As we entered Chapter 11, Israel had demanded a king and God obliged them by anointing Saul as their first king. Saul did well for a while, but then began to stray from the leaning and leading of God in his life. God became so frustrated with Saul that he removed his hand of blessing from him, thus ending his reign. This is where we find ourselves in the story as Chapter 11 begins.
Samuel had an investment in Saul – he had been the one God used to anoint him as king. The failure of Saul led to grief in Samuel’s heart. God, however, was going to use Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel, one that would be the prototype of the Messiah Jesus one thousand years later. David was not Saul’s son, in the lower story, so God would have work in the upper story. David was not king-worthy either. David was the youngest of eight sons of Jesse. The Hebrew words Jesse used to describe David is the equivalent of “runt” today. No sooner had David come into the presence of Samuel, he had oil running down his head. God had chosen David and Samuel was anointing the future king. There is a difference between anointing and inauguration though. It would be fourteen years later before David would assume his reign as king.
During the fourteen years between David’s anointing and inauguration, the Lord’s hand was on David. He trusted the Lord and gave himself wholly to him. This trust led to his defeat of the giant, Goliath. It sustained him through the madness of Saul which led to his pursuit of David’s death. This trust was also the foundation that supported the most unique friendship seen in the story so far – his relationship with Jonathan, Saul’s son. Jonathan was the rightful heir to Saul’s throne, not David. David and Jonathan became so close as friends that Jonathan relinquished his inheritance and the throne to David. God used a lower story friendship to graft David into the royal line of the upper story. Twenty-eight generations later another king would be born in Bethlehem.
I love the recruitment filter that God uses for leaders in his Upper Story. He doesn’t use the most obvious leaders. While we look to the outside of individuals and make presumptions based on first impressions, God sees the inside and knows their hearts. He uses bad leaders and good leaders to write out his Upper Story. This is very encouraging to me because it makes all things possible for people like me…and you. God may have a plan for you that even you can’t see right now. Our pursuit is not to be the hand of God, but rather the heart of God. A heart fully-devoted to the heart of God can be used to do incredible things.
What lessons did you learn from Chapter 11? David had a single goal because he had a single love. What can you do to cultivate a heart like David’s?