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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 16

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-23

Chapter 16

So God said to Samuel, How long are you gonna mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from being the king, or reigning over Israel? [This change of attitude, "I've rejected him, now how long are you gonna mourn?"] fill your horn with oil, and go, and I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided a king from among his sons. And Samuel said, Lord if Saul hears I've gone down to anoint someone else to be king, he'll kill me ( 1 Samuel 16:1-2 ).

Now that shows you how far Saul has strayed from the Lord, and the things of the Lord, he would actually kill the prophet of God. Samuel realized this, "This guy is really gone off the deep end. Lord if he hears I'm going to go down and anoint another king, he's gonna kill me."

And the Lord said, Well take with you a heifer, and [if they say, Where are you going?] just say, I'm going to offer a sacrifice. And then invite Jesse and his sons to come to the sacrifice. So Samuel came down to the house of Jesse, [and he said to Jesse] Jesse said to him, Have you come peaceably? And he said, Yes, I've come peaceably: I've come to sacrifice to the Lord: so sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, called them to the sacrifice. And it came to pass, when the first son came in, Eliab, [he was a good-looking fellow,] and Samuel thought, Oh surely this good looking fellow is the one the Lord has chosen. ["This is God's choice."] And God spoke to Samuel, and said, Don't look on the outward appearance, [because I don't judge as men judge; men judge from the outward appearance. God said, I judge the heart. So don't judge from just the outward appearance, I'm judging the hearts. Eliab is not the one."] For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward, God looks on the heart. So he called his next son Abinadab, the Lord said, [Nope.] And so he called Shammah. And the Lord said, [Nope.] And he made all seven sons to pass before Samuel. And the Lord said no to all of them. [Samuel said, "Uh oh, what's going on here?"] Do you have any more sons? is that all? He said, Well the other one's just a little boy, he's out watching the sheep. Samuel said, Call him in. [And as David came in with the smell of the sheep and the fields upon him, as a little boy,] the Lord spoke to Samuel, now he was ruddy, [Had a good tan.] but withal he had a beautiful face, and he was just good looking. And the Lord said, Arise, and anoint him: for this is the one. And Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers: and the spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose, and went back to Ramah ( 1 Samuel 16:2-13 ).

So here's the anointing of David to be king over Israel. Now Saul was still on the throne, though David is now God's anointed and God's choice for king, still Saul is on the throne. We're going to notice in the next few chapters that Saul is now gonna do his very best by force to hang on to that which is no longer rightfully his. In a true, rightful sense, David is king. He's been anointed king. The anointing of God and the power of His Spirit and the anointing is resting upon David as king; however, Saul is still on the throne. Saul is gonna try to drive David out of the kingdom by force, the kingdom which is now rightfully his.

There's the sequel to this. Jesus through His death upon the cross has redeemed the world back to God and is now the rightful King, God's choice and God's anointed. However, Satan is still upon the throne and Satan is doing his best to hold by force, that which is no longer rightfully his, doing his best to hold back the kingdom of God from the earth. But Jesus Christ is the rightful King, and we can claim His victory, and we can force the enemy off of His territory. But the enemy is stubborn. He only yields when he must; thus, your prayers must be specific.

Instead of "God save the world," you've got to bring individuals before God, specific individuals, and say, "Lord, You died that You might reign as King in their lives, and they're being held by the power of Satan and the power of darkness, but Jesus has defeated the powers of the enemy.

Colossians, chapter two, "He triumphed over these principalities and powers, through His cross making an open display of His victory."

"Therefore, I claim the victory of Jesus Christ in this life, and I come against the power of Satan that is holding them captive. I come against the powers of darkness that have blinded their eyes to the truth. In Jesus' name, release them from this blindness, from the prejudice that Satan has poisoned their minds against the Lord." I can set them free from this power of Satan that they might have a freedom of choice.

Why do not men choose Christ? Because Satan has so controlled their mind and holds them under his grip so that they cannot have a free choice. They are actually being held captives by Satan who has taken them captive, even against their wills. The god of this world has blinded their eyes that they cannot see the truth, so my prayer has to be directed towards the enemy. Claiming the victory of Christ in that life, and claiming Christ's victory until I see them set free from the blinding influence of Satan so that they can make a free choice. Any man when he can actually look at it with a free choice, without all the poison and prejudice that Satan has planted in their mind, would surely choose Jesus Christ. Only a fool would reject Him. So it is mine to bring them from the power and the captivity of Satan and set them free from this binding force, in order that they might make their choice for the true King. I can deliver people out of the power of darkness through prayer, this great spiritual weapon that God has made available to us.

But Satan is stubborn, he only yields when he must; therefore, your prayers have to be specific. He will counterattack as soon as you drive him off of his territory, he'll counterattack and try and take it back. Therefore, prayers must be persisted in, even after you begin to see the first signs of victory. Many times we make a mistake, we say, "Oh, look they went forward. Oh praise the Lord. Now who are we gonna work on?" We're no longer praying and holding that ground against the enemy, but Satan's gonna counterattack and gonna try and take back the territory from which he's been driven. Therefore we've got to hold it in prayer.

