try something different the next time. What a patient man Samuel must have been!

  8. Tina says:

    Humans do not see what the Lᴏʀᴅ sees, for humans see what is visible, but the Lᴏʀᴅ sees the heart.’”

    Ain’t that the truth!

    My family moved to a quaint country town a thousand years ago now… but I remember the feeling of ‘I’ve arrived…I’ve made it Ma, top of the world…’
    I also remember, walking on the other side of the road, in some instances, going the long way round to avoid the down and outs of the town…
    Ashamed to say, I thought I was something I was not… I was better! Ugh, I hate that person that I was…

    But God…

    He awakened in me the person He knew me to be and could be… He marched me into a church, allowed me to settle in, found me a job….wait for it ….. cooking for the homeless, the disadvantaged in our community … What a sense of humour God has…
    Seriously though, thankful everyday for the reminder that these human beings just like me, are my brothers and sisters… joint heirs through Christ Jesus… but for their circumstances and life, (some their own choices) has brought them to a place of not enough or lack of…
    I do not judge, I learnt my lesson…
    I had been there 6/7years when this young demanding, rude, ‘you owe me’ attitude young woman came in… over time I began to dread and feel an angst when she came in to the point, where I would ask my colleague to serve her… until one day I was convicted by something I read here at SRT.. I prayed on it as I went to work and kept inviting God to be close… As the young woman approached the counter, I looked her in the eye ( something I could not bring myself to do) and said morning… she responded with a grunt…
    Okay Lord, I did my bit, I thought… then she came back and asked for seconds, a first, as she always demanded… I looked up to the heavens… I really did and asked in my heart… Lord, is this you? I gave her more… she said thank you…I smiled…
    Some time later, I met her coming out of the ladies.. she called me by name and said how lovely the meal was, and thank you…!!!
    A couple of weeks later I was out of the kitchen when she came in, she approached me arms out, saying ‘ there she is, my very good friend…’ you can imagine, I had tears…
    My point … I judged my friend because of 1) her appearance, 2)her attitude, but here’s the thing… God knew her heart, He knew her story, He knew her, every inch of her.. her heart hurt, her heart was in trouble, confused…
    But God, He knew there was a diamond heart hidden in that hardened outer exterior… she felt the need to protect it..
    Amazing her transformation.. I saw her recently, and I smiled from the tips of my toes to the top of my head I smiled…she looked amazing to the point I had to look twice!!
    Absolutely, what is on the outside half the time does not reflect what is on the inside..
    Love one another as I have loved you… lesson learned Jesus… Thank you Savior, thank you… Amen.

    Sending love wrapped hugs filled with gratitude for the time shared with you all… every blessing SIsters…xxxxx

    1. Bobbie says:

      Oh Tina, thank you for this beautiful story and for sharing it .

    2. You are such a blessing to this community.

    3. GramsieSue says:

      Beautiful story, Tina! Thank you for blessing us with it today. ❤️

    4. CJ says:

      Tina – I absolutely cannot wait to meet you in Heaven! (unless we happenstance meet before then). The Lord flows out of you!

    5. Lana says:

      What a lovely reminder ❤️

    6. Jenny says:

      Your story moved me to tears! How beautiful and such a great reminder to us all!

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