The Rise of David

Today's Bible reading: 1 Samuel 16

The short reign of King Saul is really only the overture to David's rise to fame and to the throne.  As with other important Old Testament figures, it’s easy for us to romanticize … to turn David into nothing more than an heroic figure.  Thus, it is necessary to note 1 Samuel 16.  Samuel naturally looks at the strong, older sons of Jessie the Bethlehemite as candidates for the throne, once it’s apparent that God has rejected Saul.  But God directs him to anoint the youngest son – the shepherd boy.  Certainly, David is an attractive young guy … but the important thing is that only God can see into his heartonly God can see what He will make of this young man.

There's fine drama in the story of David that enfolds.  The young future king becomes court musician. But his success against the giant Philistine, Goliath - in God’s name and by His power - only increases the depression and jealousy of Saul.  As Saul carries out his personal persecution of David, another underlying story is developed: the friendship of David and Saul's son, Jonathan.  We know that the Lord is always with David to protect him as the future king.  But we should also note David's refusal to take things into his own hands.  He does not seek to gain the throne to fulfill a personal ambition.  He does not kill Saul when he has the chance on more than one occasion.  After all, Saul is still “the Lord's anointed.”

In David's rise to power, we certainly find a lot of human interest.  By no means is David a lily-white saint in these early years.  At times he shows himself to be a pretty wily individual … playing a clever political game as the leader of a rebel army … even going over to the hated Philistines for a while.  Yet he feels only sorrow - without glee - over the death of Saul.

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that you do not judge by appearances but have promised us that there is "no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ."  Amen.