Saul’s disrespect for God will soon cost him the crown—it’s time to anoint Israel’s next king. God tells Samuel that Israel’s next leader is a son of Jesse from Bethlehem. Samuel holds a sacrifice in Bethlehem and asks Jesse to show him his sons. God rejects seven of Jesse’s strapping oldest sons, and chooses the youngest, David, a shepherd. Samuel anoints him as king.
David ends up in the king’s court, but just to play the harp and soothe Saul’s troubled soul when dark spiritual moods suddenly start to plague him.
In a battle with the Philistines, Goliath, a beast of a man nearly ten feet tall, is taunting God’s army. While bringing food for his brothers at the front, David hears the giant challenging the Israelites. With Saul’s blessing, David confronts the man-beast in the name of the God of Israel and kills him by slinging a stone into his forehead.
Seeing David’s power, Saul soon makes David an army commander. God causes David to be victorious in every battle. Jealous, Saul seeks to kill David, but two of Saul’s children—his son Jonathan and daughter Michal—protect God’s future king.
The King’s Heart
“People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
God knit us in our mother’s wombs. He chose every feature of our faces and stature: freckles, no freckles; tall, not tall. As our Creator, God knows firsthand that what we look like isn’t a measure of who we are. Our appearance is lovingly assigned—by him. We have nothing to do with it.
In God’s eyes, it’s a person’s heart—their character, integrity—that’s a true soul measure. A person’s heart shows what they’re after, what they value and consider important.
God looks at a person’s heart because he’s asking, “Do you cherish the good, like me?” A heart of integrity shows that a person agrees with God’s high view of truth. A heart that leaks kindness and love agrees with God’s high value of people.
God looks at the heart because he is looking for kindred spirits, heart-friends: people who out of all of the choices in this world have chosen to love the good, true and beautiful—which are actually attributes of him. People who, by choice, value the Lord—that’s what he has always longed for.
David was a tender warrior—an accomplished harpist and a decorated fighter. David would also go on to pen many psalms. As he played for Saul, perhaps he sang early forms of some of the psalms we now find in the Bible—declaring God’s goodness and love. Whatever David played was powerful: It chased the dark spirit away.