Sunday, October 6, 2013

Samuel Anoints a New King

God had given Saul a huge responsibility. He was to lead Israel as King, and he was to follow God’s orders. But Saul decided not to obey, and now God had decided to reject him as King.

Samuel couldn’t believe it. He had worked so hard to help make Saul a great King, and Saul had failed miserably. This made Samuel very sad, and he grieved for Saul’s behavior and God’s rejection of Saul. God was also very sad about Saul’s disobedience, but it wouldn’t do for Samuel to lose himself in grief. So God gave Samuel a task.

Samuel got word from God, “OK, that’s it. I’ve rejected Saul, and Israel needs to move on. Here’s what I want you to do. Fill your horn with oil and go to Bethlehem. There’s a guy there named Jesse. He has several sons, and I’ve chosen one of them to be King.”

“But Lord,” Samuel said, “if Saul hears about this, he’ll kill me! How do I do it?”

God replied, “Take a cow with you as an offering. Invite Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice, and I’ll show you what to do. I’ll tell you which son to anoint.”

So Samuel obeyed God. When he got to Bethlehem, he invited Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice. Pretty soon, they were standing before an altar. Jesse brought his sons with him, and immediately Samuel saw Eliab, the oldest, and knew this was the man. He was tall and fit. His confidence showed, and Samuel could tell just by looking at him that this guy would make a great King. He was just about to get out his horn to anoint Eliab when God said, “Um, no. This isn’t the one. Don’t look at the way he looks. That’s what man sees, but God looks at the heart. The heart is much more important than how a guy looks.”

So Jesse presented his second son to Samuel. Abinadab also looked like he’d make a great King, but again God said no. So they tried Shammah, the third son. Nope, not him either. Perhaps Nethanel? Nope. How about Raddai? Nope. Ozem? Nope. The other one whose name the Bible doesn’t tell? Nope.

Now Samuel was confused. God had clearly said the new King would be a son of Jesse, but God had just said “no” to all seven of Jesse’s sons!

So he asked Jesse, “Hmm… Is this all your sons?”

“Well,” Jesse replied, “there is still the youngest, but he’s off taking care of the sheep.”

“What are you waiting for?” Samuel said. “Go get him and bring him here!”

So Jesse sent a messenger to go fetch his eighth son. Pretty soon, the messenger came back with a young, healthy shepherd in tow. Depending on how you translate the Hebrew, he either had rosy cheeks or red hair.

So it was that Samuel took out his horn and anointed a shepherd boy named David to be the next King of Israel. It would be several years before David would actually become King, but God started preparing him for the huge task ahead.

Meanwhile, God sent an evil spirit to torment Saul. His servants discovered that harp music helped calm him down, and they suggested that he find someone who played the harp. So Saul ordered that they find a talented harpist to play for him whenever he got in one of his really bad moods. One of his servants said, “I saw a son of Jesse out in the sheep pasture in Bethlehem playing a harp. He’s really good! He’s also a brave warrior, he speaks well, and he looks great! God is with him.”

So Saul sent word to Jesse that he needed help from his son David. Jesse sent David to Saul, and whenever Saul got really grumpy, David would get out his harp, and the King calmed down. So Saul sent word to Jesse that he would like David to stay in the palace and play the harp for him because he really liked how helpful the music was. While David wasn’t playing the harp for the King, Saul assigned David to take care of the armor. Thus, David lived in the palace and started to learn from the King himself. He also met the Prince, and they became best friends. But we’ll learn about that later.

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