Ten More Years as King in Waiting
At times, God does not reveal the schedule for fulfillment of his promise but expects the recipient to follow the schedule. David was anointed king of Israel but did not know how or when he will become king. He accepted the anointing as God’s promise and became king later following God’s schedule, though the schedule was not revealed to him or any other person. We begin a study series to follow the life of David as king in waiting, focused on understanding God’s purpose for human interactions and relationships while waiting for fulfillment of his promise.
We continue the study series on The King and the People whereby we seek to understand God’s purpose for relationships between people and their government. The current study begins a sub series on the life of David as king in waiting. David became the king of Israel at the age of 30, approximately ten years after he was anointed. He accepted the anointing as God’s promise, though the anointing did not provide any information on how or when he would become king. Also, he understood that he would have to follow God’s schedule, though God did not reveal the schedule to him or any person, not even Prophet Samuel that anointed David. Therefore, David would wait for God to fulfill his promise in his way and at his time.
We follow David’s life during the period to understand the events he encountered, how he responded in the events, and the outcome of each event. Our study will identify events that contributed positively toward his becoming king and those that appeared to contribute negatively. David’s life during the period teaches us that waiting for God’s time means working with God. His response in several events made positive impact among the people and built his reputation as a potential future leader.
Furthermore, we see David’s experience during the period as a manifestation of Human Relationship with God Regarding Work, where we discuss the understanding that God defines a mission for every person, divides the mission into task increments, and provides the person guidance to proceed with and complete the task on time. Each task, if completed, leads to a miracle and ushers in the next task. To receive and complete the tasks, one needs to stay connected to God by praying continually and living in the image of God. The study series will show that when David interacted with people in accordance with the principles of living in the image of God (e.g., see Keeping Watch by Living in the Image of God), the outcome of the event contributed positively toward his preparation to become king.
In this bible study, we discuss the anointing of David to understand that God provided the anointing as promise to David but withheld the timetable for fulfillment of the promise. Also, we discuss a need of king Saul that opened opportunity for David to begin service in Saul’s army, thereby ushering him onto a step to begin training for leadership of Israel.
The Anointing of David
God instructed Prophet Samuel to go and anoint a son of Jesse to become the next king of Israel [1 Samuel 16:1]: “Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” He revealed to Samuel later that David was the chosen son. Because Saul was still occupying the throne, making a new king would require a transition (transfer of authority) from Saul to the new king and Saul needed to be involved somehow in the transition. However, God did not inform Samuel about any transition and Samuel feared for his life if Saul should find out he anointed another person to be king. In response, God instructed Samuel to arrange for a sacrifice there and perform the anointing during the sacrifice [1 Samuel 16:2–3]: “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.” Therefore, Samuel arranged for sacrifice there to disguise the anointing from Saul and other members of the public. Thus, God withheld his plan for the transition, and with it his timetable for David becoming king. He did not reveal the plan or schedule to any person, not even Prophet Samuel.
Therefore, Samuel anointed David king in a private family ceremony. He was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons. God chose him because his heart showed him well suited to be king: “…People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” [1 Samuel 16:7]. David was anointed but was not told how or when he will become king. In hindsight, based on the events of his life as king in waiting and the effects of the events on his transition to kingship, we can surmise that God wanted more life experience for David as part of his and Israeli people’s preparation for his kingship. Because the schedule was not revealed to him or any person, he responded to the events as he naturally would. Therefore, we can learn from his responses to understand the positives and negatives and apply the understanding to our everyday life as we wait for fulfillment of God’s promise.
For example, we can learn based on David’s experience that implementation of God’s calling may often include a period of preparation. David was called to be king but first will undergo a period of preparation of approximately ten years that included several events to grow his experience and reputation among the people of Israel.
David Enters Military Service Under Saul
David was brought to provide palliative care to Saul because Saul was being tormented by an evil spirit. Saul’s attendants had appealed to him to let them find someone that can play harp for him [1 Samuel 16:16]: “Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the lyre. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes on you, and you will feel better.” Saul approved and David was invited based on his reputation as a brave man that played the harp and radiated Godliness: “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him” [1 Samuel 16:18].
David was effective in caring for the king [1 Samuel 16:23]: “And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.” He recognized when Saul needed care and provided service (played his harp) diligently to alleviate the need. Recognizing a need and providing service diligently to alleviate the need are key aspects of living in the image of God as Christ taught through the parable of the Good Samaritan (Love through Compassion—Parable of the Good Samaritan). David’s diligence and care became the foundation for his reputation with Saul and other observers.
Saul loved David and made him his armorbearer. Thus, David entered military service under Saul and played the harp for him as palliative care when needed. As we see in subsequent studies under this series, David’s entry into military service provided opportunity for him to grow his reputation as a potential leader for Israel.
Summary of What We Learned
At times, God does not reveal the schedule for fulfillment of his promise but expects the recipient to follow the schedule. For example, David was anointed king of Israel but did not know how or when he will become king. He accepted the anointing as God’s promise and became king later following God’s schedule, though the schedule was not revealed to him or any other person. We begin a study series to follow the life of David as king in waiting, focused on understanding God’s purpose for human interactions and relationships while waiting for fulfillment of his promise.
The current study discusses the anointing of David to understand that God provided the anointing as promise to David but withheld the timetable for fulfillment of the promise. Also, the study discusses a need of king Saul that opened opportunity for David to begin service in Saul’s army, thereby ushering him onto a step to begin preparation for leadership of Israel.