Introduction: As a result of his many sins, God revoked Saul’s right to be king. In 1 Samuel 16, God anointed David to be Israel’s next king. From the process involving the selection of David and his service to Saul, God reveals seven lessons for being a leader for Him. These include: (1) trust; (2) faith; (3) integrity; (4) being Spirit-led; (5) submission; (6) service; and (7) worship.
First, Samuel felt sorrow at Saul’s failure because he felt responsible for his spiritual development. God encouraged Samuel that He had a plan for a new king. From this, God reveals that He wants you to trust that He is in control, even in times of sorrow. Second, Samuel feared for his safety in going to anoint a new king. God responded by providing a way to protect him. From this, God reveals that He wants you to have faith that where He guides He provides. Third, God told Samuel not to choose the oldest or tallest of Jesse’s sons. God directed him to select the youngest and smallest son in the family. God reveals that He focuses on what is in a person’s heart, not their exterior or their societal status. From this, He reveals that He wants you to be a person of integrity by focusing on developing your heart for Him, not your flesh. Fourth, God anointed David with the Holy Spirit to lead Him in all that he did. From this, God reveals that He also wants you to be led by the Spirit in all that you do. Fifth, Saul lost God’s hedge of protection from the Holy Spirit because he failed to submit to God. From this, God reveals that you must submit to Him and obey Him to enjoy His hedge of protection. Sixth, to prepare David, God sent him to serve as a humble servant in Saul’s court. From this, God reveals that He wants you to serve Him by humbly serving others. Finally, as Saul’s servant, David ministered to him in his torment from evil spirits through worship music. From this, God reveals that He wants you to worship Him in gratitude and lead others in worship as well.
God’s encouragement to Samuel and His directive to appoint Israel’s next king. Samuel may have believed that he was responsible for Saul’s spiritual development. If so, he would have felt failure over Saul’s failure in the same way that he must have felt responsible for his sons’ failures as judges (1 Sam. 8:3). Thus, he grieved over Saul’s failure. Yet, God encouraged him that He was in control and already had a replacement king. “1 Now 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 selected a king for Myself among his sons.’” (1 Sam. 16:1). Samuel should not have lamented over Saul’s loss of his kingship. God had changed Saul’s heart to make him an effective king (1 Sam. 10:9). Yet, because he did not have a heart for the things of God, he returned to worldly pursuits like power and prestige amongst mankind. Thus, God had already told Samuel that He had already selected a replacement king with a heart for the things of God. “The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.” (1 Sam. 13:14(b)). As a man of God, Samuel also had to know that the kingship in Israel would never run through the line of Benjamin and Saul. Through Jacob / Israel, God foretold that the kingship would run through the line of Judah. Jacob / Israel prophesied that the country’s future “ruler’s scepter” belonged to the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10; Nu. 24:17; Ps. 60:7; 108:8). A scepter was a symbol of a king (Ps. 45:6; Amos 1:5, 8). David was a descendant of the tribe of Judah and inherited the role of the ruler’s scepter. Jesus later fulfilled this prophecy. He became the King of Kings and was later called the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah.” (Rev. 5:5). Balaam also prophesied that Israel would have a king. “A star shall come forth from Jacob, a scepter shall rise from Israel.” (Nu. 24:17(b)). The lesson is that we must trust that God is in control and has a plan even if we fail.
Persevere for God when you face a setback or defeat. Like Samuel, Joshua also felt defeated after Moses died. Yet, just as He did with Samuel, God also encouraged Joshua to carry on and trust in Him to lead His people into the Promised Land: “2 ‘Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.’” (Josh. 1:2). Your faith in Jesus should also cause you to run the race and preserve in all your challenges: “Therefore, . . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith . . .” (Heb. 12:1-2). “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14). “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” (2 Tim. 4:7). The kind of perseverance is spiritual and not physical: “for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Tim. 4:8). Are you searching the Word and praying when you are sad or feeling defeated? Has a failure or a setback caused you to give up?
