The Narrative Lectionary introduces us to David this week in 1 Samuel 16:1-13. The first fifteen chapters of 1 Samuel tell the story of Samuel, the last judge of Israel, and Saul, the first King of Israel. Saul didn’t work out well and God sent Samuel to find a true heart that was ready to be a godly king.

Visual Commentary

This image is the basic structure of 1 Samuel. 

Samuel was the last juge of Israel, raised up to deliver them from the Philistines. When he gets old, his sons are corrupt and the people cry out for a king.

It is important to note that it was never God’s intention that Israel would have a King. The preferred and promised future for Israel was that they would live in obedience to God’s Law and the priests would be the only governance they needed.

However, God anticipated the desire to be ruled by a king, so the Law gave the following guidelines for what a king should be and do in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. 

Saul looked the part of a king. He was tall and strong. He had charisma. The people loved him.

Saul did not listen to God and tried to run things his own way.

Here is an interesting theological phrase. “The LORD said, ‘I regret making Saul King.'” What does it mean for God to have regret?

Samuel is sent to find a new King. He goes to Bethlehem. Remember that place from the story of Ruth? Jesse has seven sons that all look like they would make a great king.

God rejects all of them. Jesse has one more son. He was not even worthy enough in his father’s eyes to be considered for the showcase. 1 Samuel 16:7 is the key to leadership in God’s Kingdom. It’s all about the heart–the inner self–and not the external show.

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