God prepares a King


David’s ascension to the throne was no easy thing. It took time (about a decade), courage and endurance on his part. We see God prepare him for this in 1 Samuel 16:14ff. The setting is this: David had been anointed by Samuel to be the next king of Israel. Of course, Saul didn’t know this (v. 2), and David was given no timeline, only that it would happen at some time in the future.
As a result of his disobedience (13, 15), Saul had been rejected as king. Even though he would remain on the throne for some time, his reign was effectively over, and his kingship would not be passed on to his descendants (13:13-14). Furthermore, the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented Saul (v. 14). The people of Samuel’s time would have read this and nodded their heads — their God was sovereign over everything. They wouldn’t flinch as we moderns do at the thought of God doing such a thing. After all, He was sovereign over all. He didn’t cause the spirit to be evil; it was evil by choice. God simply used it to further His holy purposes. Samuel mourned over Saul while God regretted making him king (15:35). Saul was in a bad way.
Yet even in Saul’s punishment, there was mercy. His attendants decided Saul needed some music therapy, so they tried to think of someone who did that, and David’s name came up. (What a coincidence, right?). David was taken from his shepherding work and became part of Saul’s court. When the evil spirit would come on Saul, David would be summoned to play his lyre and Saul would find comfort.
Step back for a moment and think about what is going on: God is preparing David to be the next king of Israel. How so? First, David gets a good look at what happens when you disobey God. That had to be impacting. Still, I think that’s secondary to the truth that God used David to minister to Saul. David served his way to the throne! He didn’t fight, politic or talk his way to power — he served his way to it.
Sometime later, David went on to meet and defeat Goliath and the Philistines (17). Predictably, Saul was not happy about the attention this brought to David and took away from him, so he turned on the one who had brought him comfort, to the point of throwing a spear at David. David had already faced adversity on the battlefield and now he faced it in the king’s court from no less than the king himself. We’re told in 18:29 that Saul “remained his enemy the rest of his days.” For his part, David did not retaliate. Though he would have the opportunity to take Saul’s life on a couple of occasions, he refused to do so. His conduct shows his trust in God to preserve his life and place him on the throne when the time was right.
Through service and adversity, God prepared David for the kingship. My guess is neither of these things were what David would have chosen for himself (especially the adversity), yet they both served him well when he became king. We all experience things in our lives that at the time may not be pleasant, but if we will trustfully allow God to take us through them, they can turn out to be blessings to us and others.

Find more of Green’s writings at www.a-taste-of-grace-with-bruce-green.com