God’s plan was previously laid through Ruth and Boaz and Jesse. God sent Samuel to the house of Jesse in Bethlehem (1 Sam. 16:1). Jesse came from the line of the humble Moabite woman named Ruth who married Boaz: “16 Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. 17 The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, ‘A son has been born to Naomi!’ So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David. 18 Now these are the generations of Perez: to Perez was born Hezron, 19 and to Hezron was born Ram, and to Ram, Amminadab, 20 and to Amminadab was born Nahshon, and to Nahshon, Salmon, 21 and to Salmon was born Boaz, and to Boaz, Obed, 22 and to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David.” (Ruth 4:16-22). Jesus later became a descendant through the lineage of David. “Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,” (Lk. 2:4; Jo. 7:42). He brought redemption to all of mankind as the King of Kings (Rev. 19:16). Again, trust God that He is in control.
God’s promise to protect Samuel while anointing Israel’s next king. Samuel feared that Saul would kill him for consecrating a new king. Yet, God promised to protect him while following His directives: “2 But Samuel said, ‘How can I go? When Saul hears of it, he will kill me.’ And the Lord said, ‘Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 You shall invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for Me the one whom I designate to you.’ 4 So Samuel did what the Lord said, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the city came trembling to meet him and said, ‘Do you come in peace?’ 5 He said, ‘In peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.’ He also consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.” (1 Sam. 16:2-5). Had Saul known what Samuel was doing, it would have been considered an act of treason that would have surely resulted in his death. From Saul’s willingness to put his own son Jonathan to death (1 Sam. 14:43-45), Samuel had good reason to fear being put to death. But God protected Samuel because he did God’s will. Samuel had the right to travel to rural areas to perform sacrifices for unsolved murders (Dt. 21:1-9). He put His fear into the people (1 Sam. 16:33). They had seen him twice publicly rebuke King Saul (1 Sam. 13:13-14; 15:22-29). They also saw him personally kill the Amalekite king (1 Sam. 15:32-33). They likely feared having him expose and judge their own sins.
Have faith that God will also protect you when you do His will. Like Samuel, you never need to fear your enemies when you are doing God’s will. When the Jews walked with Him, He promised to cause their enemies to fear them: “I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.” (Ex. 23:27). ‘“This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the peoples everywhere under the heavens, who, when they hear the report of you, will tremble and be in anguish because of you.’” (Dt. 2:25). If you are serving God, do you trust Him to protect you?
To be ready for God’s use, remain holy and consecrated at all times. Before God’s Spirit came to anoint Israel’s next king, Samuel told the people to be ready to “consecrate” themselves (1 Sam. 16:5). Before coming down to give the Ten Commandments, God also told His people to “consecrate” themselves. “The LORD also said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments;”’ (Ex. 19:10). God’s call to be holy is repeated throughout the Bible: ‘“For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.”’ (Lev. 11:44). ‘“Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy.”’ (Lev. 19:2). “You are to be my holy people.” (Ex. 22:31). These instructions also apply to Christians: “for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Pet. 1:16). “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Cor. 7:1). “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48). “Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (Ja. 4:17). Are you staying pure for His use?
God’s guidance to Samuel not to select a king based upon outward appearance. Upon arriving at the house of Jesse, Samuel assumed that God would select Eliab because he was the oldest and apparently tall and handsome. “6 When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.’ 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’ 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, ‘The Lord has not chosen this one either.’ 9 Next Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, ‘The Lord has not chosen this one either.’ 10 Thus Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, ‘The Lord has not chosen these.’ 11 And Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Are these all the children?’ And he said, ‘There remains yet the youngest, and behold, he is tending the sheep.’ Then Samuel said to Jesse, ‘Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.’” (1 Sam. 16:6-11). The people had selected Saul based upon his height and good looks (1 Sam. 9:2; 10:23-24). Yet, that is not God’s Spirit-led process for selecting a leader. Nor was it His process to select a leader based upon the son’s birth order. That may have been the custom in ancient societies. Yet, it is not how God makes decisions. The Hebrew word for “youngest” “haqqatan” can also be interpreted as smallest. Thus, David would not have fit society's expectations because of his age, size, and his background.
