1 Samuel

David, God's chosen instrument. 16:1-13


From about 1020 to 1000 BC, the people of Israel were ruled by a "king like unto the nations". Saul was the people's king, but not God's king. It was now time for the Lord's servant, David.

The passage

v1. The Lord speaks with Samuel and instructs him to anoint a new king.

v2-5. Samuel is to go to Bethlehem and anoint one of the sons of Jesse. He does so in secret, fearful of king Saul; he even pretends to came to Bethlehem to perform a sacrifice to the Lord. The route from Ramah to Bethlehem passes through Gibeah, Saul's capital. Samuel knows well the vindictive side of Saul's character.

v6-12. When it comes to the anointing, the chosen son is the one least expected. "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." None-the-less, David is described in glowing terms. He compares well with Saul.

v13. "In the presence of his brothers" is literally "from the midst of his brothers." The anointing is done in secret. John Hercus writes that "Jesse had eight sons, some of them quite middle-aged men. But, the youngest was a problem. He was the son of the wife who had previously been married to Nahash.... There was a rift in the family over her and her children. You see, her two daughters by her previous marriage had sons of their own, and these boys were nearly the same age as Jesse's youngest, this number eight .....the problem kid".

Servants of the King

Saul was a failure, but God would still bring in the Kingdom, and to achieve this end he raised up another servant, David. Jesus too was chosen, set apart and equipped to bring in the kingdom, and we also are similarly called, set apart for this special work and equipped with power from on high "to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ."

1. Chosen

David was certainly not the people's choice. He wasn't even Jesse's choice. Yet, he was God's choice. The Lord chose him to lead his people into battle against the enemy, to win the victory and to establish the kingdom in glory. Jesus too was the chosen one, the elect of God. "This is my son , whom I have chosen", Lk.9:35. This quotation describes Jesus as the royal son, the chosen servant of the Lord, cf. Isa.42:1. Jesus was chosen by the Father to be the servant of the Lord, to bring in the new age of the kingdom. This he did, and unlike the ones who went before , he was an obedient servant.

We outcasts, who put our trust in Jesus, become in him those "whom God has chosen", Rom.8:33. We become "the remnant chosen by grace". Rom.11:5. Chosen, predestined "for the praise of his glory", Eph.1:11-12. cf. 1 Pet.2:9. As God's servants we must bring in the dawning age of the kingdom, to "hasten the day". We are set apart as kings to rule, to order the coming kingdom, both here and in eternity, 1Cor.6:1-11.

2. Anointed

Anointing with oil in the Old Testament was a means of consecrating, of setting apart a person or thing to a special purpose for God. Once done, it was accepted that its purpose was irrevocably achieved. Since the anointing of a person was for a special divine purpose, it was inevitably associated with an outpouring of the Spirit - empowered to serve. As David was set apart to serve so too was Jesus. In Lk.4:18-19, cf. Isa.61:1,2. Jesus was the Lords anointed, the servant of the Lord.

In Jesus, we too have an anointing from the Lord, Jn.2:20, 2Cor.1:21-22. We are set apart for a special purpose; we are set apart to serve; we are dedicated to the use of the Lord. Those who are dedicated are also equipped to serve.

3. Filled

"The Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power." The Lord gave David the wherewithal, the equipment to serve. Only in the power that God supplies could David possibly achieve the will of God. Jesus too was empowered for service. The power of the Spirit came upon him at his baptism. That power was present in Jesus to enable him to preach and to heal, Lk.4:14, 5:17, 6:19. In that power he struggled against the Evil One and was victorious, Mk.3:27.

As Jesus was empowered for service so are we - "clothed with power from on high", power to serve. It is only in his power that we can serve, 2Cor.13:4. It is the work of the indwelling Spirit of Jesus to empower believers for their work of ministry. He gives us spiritual abilities useful to perfect and extend the kingdom, and he clothes those gifts with power from on high, cf. Acts.1:8.

As those who are chosen, anointed and equipped for service, let us serve.


1. Saul was a "king like unto the nations". What was wrong with that? Consider the issue of leadership in the church today and apply.

2. If "chosen" by God doesn't mean "singled out for salvation while others are ignored", what does it mean? Apply.

3. For what purpose are we set apart?

4. If "filled" means "equipped for service", describe this equipping.

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