Although Saul was tall and handsome and LOOKED like a great choice for a king, he distorted the character of God by acting in a cruel and greedy way. God replaced him with someone who would more accurately represent God's character and God's plan, but he was the last person people would have picked to be king.
God's criteria in choosing the second king was to find a man after God's own heart; a person with the same priorities that God has; someone who loves people and cares for people. If David would risk his own life to get one of his dad's smelly sheep back, God reasons, "To what extent would he go to get one of my people back?" God knows that's the kind of king Israel needs, because that represents God's heart accurately to the world.
God can use our disobedient lives as God did Saul's to work out God's upper story plan, even though we miss out on the blessings. And on the flip side, God will likely take us through a season of testing, even when we're being obedient, in order to equip us for the assignment ahead of us.
David is a good king, but that's not all there is to his story. As we have been seeing in our journey through the Old Testament, this story carries clues in it, pointing to what is yet to come: God's ultimate plan to redeem everyone. David was from the tribe of Judah, from the city of Bethlehem. The prophets in the Old Testament are going to tell us that the one who provides a way for us to come back into a relationship with God will be from the tribe of Judah, born specifically in the city of Bethlehem, and he will be the king of all kings. In addition, kings in the Old Testament are referred to as the "anointed one." When Samuel anointed David with oil (1 Samuel 16), the spirit of the Lord came upon David. As he led Israel in obedience to God's work, he was empowered by the Holy Spirit. He was the anointed one. The Hebrew word for "anointed one" is "messiah." David was the messiah in the lower story of the Old Testament. His reign points us to the Messiah in the upper story, the one who is God incarnate, who we will meet in the New Testament.
Application possibilities for this week:
* God wants to use us like God used David. God wants to use us to point others to Jesus.
* Don't underestimate the younger crowd! Remember, David was only 16 years old when God first came to him.
* God doesn't choose us by our outward appearance, but God looks into our heart.
* We need at least one Jonathon in our lives, who sees God's good plan for us and believes in us.
* If God is going to use us, it will certainly involve a season or two of testing and equipping.
* We must keep pointing people to God no matter what season we are in.
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