God’s cares about your heart, not your appearance1
God picked Israel’s King to serve the King of Kings. At all times, God directed Samuel in selecting Israel’s next king. When Moses prophesied of the day when Israel would demand a king, he warned that God as the King of Kings would select the kings “you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, one from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman.” (Dt. 17:17). Moses gave this counsel so that no king would boast that he became king based upon his own merit. The people previously wanted a king “like all the nations” (1 Sam. 8:5). Now, God would pick a king after His heart, not an idolatrous, self-absorbed leader like the other nations. David later showed that he was a man after God’s heart by giving God all the credit for selecting him to be the next king. “Yet, the LORD, the God of Israel, chose me from all the house of my father to be king over Israel forever. For He has chosen Judah to be a leader; and in the house of Judah, my father's house, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel.” (1 Chron. 28:4). When you are successful in your endeavors and people praise you, do you turn that praise to God?
God is sovereign over all creation and every government. These events also show that God is sovereign and has control over kings, nations, and all time. Daniel explained: “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding.” (Da. 2:21). “He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.” (Job 12:23). “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust.” (Is. 40:15). “All the nations are as nothing before Him, they are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless.” (Is. 40:17). “But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure His indignation.” (Jer. 10:10). “The LORD is King forever and ever; nations have perished from His land.” (Ps. 10:16). “You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; . . .” (Is. 9:3(a)). “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Dan. 4:35). Have you placed your trust in powerful people or in God alone?
Pick a leader based upon a person’s heart and not their outward appearances. God admonished Samuel that He looks at the heart of a person, not his or her outward appearance. It is mankind’s sinful tendency to do just the opposite (1 Sam. 16:7). In fact, it might be safe to say that mankind has turned the glorification of outward beauty into a form of idolatry. “And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.”’ (Lk. 16:15). “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts.” (Prov. 21:2). “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the LORD weighs the motives.” (Prov. 16:2). “and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Ro. 8:27). When the 11 disciples prayed for a replacement for Judas, they invited God to pick a replacement based upon His knowledge of the hearts of the potential replacement “And they prayed and said, ‘You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen.”’ (Acts 1:24).
God esteems what society rejects. Jesse apparently did not consider David, his youngest son, important enough to even meet with Samuel. The Jewish historian Josephus, made famous for documenting Christ’s existence, alleged that David was only 10 years old at the time. David’s absence during this meeting also suggested that Jesse was a man of humble means without the ability to afford servants. For either or both of these reasons, Jesse never called David in from the field where he was tending to the sheep. As one commentator notes, God’s selection of David fits a familiar pattern in the Bible: “Other men who were not firstborn but who were selected by the Lord over their more socially powerful older brothers include Seth, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Ephraim, Moses and perhaps Abraham. It seems that the biblical record deliberately creates the impression that Yahweh prefers to use the disenfranchised members of society – earlier in 1 Samuel the barren woman Hannah and the child Samuel – to do his most significant work (cf. Mark 10:31; 1 Cor. 1:27.)” (Robert Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel, The New American Commentary, Vol. 7, B&H Publishing Group (1996) p. 121). Peter also warned: “3 Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Pet. 3:3-4). Do you judge others by their outward appearance or their character? Likewise, if you feel that you are unattractive or unimportant, will you let that stop you from serving God?
David received his training to be God’s next king through his work as a shepherd. All of the great patriarchs were shepherds before they became leaders. David’s training as a shepherd gave him all of the skills that he would need to be a great future king. “He also chose David His servant and took him from the sheepfolds;” (Ps. 78:70). “David’s years keeping the sheep were not waiting time; they were training time. David was a great man and a great king over Israel because he never lost his shepherd’s heart. Psalm 78:70-72 speaks of the connection between David the king and David the shepherd: He also chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes that had young He brought him, to shepherd Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” (David Guzik on 1 Sam. 16).2 Jesus also came as the Good Shepherd to find His sheep who are lost to sin. “But He answered and said, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’” (Matt. 15:24). His leaders were also called upon to love His sheep. “As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day.” (Ezek. 34:12). Do you have a love in your heart for those who are lost to sin and suffering in spiritual blindness?
Jesus also was not esteemed based upon His appearance. Like David, Jesus was not esteemed based upon His appearance or his background. “Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (Is. 53:1-3; Phil. 2:8). Would you follow an unattractive Jesus?
