David was a simple shepherd, Israel’s greatest king, a most fervent sinner, and the most prolific Psalm writer ever. David was our brother, and is our father in faith. David is worthy of our worship!! (and lectionary churches did just that in June)
Sunday’s story begins with God’s selection of David. We will look at the question of who is “fit” to lead God’s people … by looking through God’s eyes; seeing as God sees things.
We live in an era of mass blindness. Has there ever been a time when masses of people were so confused by outward appearance rather than seeing the true value of each person?
For sure, there has always been some of this in all human communities. Clothes and one’s figure, jewelry and smooth speech, hair style and one’s height, the balance of facial features and the style in which one travelled: all have played a part in the distorted valuation of humanity as long as records go back.
Every teenage boy and girl is painfully aware of appearance. And many adults (maybe most) never grow out of the fixation with how they look. The rising incidence of eating disorders, the power of the fashion industry, the large number of lip enhancements, nose jobs, and other cosmetic surgery, testifies to our obsession with the outward facade. Perfectly good /healthy bodies are cut and stitched up again in a vain attempt to be more acceptable in the eyes of the world.
None of us can fully escape this influence. It pervades everything. Even when we rationally protest against it; it nevertheless seduces us at the level of our emotions.
So, we begin our study of David in celebration, celebration with God over finding the man who God dubs “a man after my own heart!”
We need a bit of the ‘back story’ prior to reading the scripture for Sunday. 1 Samuel 15:34 – 16:13 (CEB)
As we join Scripture’s Story… Israel has entered, and pretty much conquered, the Promised Land and now they’re trying to figure out how to be “stationary” and still be God-led. It’s a hard thing to do. And so the people had begun complaining that they needed a King, “like everyone else.” (This argument always irritates the parental units, including the Holy Parent!)
So, after years of saying “You don’t need a king…It won’t turn out well for you with a king…” and, “You will be much better off without a king” God gives in and says… “Ok, you want a king? I’ll give you a king.”
He sends Samuel, the most important priest and prophet of the time, and anoints Saul. Saul is the epitome of who anyone would ever want for a king—kind of like a Charlton Heston, Patrick Stewart, or Denzel Washington! Nevertheless, God was right… Saul starts out well, but begins to unravel, and so God says “enough!”
God tells Samuel that he has turned away from Saul and is going to anoint a new successor and it’s Samuel’s responsibility to go find this “perfect King.” He goes, but against his better judgment: Samuel never knows what to expect with God, except “expect the unexpected!”