Today I want to talk about one of my favorite people in scripture. David is often called a man after God’s own heart. But David was not the first King of Israel. That title belonged to a man named Saul, who has his own story. Saul was anointed king over Israel, and the Lord’s spirit was upon him. But to make a long story short, he disobeyed God and the Spirit of the LORD departed from him and that is what brings us to the LORD seeking out another king. Back before David was even on the scene in people’s eyes, Samuel had told King Saul what the LORD would be seeking in a king.
“But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought out a man after his own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be prince over his people because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:14
Saul knew his kingdom was in trouble. He may have pushed it to the back of his mind (my thoughts) but I think those are words he probably couldn’t stop thinking about. Samuel grieved over what had happened with Saul and that he had disobeyed and what the LORD had revealed would happen. Samuel knew that Saul’s kingdom would not last.
“The LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.’” 1 Samuel 16:1
It’s safe to say a little time had passed between God removing his spirit from Saul to when the LORD chose David, or at least chose to reveal David as his next appointed king. Samuel, reluctantly because he was afraid of Saul goes to Bethlehem to sacrifice to the LORD so that he can anoint the next king of Israel. He invites a man named Jesse to the sacrifice as the LORD had instructed and tells him to bring his sons. Now Jesse brought all of his probably grown sons to the sacrifice and Samuel looks on them to pick out the one the LORD has chosen and the LORD keeps saying no, not this one, or that one, or that one. Samuel has to ask Jesse, if these are all of them and Jesse says well there is still the youngest. He doesn’t even call him by name and Samuel says send for him. In walks a very young David. I read that some commentaries say he could have been as young as 10 years old, some say 15. He would have been in that age range anyway.
“And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, ‘Arise, anoint him, for this is he.’ Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.” 1 Samuel 16:12-13
Now in my mind before I really studied the life of David, I believe I just thought that God anointed him king and he became king. But a lot happened between David being anointed King by God through Samuel and David being anointed King by Israel. God chose David as his next King for Israel, but Saul was still sitting on the throne. Funny thing is David was brought into the king’s service and the king loved him at first. Saul was a troubled man, the LORD’s spirit had departed from him and he was in distress. Scripture puts it “a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you.” (v14) David was also a musician so he was brought in to play music for Saul so as to calm his nerves and Saul liked him. But soon, David killed Goliath, the giant Philistine who was tormenting Israel and then Saul started paying more and more attention to David. As did the people of Israel and David gained popularity among them. David became a man of war and he was successful and Saul turned on David. And before too long, David was on the run from Saul. Saul saw David as a threat to his throne and he wanted him out of the picture.
Now we really get to the waiting game for David. You see a whole lot happens with David between him being anointed the next King of Israel by God and being anointed the next King of Israel by the people of Israel. Saul pursued him over and over and David literally hung out in caves and moved from place to place hiding out from Saul. It wasn’t until David was thirty years old that he actually became king. David waited approximately fifteen years from being anointed king to actually becoming king.
“So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign and he reigned forty years.” 2 Samuel 5:3-4
Wow, what a waiting game that must have been for David. David was a writer of many of the Psalms. I wonder how many were penned while he was camping out looking up at the stars. I wonder how many were penned when he was hiding out in caves. Saul even unknowingly came close enough to David a couple of times that David could have killed him and taken him out. But David kept his integrity and he kept his eyes on God and looked to God for direction for his next steps. I am sure there were times David tired of the run. I can’t even imagine. But God found David to be a man after his own heart and that is what David continued to be. He was not a perfect man, God never calls us to be perfect. But he was a man of integrity, who kept relationship with his God even while he waited.