Samuel’s anointing of David with the Holy Spirit. After Samuel anointed David with oil, the Holy Spirit anointed David with power to be Israel’s next king. “12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with beautiful eyes and a handsome appearance. And the Lord said, ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is he.’ 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and went to Ramah.” (1 Sam. 16:12-13). The moment is recorded in the New Testament as one of the most important events in Old Testament history: “After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’” (Acts 13:22). David was good-looking. Yet, like Joseph who was also good-looking (Gen. 39:6), David did not allow his external beauty to corrupt his heart for God. His name meant “beloved” of “loved one.” He would be mentioned in the Old Testament more than any other leader. Jesus would also become known as the son of David (Matt. 9:27).
Samuel anoints David with the oil of the Holy Spirit3
Be anointed with the Spirit. Oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13). Samuel previously used oil to anoint Saul the same way he anointed David. “1 Then Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it on his head, kissed him and said, ‘Has not the Lord anointed you a ruler over His inheritance?” (1 Sam. 10:1). Moses also poured oil on Aaron’s head to consecrate Him. “Then he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him.” (Lev. 8:12). “Then you shall take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him.” (Ex. 29:7). When Christ began His ministry, He was dunked into the Jordan river (Matt. 3:13-15). The oil being poured onto the heads of kings and priests symbolized the complete immersion of the Spirit, like a baptism. Believers must be anointed by the Spirit in all that they do: “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.” (1 Jo. 2:20). “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God,” (1 Cor. 1:21). “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Ro. 8:14). Are your actions in life anointed?
Like David, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. Isaiah also prophesied that the Messiah would be filled with the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.” (Is. 11:2). Jesus fulfilled this prophecy: “John testified saying, ‘I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.’” (Jo. 1:32; Matt. 3:16; Mk. 1:10; Lk. 3:22). He also promises to fill you with the Holy Spirit to allow you to also do mighty things for Him (Jo. 14:16; 15:26; Acts 1:4; 5:32). Like David, will you act boldly in the Spirit for the Kingdom of Heaven?
God removes His hedge of protection and allows an evil spirit to terrorize Saul. When the Holy Spirit anointed David as the future king, He left Saul. With the Spirit, Saul was defenseless against Satan: “14 Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord terrorized him. 15 Saul’s servants then said to him, ‘Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrorizing you. 16 Let our lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well.’” (1 Sam. 16:14-16). God is never the source of evil. Yet, without His hand of protection, Satan was free to attack Saul. For example, Satan could not attack Job until after God lifted His hedge of protection (Job 1-2). God also removed His hedge of protection over Abimelech and allowed an evil spirit to torment him. “Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech,” (Jdgs. 9:23). This evil spirit would further continue to torment Saul (e.g., 1 Sam. 18:10; 19:9). Today, Saul’s affliction would be treated as a mental illness with medications. Yet, like many suffering from mental afflictions today, the root of his problem was spiritual, not chemical.
God’s Holy Spirit and His protection departed from Saul because Saul rejected Him. God promises to be a shield to all who take refuge in Him: “As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the LORD is tested; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.” (2 Sam. 22:31). “Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (Prov. 30:5). As part of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus invites you to pray daily for God’s protection (Matt. 6:13). The Holy Spirit once came upon Saul and protected him like David (1 Sam. 10:10). Samuel promised Saul that the Spirit was the sign that “God is with you.” (1 Sam. 10:7). The Spirit left Saul because Saul did not want to hear what He had to say. Saul was, however, spiritually blind to the Spirit’s departure in the same way that Samson was blind to the Spirit’s departure in his life after he repeatedly sinned: “She said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ And he awoke from his sleep and said, ‘I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.” (Jdgs. 16:20). Possibly because he witnessed the horror of seeing Saul left without the Spirit, David later pleaded with God not to let His Spirit depart from him after he sinned (Ps. 51:11). The lesson is that if you submit to the Spirit, He will be a hedge of protection against any evil in your life.
God’s Holy Spirit will never depart from a believer in Christ. Believers in Christ never need to worry about their sins causing the Holy Spirit to depart from them (Ro. 8:9-11; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation-- having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14). When you are sealed with the Spirit, you have God’s guarantee that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Heb. 13:5; Josh. 1:5; Dt. 31:6, 8). Do you trust that God will never leave you?
