Summary: God does not look on outward appearance but on the heart; create in me a clean heart.”

1 Samuel 16:1-13 “A Pleasing Heart to the Lord”


The Lord, God of creation, is a God of transformation. In the beginning, God transformed chaos into order by taking a formless void and creating sea, land, sky, sun, moon, and stars. God sent his son, Jesus the Christ to change the world by establishing the Kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit moves in our lives and transforms us from rebellious, self-centered people into disciples of Jesus Christ, who have a living and dynamic relationship with God.

What is astonishing about the transformation that God is causing to occur is that God is working in partnership with men and women in order to accomplish it. After all, God is the God of all creation. God spoke and it came into being. God could say, “Transform” and it would happen. For some reason, however, God has chosen to use his creation to bring about the transformation and establish God’s Kingdom.

Our story today is David’s call and his anointing to be King of Israel. This story illustrates the idea that God works most effectively with people who have a pleasing heart to the Lord. As people who want to participate actively in the transformation and establishment of God’s Kingdom, it is important for us to understand just what a pleasing heart to the Lord is.


Our story begins with Saul, the first King of Israel. In verse 1, we read that the prophet Samuel was grieving over Saul. Saul had been anointed King by Samuel, and he was the hope of the people, but he turned out to be a man who did not have a heart pleasing to the Lord.

• Saul was a victim of his own pride. The Greeks call it hubris—a pride that harms a person and brings down their down fall. Saul became self-centered, and also drew away from his relationship with God.

• Saul was impatient and rash. In 1 Samuel 13:8 we read that instead of waiting for Samuel the prophet/priest, Saul sacrificed an animal offering to the Lord.

• Saul didn’t obey. Obedience is a core element in faith. Saul disobeyed the Lord on several occasions and followed his own leading.


The Lord sends Samuel to Bethlehem in order to find a new king. Samuel is told to invite Jesse to a sacrifice service, and to have Jesse’s sons stand before him.

Samuel sees David’s oldest brother, who is very handsome and thinks that surely this is the new King of Israel. He wasn’t, and God told Samuel not to look at the outward appearances because it is what is in the heart of a person that makes a difference. This is good advice not just to Samuel, but to all of us.

The last son of Jesse to stand before Samuel was David. He was the last and the least, but God chose him to be King of Israel.

From other stories, we know a little about David.

• David was courageous. As a young boy he killed a lion and a bear in order to protect the sheep. He also faced the giant Goliath.

• David wasn’t perfect. He had an affair with Bathsheba and murdered her husband. At the same time, when he realized that he acted wrongly, he was quick to confess and seek God’s forgiveness.

• David lived in a relationship with God. David wrote several of the Psalm and they reflect his ongoing walk with the Lord.

We may be tempted to strive after these characteristics so that they are ours. That isn’t how a heart that is pleasing to the Lord is created. In the prophet Jeremiah, God says that he will create a new heart with in us. The transformation within us is caused by the work of the Holy Spirit.


Samuel discerns that David is God’s choice for the next King of Israel. He quickly anoints David as King.

After the anointing, David is filled with the Holy Spirit. The call that God gives each of us is bigger than we are. We are not able to accomplish our task even with a heart that is pleasing to the Lord. It is necessary for God’s Spirit to work in and through us.

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, David transformed Israel into a powerful nation.


The transformation is taking place. God is establishing his Kingdom. As children of God and disciples of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit transforms us with a new heart, and then uses us to transform the world. God has chosen not to do this by himself, but rather in partnership with us.


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