Let’s admit it, the themes in the first half of 1 Samuel are more discouraging than hopeful. We watch Israel struggle to climb out of an all-time low. We see only one leader (Samuel) who consistently represents God’s agenda for Israel. The last few chapters we have looked at have revealed that the king they demanded (Saul) was not the king they needed.
Samuel has now lived most of his life watching Israel stumble and fall repeatedly into the same sins. He has seen his own efforts bear little fruit. He has invested years into Saul, only to watch him squander the leadership opportunity he was given. The cumulative burden of all of this seems to be catching up with the old prophet. Chapter 16 begins with the Lord speaking to a grieving Samuel. However, even though Samuel is disheartened, the Lord is still on the move.
The Lord commands Samuel to go to Jesse in Bethlehem with his horn of anointing oil. God is about to choose a new king for Israel. Despite everyone’s expectations, this king will not be measured by his stature, or his outward appearance, or his social status. This king will be measured by his heart for the Lord.
Chapter 16 is a pivotal turning point in 1 Samuel. God is about to provide a king of His choosing for Israel. And this king will lead from a place of utter dependence upon the Lord.
To see the significance of this pivotal chapter, it would be good to take some time this week to ponder a few questions:
1) How does this chapter provide hope in the midst of long seasons of hardship?
2) What do we learn about God’s pattern for raising up leaders? Where do you see this pattern in other places in Scripture?
3) Consider the connection between David’s heart& his actions throughout 1 Samuel. How do our actions reveal our hearts for better or worse?
4) What do we learn about the Holy Spirit’s activity in the Old Testament from this passage? How is this different from our experience of the Holy Spirit?