Between 1501 to 1504 this famous artist chiseled a 13 ½ foot marble statute of a famous Bible person. Q Who did the work? Q Who did he conceive his work to be representative of?
Hint: also famous for painting the Sistine chapel. Famous for a painting that pictures God’s finger reaching out towards Adam’s
Today we are going to consider another of the great people of the Bible. David. He is a person that many are quite familiar with. Michelangelo’s rendering of David pops up in all sorts of advertisements and books. However this is not an art class. Our goal today will be to consider his being set apart by God to lead the nation of Israel as king. The main player of our text will be Samuel, yet the story is about David and what precipitates his kingship.
As we approach today’s text we must bear the following in mind. The prophet Samuel is an old man. During his career he has judged the nation of Israel, he has served as the prophet and priest of God, he had anointed Israel’s first king: Saul.
What immediately precedes our text details for us why Saul has been rejected by God as Israel’s king. He was made king by God because the people had rejected God’s kingship of the nation. So, God gave them Saul, with the promise to Saul that if he obeys that he will be prospered and his kingship will last. Alas, Saul had turned out to be a real lemon. Repeatedly Saul was found disobedient to the directions and commands of God with the result that God, through Samuel, pronounced his judgment upon him (just as God said he would do to those who disobeyed him). God would no longer be with him, the kingdom was no longer his, someone better was going to take his place
Chapter 15 closes with the commentary that Samuel mourned Saul and never again went to see him, while the whole matter grieved the very heart of God. (The point being that it hurts and breaks the heart of God and his servants when people reject Him and bring upon themselves his righteous judgments—see Ezek. 18:32, Gen. 6:5)
Chapter 16 opens with God speaking to Samuel (whether it be audibly or inwardly to his heart we know not). What is very clear is that Samuel is one who is close to God. He is one who discerns the voice of God. In fact he is the prophet of God and as such God’s mouthpiece to the people of Israel.
God’s message: It’s time to move on! Let Saul go!
Samuel had been in a state of mourning for Saul
-he had anointed him as king
-he had had a long time rel. with Saul
-he obviously felt some affection for Saul
Yet: Saul’s disobedience had isolated him from God and brought the judgment of God. God’s judgement and rejection of Saul in part being visible through the fact that his prophet was no longer to have anything to do with Saul. Samuel’s refusal to ever see Saul again mirrored the depth of God’s rejection and judgment upon Saul.
It was no light thing for Samuel though. It broke his heart. In fact the word “mourning” in our text is the same word that is used for grieving the dead. Samuel was grieving for Saul as if he were dead, even though he was still alive. In Jewish culture this still happens at times today. Sometimes if a Jewish families child becomes a Christian they will hold a funeral service for their child. To them, their conversion, is so grievous they act as if there child has died and they hold that funeral service and then continue to live on as if they were dead, while in reality their child is alive and well.
Samuel mourned for Saul as if he were dead because Saul’s disobedience before God and the deserved judgment he faced was painful to him.
To this God says to Samuel “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him”
Q What’s God’s point?
It’s time to move on and to bring your mourning to an end because I have chosen another to be king. My favor rests upon a member of Jesse’s family.
It seems God’s desire was to get Samuel’s perspective back on track. God rejected Saul for good reason—Saul had repeatedly despised the commands and will of God in respect to his kingship.
To be rejected by God is a frightful thing. The scripture portrays it as something which is always deserved by those who are rejected. Their rejection is because of their continuing sinful ways and that makes God angry and hence he is pictured as turning his back upon those in question and having nothing to do with them, other than to send his righteous judgments upon them. At times his rejection is seen to be temporary in the scriptures—for when the Israelites repented he restored them (in fact God’s promise by his covenants is that the Israelites as a nation will never be completely forsaken and rejected by him). At other times his rejection is seen to be final. In Lamentations 5:21-22 the people wonder if God’s rejection of them was final as they say “Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may return; renew our days as of old unless you have utterly rejected us and are angry with us beyond measure”