What makes a King? Typical rulers or kings in biblical times gained power by strength of arms or because of their lineage. David was not born into nobility and probably had no aspirations to rule over a nation, yet he was the one God choose for a king over Israel after Saul failed in that role. David was a humble shepherd and the youngest of his brothers. When the prophet Samuel comes looking for Saul’s successor, David’s father doesn’t even consider him. Samuel is presented with all of David’s other brothers while David is off in the fields tending to the sheep. When David’s elder brother Eliab is brought before Samuel, the prophet thinks surely, he is the Lord’s chosen king. Eliab looked as a king should in Samuel’s eyes because he was tall, strong, and handsome. God responds to Samuel by saying this though, “Do not look at his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart,” (1 Samuel 16:7). What made David a true King in God’s eyes is he was a man after His own heart.

We hear that phrase all the time, that David was a man after God’s own heart but what does that mean? I don’t know that I can answer this question fully, but I think David was a man after God’s own heart because that no matter what was happening in David’s life he turned to God. When David prospered in his life he would sing songs of praise to God, and when he struggled both with himself and with enemies he would cry out to God. One of the things that separates David from Saul is that he sought God in all situations the good and the bad.

I want to talk about one instance in 1 Samuel:30 when David turned to God in a difficult situation. In Cliff Grahm’s book, Day of War book one in the Lion of War series, he details the events I’m about to write. This event happens before David becomes king over Israel when he is on the run from Saul. David and his men are living with the Philistines, which is controversial considering they were bitter enemies of Israel. In Grahm’s book, even David’s own men questions if David is a traitor to Israel.

When the Philistines go to march against Israel, they leave David behind because they don’t trust him to fight against his own people. David and his men return home only to find that the Amalekites had made a raid against Ziklag, the city they were living in. While David and his men were gone, the Amalekites burn the city and make off with all the women. David’s men are greatly upset by this event and many talk of stoning David.  David’s response to this event shows in part why God choose him. “And David was greatly destressed, for the people talked of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God,” (1Samul 30:6). A lesser man would have despaired, given up, or even surrendered himself to death at his people’s hands. Yet when it seems David’s world his falling apart the Bible says he strengthened himself in God. He then turns to God’s wisdom on whether he should pursue the Amalekites. God tells him if he pursues them he will surely overtake them and rescue those captured. I really like the line in Grahm,s book after this when David speaking to his men about pursing the Amalekites. “So, here is your choice. You can follow me, and we will destroy the Amalekites and take back what they stole form us. Or you can crawl out of here on your bellies like snakes and disappear back to where you came from, and you will never have seized the promise Yahweh has for us,” (Day of War, 264). Part of what made David the one God choose as King is demonstrated by his actions here. In an extremely difficult situation David turned to God, sought his guidance, and then took charge of his men and lead them to an astonishing victory in which they destroyed the Amalekites invaders and rescued everyone they took.

1 Samuel 16
1 Samuel 30
Psalm 89:19-20
Day of War: By Cliff Grahm

How does how David responded to the situation at Ziklag contrast with how most of his men responded to it?
How does David contrast with Saul as King?
Why do you think God called David a man after his own heart?
How can we learn to turn to God in the middle of a difficult situation? What are some ways you already have?

My prayer for us at GT is that each one of us is able to turn to God, as David did, no matter what situation we face in our lives. Also, that we can praise him in all situations both good and bad.