1 Samuel 16 - 18
As a natural flow of narrative following the disqualification of Saul, God then points Samuel in the direction of the new soon-to-be king of Israel. Saul himself demonstrates the reality that outward appearance, external circumstances, or even good intentions are not what God requires of a good king. Samuel is tasked to find a man after the Lord's own heart. In his visit to Jesse’s family, the least expected candidate is chosen to be anointed (note: David isn’t even in the house when Samuel is discerning God’s chosen, as Jesse assumed that surely it was not his youngest son). While a comment is made on his physical appearance, David is anointed simply because the LORD chose him (16:12). From that moment forward, the Spirit of the Lord rushes upon David to equip him for God’s work.
The well-known story between David and Goliath further demonstrates the power of obedient faith and God's favor. When challenged by Goliath and the Philistines, it is Saul who is obligated to serve as the nation’s champion. Instead, he cowers and is greatly dismayed (17:11). Saul continues to show his lack of faith by being swayed by daunting appearances and circumstances. When David inquires of the challenge, only courage and faith are exuded from his words and actions. For David, Goliath’s challenge was not a matter of military strategy or even physical strength, but of a spiritual nature. Three times David refers to Goliath’s threat not as a challenge towards his people, but to the living God (v. 26, 36, 45). And when considering a threat to the covenant God of Israel, David has full assurance that victory is on his side.
Following Goliath’s defeat, David grows stronger in his victory and influence as a leader in Israel. So much so that Saul grows jealous and angry towards David’s success. Despite numerous attempts to thwart David’s upward trajectory, Saul is faced with the inevitable judgment that his reign is coming to a close. This theme of juxtaposing diligent faith with wavering disbelief since the beginning of the book will continue on through its close- Hannah and Eli, Samuel and Eli, Jonathan and Saul, and now David and Saul.
On the precipice of his father’s extreme jealousy, the author of 1 Samuel begins chapter 18 with a beautiful display of covenantal love. Jonathan and David’s friendship is described as souls being knit together, loving the other as his own soul, and a stripping of one’s possessions and status in service to the other. With his seat on the throne threatened, Jonathan had all the reason and more that Saul did to be jealous of David. Instead, we see a counter intuitive movement of grace and sacrifice towards David that epitomizes the definition of friendship. In what ways do we see Christ’s love for us as this kind of movement? How is the Lord convicting you today to convey that love onto others?
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
- Rev. Nameun Cho
This blog is part of the ministry of City Reformed Presbyterian Church. Unless otherwise noted, the entries are written by Matt Koerber. This is part of a project that our church is doing as we read through the narrative sections of Scripture between early January and Easter 2020. New entries will be scheduled to drop automatically at 5:00 am on the scheduled day.