Summary: Part 1 of a series on the Life of David.

Insights from the Life of David – Part 1:

Our Last Choice – God’s First Choice: David the Shepherd Boy

I Samuel 16:1-13

I’ll never forget the feeling. It haunts me to this day. I know that some of you can relate because you too where there. You’re standing on the sideline of the basketball court or the baseball field or the playground as teams are chosen. You never get the chance to be the captain and so you try to play it cool as you stand in line with the rest of your peers. But today is no different than any other day. This game is no different than the last. You know who will be chosen first. He’s the biggest guy here not to mention the fact that his team always wins! As the teams are chosen, members are picked according to their appearance and ability. The biggest and fastest kids are chosen first and then come the kids that no one really wants but someone will take. Somewhere down the line you know you’ll be picked, you just hope it won’t be last… again.

It’s this childhood practice of choosing teams that implants within our minds the idea that appearance and ability are everything! And while it would certainly be nice to grow up and realize how false that notion is, the reality is our culture does everything to reinforce that image. Why is that American icons, superstars, those who are the wealthiest and most well known, are almost exclusively those with the best appearance or most ability?

Gone are the days when character and lifestyle were valued above all else. Heroism today is all about who others think we are and has very little to do with who we really are.

And yet in the emptiness of our appearance driven society people are hungering for something deeper. We’re looking for someone who stands out not because of their ability to act or play ball or sing well. Recent American Idol Reject William Hung is a case in point. This young man auditioned for the reality television show “American Idol” and was kicked out of the audition after his horrendous rendition of one of pop star Ricky Martin’s songs. Despite his horrific voice, or perhaps because of it, he has quickly become an American Idol of another sort. He’s got his own website now and has made appearances on the Tonight Show and Good Morning America. An album is being released and this less than attractive little guy is receiving marriage proposals from all over the country! Why? Because people see in him something we all desire: sincerity and authenticity.

The reality is people are looking for someone to look up to. Someone who stands out as being different than the rest of the crowd not because of their glitz and glamour but because of what’s on the inside. We’re looking for someone who stands heads and shoulders above the crowd not because of their appearance but because of their heart.

It’s with that need in mind that I was convicted to preach this sermon series. Over the years the lives of great Biblical characters have been taught from pulpits and Sunday School rooms across the country. But somewhere along the line many of these “saints” have been elevated to such a point that they are untouchable. What we all to frequently fail to realize is just how human they were. Rather than their humanity and faults being a discouragement or a deterrent from emulating them they should in fact be an inspiration to us allowing us to recognize how much like ourselves they are.

I want to spend the next several weeks looking at the life of one of the most well known Biblical characters. It’s a story of heartbreak, grief, murder, adultery, friendship and betrayal. It’s the story of a man we know as David.

Before we can really get into the life of David I felt that it was important that we step back and set the stage for what will be taking place in our scripture readings in the week to come. Understand that the Israelite people lived in a day and age in which they were governed directly by God. They had prophets who served as God’s mouth piece to the people and priests who made sacrifices for the people. But they had no great ruler, as we know, at least not on this earth.

As they looked around at neighboring countries they became envious of them because they all had kings that they could see and they could approach but the Israelites’ King was in the Heavens. If you’re following along in your outlines you’ll see that the people wanted a king.

In spite of their prophet Samuel’s warnings about all the problems a King would cause them, the people insisted and so God gave them Saul. Saul was what you would expect in a King. The scriptures tell us that he stood heads and shoulders above everyone else. He was a handsome man and very strong. He was the kind of person who demanded your attention and your respect. He was an obvious choice and the people were excited to have him. We’ll learn more about Saul in the weeks to come but in order to understand our scripture reading today the next point in setting the stage is that…

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