1 Samuel 16: Good Looks Don’t Matter to God, It’s What’s in the Heart

When last we left King Saul, God told him, through Samuel, that He was sorry that He ever made Saul king. That’s a tough pill to swallow. Now, God needs to anoint a new king. However, this time, God is not looking for a kingly appearance. He is seeking a servant’s heart. Let’s dig in…

1 Samuel 16 – Seeking the Right Candidate

Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”

But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

“Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.”

So Samuel did as the Lord instructed. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town came trembling to meet him. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Do you come in peace?”

“Yes,” Samuel replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice, too.

When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen.” Next Jesse summoned Shimea, but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.” 10 In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”

“Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”

12 So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.

And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.”

13 So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.

David Serves in Saul’s Court

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and the Lord sent a tormenting (evil) spirit that filled him with depression and fear.

15 Some of Saul’s servants said to him, “A tormenting spirit from God is troubling you. 16 Let us find a good musician to play the harp whenever the tormenting spirit troubles you. He will play soothing music, and you will soon be well again.”

17 “All right,” Saul said. “Find me someone who plays well, and bring him here.”

18 One of the servants said to Saul, “One of Jesse’s sons from Bethlehem is a talented harp player. Not only that—he is a brave warrior, a man of war, and has good judgment. He is also a fine-looking young man, and the Lord is with him.”

19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse to say, “Send me your son David, the shepherd.” 20 Jesse responded by sending David to Saul, along with a young goat, a donkey loaded with bread, and a wineskin full of wine.

21 So David went to Saul and began serving him. Saul loved David very much, and David became his armor bearer.

22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse asking, “Please let David remain in my service, for I am very pleased with him.”

23 And whenever the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul, David would play the harp. Then Saul would feel better, and the tormenting spirit would go away.

1 Samuel 16 NLT

Points to Ponder

  • David was the youngest of Jesse’s sons, a humble, shepherd boy, who guarded his father’s sheep and kept them safe from wild animals. He spent his lonely hours praising God and playing his harp. He was a poet and wrote many of the Psalms. We’ll be looking at those as we go along. He was the most unlikely king.
  • “Saul looked like a king, but had a peasant’s heart. David looked like a peasant and but he had the heart of a king.” Sandy Adams, in the lesson of 1 Samuel 16 in Through the Word (free Bible app).
  • The Lord isn’t impressed by good looks or abilities. No, God looks at the heart.
  • Saul, because he disobeyed God, lost the Holy Spirit. As soon as David was anointed, the Holy Spirit “came upon David powerfully” (v.13).
  • God sent an evil spirit to torment Saul. Thus, his servants got David a gig playing for Saul when he was depressed. See, Satan is allergic to praise. Where there is praise, Satan is paralyzed, bound and banished!
  • With the Holy Spirit in our hearts, evil cannot enter. Do you have the Holy Spirit?
  • Jacob, aka Israel, prophesied of a coming king from the tribe of Judah…

The scepter will not depart from Judah,
    nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants,
until the coming of the one to whom it belongs,
    the one whom all nations will honor.

Genesis 49:10 NLT

The Shepherd will Become King

As David, the shepherd boy eventually becomes king, we look ahead to the coming King of kings, Jesus Christ. He was born in a humble stable and visited by shepherds and wise men.

Humility does not equal weakness!

Humility is acknowledging that God is bigger and more powerful than we are. He is more powerful than anything or anyone we will ever encounter! We will see this as our story goes along.

Think about what we look for in a political candidate. We notice charisma and appearance, but we fail many times to look for integrity, good morals and fine character, as well as qualifying experience.

How about You?

Have you turned your heart to God? As we do that, He reveals our purpose for His Kingdom. Keep in mind also, without the Holy Spirit protecting our hearts, we are open and vulnerable to every evil spirit that’s out there.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd

Remember that David’s job was to look after his father’s sheep? That’s Jesus’ job, too!

“I tell you the truth, anyone who sneaks over the wall of a sheepfold, rather than going through the gate, must surely be a thief and a robber! But the one who enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice. They won’t follow a stranger; they will run from him because they don’t know his voice.”

Those who heard Jesus use this illustration didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained it to them: “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. 10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. 12 A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock. 13 The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep.

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, 15 just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, too, that are not in this sheepfold. I must bring them also. They will listen to my voice, and there will be one flock with one shepherd.”

John 10:1-16 NLT

Who’s voice are you listening to?

It’s time to stop following the world or a church and start following Jesus!

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 in your life and surrender your life to Him.
  • Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

David – Shepherd, Poet, King, Sinner



Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

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