We are in a real warfare. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers," ( Ephesians 6:12 ) these forces of darkness. But though there is a tremendous battle that is going on between the forces of darkness and the forces of light, yet there is a decided victory already determined there at the cross, and it is ours to bring the victory of the cross into lives and into situations though prayer.

But Satan, as Saul, seeks to hold onto that which is no longer rightfully his. But when you come against him in the authority of the name of Jesus, he has to yield because he was defeated. But he is a brassy, stubborn guy. He'll come in where he has no business being. He'll take hold of that which he has no business having. Therefore, you have to deal with him very firmly in prayer. Not give place to him, not give him a place at all, but claim. Lay claim to the victories of Christ. You can have real victory in your life, you can bring victory to the lives of others around you through prayer.

So David was anointed to be king over Israel. Now at this particular point, we have an interesting scripture, difficult to understand, verse fourteen,

But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him ( 1 Samuel 16:14 ).

What does that mean "an evil spirit from the Lord?" Well, I guess it means an evil spirit from the Lord, but that is difficult for us to reconcile in our minds.

Now I don't want you all to get up and leave in a huff because I say something that may sound very radical. But I am convinced that in a unique and unusual kind of a way, Satan is actually serving God. He is serving purposes of God. If it were not for Satan then we would have no power of choice. If we had no power of choice, then God wouldn't know if you really loved Him or not.

Satan could not exist unless God allowed him to exist, and the very fact that God allows him to exist means that he must be serving a purpose for God, otherwise there would be no reason of having Satan around at all. If he were not serving a purpose of God then God surely wouldn't allow him his freedom today. But because he is serving a purpose of God, in order that you might be tested, in order that your love for God might indeed be a love of free choice, God has allowed Satan the liberty for he serves a purpose of God.

So in a broad sense all of creation is still serving the purposes of God. Even Satan, in his rebellion, for God has a purpose in that. You see, to give us the power of choice, and yet if there is no choice to make, what value is it to have a power of choice? "Here choose what book you want out of my hand."

"Well there is no choice."

In order to exercise choice there has to be the opposing side. So God has allowed Satan's rebellion, has allowed Satan to go on, has allowed Satan the freedom, has allowed Satan the freedom to come and to tempt you and to hassle you, and to work on you, and to make it difficult for you to serve God. So that as you serve God, it is because of choice of serving God in spite of the obstacles, in spite of the difficulties. "God, I do love You." My love for God is more or less proved by my choice to love Him in spite of the difficulty and obstacles that are placed in my way. Thus, God is assured that my love is genuine and my love for Him is true.

If I would say to my son, "Stay in the backyard while I go downtown." and I go out and chain him to the big tree. When I get home, I go in the backyard and unlock him and say, "Aha, I'm proud of my boy; he's obedient to his dad. Stayed right there in the backyard. Good boy." Proud father.

My neighbors say, "You should've heard him cursing and screaming trying to get free." He had no choice. There has to be the open door, the possibility, the opportunity to disobey in order that obedience is meaningful.

God wants from you meaningful love. Therefore, the choice must be given. Thus "an evil spirit from the Lord" or God allowed, perhaps, if that fits you better, an evil spirit to come, the spirit of the Lord.

Now I am convinced when the Spirit of God departs from your life, the door is open for evil spirits to really come. So an evil spirit allowed by the Lord, at least, came and began to harass Saul. The Spirit of God departed from him. What a sad time in a person's life when God's Spirit departs from his life. "And an evil spirit began to move in, and it troubled him."

And Saul's servants said, You need to find someone that's skillful of playing the harp, and when you get in these bad moods, [Then of course, that's actually what it was, he'd get mean, get sullen, and when these sullen mean streaks come on you,] then let him play on the harp skillfully, and let the beautiful music soothe you. And Saul said, Provide me a skillful harp player. And one of the servants said, I've seen a son of Jesse, he is a skillful player, he is a valiant man, a man of war, prudent in matters, he's a beautiful person, and the Lord is with him. [These qualifications of David capped off by "the Lord is with him", I love that.] Wherefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse, and he said, Send David your son, which is with the sheep. And Jesse took a donkey that was laden with bread, a bottle of wine, a young goat, and he sent them by David his son to Saul. And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer ( 1 Samuel 16:15-21 ).

Actually, David had a great admiration for Saul. Of course just a young boy, and he was at that hero age, and Saul, big, tall, handsome fellow became sort of a hero in David's eyes. David always respected Saul right to his death and even after his death. David never lost his respect for this man.

And Saul said to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he has found favour in my sight. And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took the harp, and he played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him ( 1 Samuel 16:22-23 ).

Now how long this went on we are not told. But this beautiful relationship was soon to be shattered as we get into chapter seventeen. Because of the time, we'll wait until next week and we'll start with chapter seventeen next Sunday night.

Shall we stand?

Listen in next week, same time, same station a continuation. Again may God grant to you a special blessing to you tonight as you drive home. May the Lord be with you even as He was with David. May your heart and life be open to the things of God's Spirit, and may you have blessed communion with the Lord through the week. May God bless you especially for the sacrifices that you have made to gather together in obedience to His command, of not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together in these last days. May the strength of the Lord, and the joy of the Lord be your portion for this week, as you walk in beautiful fellowship with Him. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 16". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/1-samuel-16.html. 2014.
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