David served Saul and received God’s blessings. Because God still loved Saul and wanted him to repent, He sent David to both serve him and to ease his torment. “17 So Saul said to his servants, ‘Provide for me now a man who can play well and bring him to me.’ 18 Then one of the young men said, ‘Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite who is a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior, one prudent in speech, and a handsome man; and the Lord is with him.’ 19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, ‘Send me your son David who is with the flock.’ 20 Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread and a jug of wine and a young goat, and sent them to Saul by David his son. 21 Then David came to Saul and attended him; and Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor bearer. 22 Saul sent to Jesse, saying, ‘Let David now stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.’” (1 Sam. 16:17-22). God’s hand also brought David to the throne room to prepare him for his future kingship. By doing God’s work in ministering to the man who would later torment David, David gained God’s favor.
God calls upon you to be patient and serve others as He molds you for His greater plans. Saul had to patiently wait seven days before he was publicly anointed as king (1 Sam. 10:8). David would also have to wait to become king as God molded Him as a lowly servant within Saul’s court. David would later suffer under Saul’s rule. Yet, God used his suffering to mold David for His greater glory: “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” (Is. 48:10; Ps. 66:10; Zech. 13:9(a); Dt. 8:2-3). Like David, God wants you to be patient because He prepared great plans for you: “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.” (Ps. 37:7). “I waited patiently for the LORD; and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” (Ps. 40:1(b)). “I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, and in His word do I hope.” (Ps. 130:5). Do you patiently wait until the Lord and His timing?
Allow God to humble you so that He can also exalt you without pride. God had to humble David as a servant before He could exalt him. He did this so that David would serve without pride. He also wants you to allow Him to humble you through your suffering so that He can exalt you in heaven without any pride. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14). “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble.” (Lk. 1:52). “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (Ja. 4:10). “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1 Pet. 5:6). “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matt. 5:5 KJV). Your suffering is one way for God to humble you. Are you staying humble so that He can later exalt you without pride?
When God is with you, you may even find favor with your enemies. David’s most important attribute was that ‘“and the Lord [wa]s with him.’” (1 Sam. 16:18). It was because God was with David that he became Saul’s armor bearer and Saul proclaimed ‘“he has found favor in my sight.’” (1 Sam. 16:22). “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” (Prov. 22:29). In a similar way, God blessed Joseph when he faithfully served as a servant in Pharaoh’s court. “The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock.” (Gen. 47:6; 41:37-45).
David blessed Saul through his worship music. Because God was with David, David was able to bless his future tormentor Saul. “23 So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.” (1 Sam. 16:23). As a man after God’s heart, David showed love to the man who would try to kill him. As a Spirit-led man, he was a blessing to his future enemies and not just his friends.
David ministered to Saul through worship music4
Worship should be part of your training to be a leader for God. David’s training continued from caring for God’s sheep to ministering to others through worship music. In the past, the Holy Spirit also came upon Saul in the presence of worship music (1 Sam. 10:10). Here, David ministered to Saul through worship music. Elisha later called for a minstrel so that the Holy Spirit would come upon him and allow him to prophesy. ‘“But now bring me a minstrel.’ And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.” (2 Kgs. 3:15). Thus, God reveals that worship is one of the best antidotes for evil spirits. The type of music you listen to may determine which spiritual realm that you are connected to. Who does your music glorify?
Worship music is an important field of battle in spiritual warfare. God described David as a “a skillful musician, a mighty man of valor, a warrior.” (1 Sam. 16:18). As a young boy, these titles could not have referred to him as a physical warrior. Yet, they did refer to him as a spiritual warrior. They also referred to him prophetically as a future warrior.
Praise and worship Jesus for all things good or bad. Jesus wants you to praise Him in both good times and bad times: “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be God, the rock of my salvation,” (2 Sam. 22:47). “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my savior, You save me from violence.” (2 Sam. 22:3). “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He.” (Dt. 32:4). “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Ps. 18:2, 31, 46; 19:14). Worship helps to clear your mind to receive God’s Word when your world is in turmoil. Thus, you should never skip the worship that precedes the message at Church. Through Jesus’ model prayer for you (the Lord’s prayer), He also invites believers to begin by praising God’s holy name (Matt. 6:9). Do you praise Jesus for all your successes? Are you also praising Him during your trials?
Let your worship comfort and evangelize others. Believers are told to “rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4; 1 Thess. 5:16). Like David, your worship can help to comfort those in sorrow. Your joy expressed through worship and praise can also help to evangelize others with the hope that is within you. Are you sharing your gratitude and joy through worship with others?