Since the people got stuck in a cycle of sin during the time of the judges, it showed the need for a stable leader. Instead of relying on God or a godly leader, the people rejected the model of a king they needed.
The Rejection of Yahweh
- Judges 21:25 sets the stage: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
- Samuel has a miraculous birth and is given into service of the LORD (1 Sam. 1:15-20).
- Eli’s sons are rejected, and God calls Samuel into service (1 Sam. 2:12).
- The Philistines capture the ark (1 Sam. 4:3). Once Israel recovers it, Samuel confronts Israel (1 Sam. 7:3-4).
- After this event, Israel rejects Yahweh and demands an earthly king.
The First King
- In King Saul, Israel gets exactly the type of king they desired and exactly what they do not need (1 Sam. 9:2).
- Before a battle, Saul grows impatient waiting on Samuel to offer sacrifices so he performs the priestly duty himself (1 Sam. 13:8-12).
- As a result of disobedience, Samuel tells Saul that his house will not retain the throne and that God is raising someone else up who is a man after his own heart (1 Sam. 13:14).
The King After God’s Own Heart
- God leads Samuel to anoint the next king at the house of a man named Jesse (1 Sam. 16:1).
- Jesse brings out his sons – the most impressive first – since these would be the obvious choice.
- Samuel tells Jesse that God does not look at the outward appearance like men do, but he looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).
- David is the youngest son who works as a shepherd. Samuel anoints him king (1 Sam. 16:11-13).
God and Goliath
- David works in King Saul’s court by playing music for him (1 Sam. 16:18-23).
- When the Philistines come against Israel for war, they send out a giant named Goliath to challenge any Israelite and no one would face him (1 Sam. 17:1-11).
- David comes to observe the battle lines and becomes shocked that no one would challenge Goliath.
- David interprets this challenge as a man defying Yahweh and not threatening another warrior, and that is why he wants to fight (1 Sam. 17:26, 36).
- This bottom-level story is not modeling for readers on how to conquer giants or to develop bravery. This is a part of the top-level story of God letting himself be known among all the nations.
- God defeats Goliath by the hands of David, and both of their fame spread.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Distinctive Discipleship. He is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. Travis graduated from North Greenville University with a B.A. in Christian Studies and earned his M.Div. and D.Min. from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, with his doctoral focus on family discipleship.