The Story Week 11: “From Shepherd to King”

March 26, 2017

The Story Week 11: “From Shepherd to King”

1 Samuel  and 1 Chronicles


Intro:  David is one of the key figures not only in Scripture but in history.  He was known as: a giant killer; a mighty warrior; an exuberant king; a writer of psalms; an adulterer; a murderer.  But more than all of those things, he was known as a man after God’s own heart.  Today we will try to chase that theme throughout chapter 11 of The Story.


In this chapter we cover 15 years in the life of Israel.  We start with Samuel grieving over Saul and the change God made in his privilege to be king of Israel. We can understand his emotion.  It’s hard to let go of something you’ve poured your whole self into. (sports story here)


So God tells Samuel to get over it and get on with finding the next king.  And as Samuel goes to the house of Jesse and looks with his eyes for the next king, God let’s him in on this little secret:

“People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7b) And as God is so prone to do, it turns out that it is the youngest of the sons of Jesse - considered the least among his brothers - who is called by God to become king.


That idea about God caring about the heart was not just true of the choice of a new king.  It is still true today.  God still looks beyond outward appearances today and knows our heart.  He knows our hearts when we are doing right and when we are messing up. That fact ought to produce in us comfort and a reverent fear.  As we go through this part of God’s story today, let’s pay attention to this truth and ask God to examine our own hearts.  Let us pray.


We come to one of the most famous stories in the Bible.  One that is referred to in many conversations in many different settings.  Can you name it?  David and Goliath.  The whole theme of the little guy defeating the giant has been made into hundreds of movies and has been a model held by businesses throughout the ages.  Let’s stop for a moment and see where we see proof of David being a man after God’s own heart.


1 Samuel 17:4-11      Meet Goliath, enemy of Israel

He was a baddy!! He was mean and strong and intent on bringing the hurt to Israel’s army. He was the weapon the Philistines were going to use to destroy the nation of Israel.


Now Jesse wants to check on his older sons who are all on the front lines of the war against the Philistines, so he sends David with a picnic for them.  And when David gets to the camp he sees  that something is up and becomes very inquisitive and starts asking questions.


1 Samuel 17:20-26    David assesses the situation


I can imagine this young guy walking in on this situation and shaking his head in unbelief at the cowardice of the fighting men.  He saw things from a different perspective.  The army was caught up in fear of the enemy, but David coming with a heart seeking God sees it differently and says in verse 26:  “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”  


You see, the army had forgotten who they were fighting for.  It wasn’t Saul, it was God. They were God’s army.  But they had ceased to call on God or rely on Him for strength. And do you know what?  You also belong to God.  Living in obedience which we talked about last week, means living in line with God’s will and standing against God’s foe whenever we see him challenged.  How are we at that?  I’m thinking we may be more like Saul and his army than we’re like David. Look at where Christianity has gone in our society.


Let’s read the next part.


1 Samuel 17:32-37    David is focused not on his smallness but on God’s bigness


Saul has forgotten God’s power and authority and sees David going against the giant as futile.  But David shares his fighting credentials the most important of which is the presence of God.  Verse 36-37 has David say:  “I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God!  The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”


Do you catch the focus of David’s outrage? It’s not about politics, it’s about the God he loves and adores.  The God he writes songs and sonnets to.  The God he understands to be worthy of all love and praise and honor and glory.  And this is what he is prepared to defend.  Not the power of the army but the honor of God.  Do you think that sometimes as Christians, we forget what we should be getting angry about?  We focus on issues instead of the honor of God?  I challenge us this week to look at the news differently.  To look at politics differently.  To look at any controversy we encounter differently.  When we are in those situations ask, “Am I more concerned about the outcome for the people/situation here or am I concerned about what will bring God honor and glory.  IF we are going to live like the people of God we have to acknowledge that God actually matters in our daily life and circumstances!


1 Samuel 17:45-51    David responds to Goliath and defeats him


That story is the stuff of hero making.  And David is Israel’s hero.  And it wasn’t long until Saul became jealous of this young, handsome, fearless, boy.


The story goes on to tell how Saul offered David his eldest daughter but how David held out for the younger Michal; how Saul attempted to kill David on numerous occasions and how David had the chance to kill Saul, but used it as an opportunity to seek reconciliation.  It tells of the deep bond of friendship, of brotherhood really, that grew between Saul’s son, Jonathan, and David. We have the report of Samuel’s death. It tells of how Saul died by falling on his sword and how Jonathan was killed in battle.  And it gets around to David becoming king and the work begun of bringing unity among the 12 tribes of Israel. There are many battles recorded.  But I want to skip ahead to 2 Samuel 17.  


1 Chronicles 17:1-15    The temple building discussion

David so wanted to do what was right by God.  Wanted to honor God and give him his due.  Have you ever tried to do something really special for someone only to discover it’s not what they wanted at all?  That’s what David encountered here.  Nathan is now the prophet of Israel and the one who helps David know what is right by speaking God’s will to him.  


David wanted to honor God by building him a permanent dwelling place. God responds that he has never complained about dwelling in a tent among his people.  And he let’s David know that it’s not a task assigned to him, but one of his sons. And then God totally turns the tables and says, “Instead, David, I am going to build you a house - a dynasty of kings.”  And there came a succession of kings who ruled over Israel and the highlight of the genealogy was the Messiah himself, Jesus the Christ - King of kings and Lord of lords who would do the will of the Father, the God of Israel, perfectly.  The Messiah who would bring peace forever and whose kingdom will never end.


1 Chronicles 17:16-27    David’s prayer of humility and gratitude


What is your attitude towards God and the ways he has blessed your life?  David certainly had hardship and pain but he continually focused on the truth of God’s goodness.  That focus empowered him to praise God always and never give up even when things were so dark. And God chose to bless David.


Concl.  Each of us has a choice about who we are going to honor and serve.  Each of us gets to decide how we will honor God or some lesser thing.  And make no mistake - everything and everybody is lesser than God. Part of David’s legacy was to be known as “A man after God’s own heart” because that was his continual aim.  He did not do it perfectly, but the desire was always there.  In humility he was open to rebuke and redirection.  He was teachable. His trust in God never failed even through the loss of an infant son and best friend. He made a choice to focus on God’s goodness and faithfulness.  He made a choice to seek and honor God no matter what life threw at him. 


What choices will you make?  Who will you put at the center of your life?  What will it look like to put Jesus at the center?  Are we serious about living for the God of the angel armies?  Are we committed to lifting up Jesus Christ and honoring him as the King of kings and Lord of our lives?


The world needs hope.  The world needs a Savior.  God has entrusted you and me with the gospel.  Will we be faithful?  Will we proclaim the mighty name of Jesus in our daily lives?


Let us pray.