I Samuel 16:1-13

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Text: I Samuel 16:1-13



I have noticed that many people want to know God's will for their lives, but they typically do not understand how God guides.

They also do not ordinarily realize that God has already made a lot of His will known to them. For example, their age at any given time has already been pre-determined by God because He caused them to be born on the day of His choosing. God has already determined the place of their birth. For some it is in the United States of America; for others it might be in Haiti, in Communist China, or in Iran. God has already determined who their parents will be, and He has already determined their abilities or the abilities they lack. He has determined their race and their gender, and we note that God didn't bother to consult any of us about any of these things. It wasn't up to us. It was all within His will for us.

People do not realize that God has given us the Bible as a guidebook for the Christian life. Somehow, it does not ordinarily dawn on them that if they aren't doing what the Bible says they should be doing, God will not be giving them further guidance until they are doing what He has already given them.

They typically do not realize that God's will for all believers is basically the same. What differs from individual to individual is the capacity in which they serve Him.

God expects us to study His Word and to obey it.

Joshua 1:8 - This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

I Corinthians 2:11-16 - 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God [i.e. which is from God]; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God [i.e. freely given to us by God]. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things [or spiritual thoughts] with spiritual [i.e. with spiritual words]. 14 But the natural man [i.e. the unsaved person] receiveth not [or does not accept] the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual [i.e. the saved person] judgeth [i.e. discerns] all things, yet he himself is judged of no man [or discerned by no one]. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ [It has been given to us by God the Holy Spirit, and it is found in the Scriptures, which are the mind of Christ for us.].

Proverbs 3:5-6 - (5) Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (6) In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Psalms 37:23 - The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

Psalms 32:8 - I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

Romans 12:1-2 - 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

In I Samuel 16:1-13 we see how the Lord guided Samuel.


I Samuel 16:1 - And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning [i.e. from being king] over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me [i.e. provided Myself or selected for Myself] a king among his sons.


I Samuel 16:2 - And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord.

Anointing a new king was a secret matter and would not be made public for many years. There was no deceit here because Samuel actually did go to sacrifice to the Lord. He just didn't tell people everything he knew.


I Samuel 16:3 - And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee.

God does not reveal all His will at any one time for the rest of our lives. He leads people one step at a time. We need to be obedient; and as we follow His leading, He will give us whatever additional direction we need.

If Samuel did not obey God's command to go to Jesse the Bethlehemite, he would never have received the additional instruction regarding the next step in doing God's will.


I Samuel 16:4-5 - (4) And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?

Were they wondering if Samuel had come for judgment for something they had done? Apparently so. Why else would they be trembling at his coming? Perhaps they had guilty consciences.

(5) And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord: sanctify [i.e. consecrate] yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified [i.e. consecrated] Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.

Samuel thought he had God's will figured out -


I Samuel 16:6 - (6) And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord's anointed is before him [i.e. before the LORD].

In spite of having his own idea of what God's will was -


I Samuel 16:7 - But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance [i.e. appearance], or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.

Whereas we may be impressed by the physical qualities of people, God is impressed with their spiritual qualities.

Samuel should have remembered that although Saul was physically impressive, his inner man was not impressive.

I Samuel 13:14 - But now thy [i.e. Saul's] kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.


I Samuel 16:8-12 - (8) Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this [i.e. this one]. (9) Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this [i.e. this one]. (10) Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these. (11) And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither [i.e. here].

According to verse 5, Samuel sanctified [i.e. consecrated] Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice. Why wasn't David at the feast with the rest of his family? Was it because he was so insignificant in Jesse's eyes that Jesse was sure that Samuel wouldn't be interested in him?

I remember the one-word comment of the pastor's wife when she heard that God had called me into the ministry. This was the wife of the pastor of our church who retired when I was ten years old. Her comment was, HIM? She furthermore said that she could see it if with one of my friends were called but not with me. Well, God called me and not my friend; and He could just as well have called my friend and not me. It was my place to respond to the calling, which I did, but not to decide whom to call.

Continuing with I Samuel 16:12

(12) And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy [i.e. he had red hair], and withal of a beautiful countenance [i.e. with beautiful eyes or with bright eyes], and goodly to look to [i.e. good looking]. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he [i.e. this is the one].

God looked on David's heart and chose David who is described as a man after God's own heart. God's estimate of the heart is seen in a number of passages.

Genesis 6:5 - And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

As a result, God sent a flood but saved Noah and his family.

Genesis 8:21 - And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

God's estimate of the human heart is seen here, and He determined that He would never again send a world-wide flood.

I Samuel 13:14 - But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.

God rejected Saul from being king because Saul's heart was not after God's heart, which resulted in Saul's not obeying the Lord's commandment. God would seek someone else whose heart would be after His own heart. This would be David.

I Kings 11:4 - For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

Solomon's heart was turned away from the Lord after other gods and was not perfect toward God as David's heart was.

I Kings 14:8 - And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee [i.e. Jereboam]: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes.

David pursued after the Lord with all his heart to do what was right in the Lord's eyes.

How are our hearts before the Lord? Are we seeking to do those things which are right in the Lord's eyes and not to be doing those things which are not right in the Lord's eyes?

Proverbs 4:23-27 - (23) Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (24) Put away from thee a froward [i.e. deceitful] mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. (25) Let thine eyes look right on [i.e. straight ahead], and let thine eyelids look straight [i.e. right] before thee. (26) Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. (27) Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

Believers are to keep their hearts with all diligence.

Proverbs 23:7 - For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

The real character of an individual is revealed by what's in his heart.

Jeremiah 17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

Matthew 12:34 - O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

Matthew 15:10-20 - (10) And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: (11) Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. (12) Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? (13) But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. (14) Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (15) Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. (16) And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? (17) Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught [i.e. the latrine]? (18) But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. (19) For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: (20) These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.


I Samuel 16:13 - Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren [i.e. brothers]: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

David's family knew that David had been anointed as the next king of Israel although this was not known publicly at this time.


Be careful to realize that we only see the outside of a person. We do not see what's in the person's heart. Thus, be careful about drawing conclusions about what you cannot be certain. Eventually, the direction a person's life takes will demonstrate what's in his heart.