Sheep & Staff reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13
God sends Samuel to anoint a new king. Saul, who was Israel’s first king, has been rejected. David will be the new king. David will be the first link of royalty of Jesus’ lineage.
When Israel first demanded a king God gave them one that would please their ideals. Saul physically stood head and shoulders above everyone else. He was handsome. He looked like a natural born leader. He was very resistant to the idea at first but grew to value it above all else. He would fight to keep the kingdom in his own family. But that wasn’t God’s plan.
God KNEW Saul’s heart before He called Samuel to anoint him as king. He knew Saul craved the love of the people. He knew Saul would put the people’s love above God’s love. He knew Saul’s family would be removed from this role. NOT because God is cruel but because He SEES the WHOLE picture.
God prophecies speak of the redeemer coming through the line of Judah. Saul was from the line of Benjamin. A perpetual kingdom under Saul’s family did not fit prophecy. So there must be a change coming somewhere.
The people would see that their choice of a king was flawed. YES. God told Samuel who to anoint but he was EXACTLY what the people thought would make a good king. His behavior over the years revealed a serious problem. The people saw the character flaw.
God had David anointed in secret. Then He had David moved into the spotlight a little at a time. The people watched his character and could find no flaw. God KNEW David’s heart as surely as He knew Saul’s. This man was HIS choice. He loved God above all else. He sought God’s will in his life. He obeyed God’s laws, whatever the cost.
David had the heart of a shepherd. He cared for everyone in his care. He wasn’t perfect in this, as Uriah the Hittite would learn, but he protected them with his life. He cared for the one as much as the many. When his words were overheard about wanting a drink of water from his home town well, Three of David’s men broke through enemy lines to bring him that water. He wouldn’t drink it though because his desire had put them in harm’s way. He said it would be like drinking their blood. David defended the people around him from attack while on the run from Saul.
Saul was the opposite. He put his men in harm’s way chasing after David. He was focused on one objective and it didn’t matter the cost to achieve it. He ignored all but the most critical battles in his pursuit of David.
David showed Israel the heart of the shepherd. But a greater Shepherd was still to come. One who would NEVER seek His own above that of those He loved. Jesus is that Shepherd.
Father God, thank You for my Shepherd. He knows my needs better than I do. He knows when to drive me from the pasture I wandered into. He knows where the water is that I desperately need. He knows how to motivate me to do my best. Thank You Jesus! I’m happy to be your sheep. Help me listen quickly to Your staff so I don’t have to be bonked on the head with it to get me to mind.