I Sam. 14:47-16:23; Ps. 23:1-6
“So Saul established his sovereignty over Israel…” The Lord allowed Saul to prevail against his enemies. His cousin, Abner became commander of his army.
During the wilderness wandering, the Amalekites had fought against God’s children. Then, many years later, the Lord instructed Saul through Samuel to utterly (completely, leaving nothing) destroy them as punishment for their evil deeds. He had a “better idea.” Instead of following God’s requirements, they took King Agag as a prisoner and the best of their livestock as spoil.
As man has done throughout history, Saul blamed someone else for his shortcomings. In the Garden of Eden, Eve blamed the serpent for her sin; Adam blamed the woman; and Saul said, “…the people spared the best of the sheep and the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God…” We, like Saul are responsible for our own actions and will be held accountable.
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord?…He also has rejected you from being king.”
Those words stung the proud king like the sting of a bee. He confessed that he had sinned and begged Samuel not to leave him. However, Samuel turned back and accompanied Saul as he worshipped the Lord.
After executing Agag, Samuel, “went no more to see Saul until the day of his death.” Samuel mourned for Saul and God regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel.
Samuel was deeply distressed and mourned Saul’s departure from God. It was time to move on. God sent him to Jesse to anoint one of his sons to be the next king. After his seven brothers had been rejected by God, the boy, David was brought in from tending the sheep. He was selected to succeed Saul. David, the son of Jesse was a great-great grandson of Rahab and a great grandson of Ruth.
Upon being anointed by Samuel, “The Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” As the Spirit came upon David, a distressing spirit came upon Saul. He had left God and God had allowed an evil spirit (possibly depression?) to enter Saul.
Through a suggestion from one of Saul’s servants, David was selected to come and play the harp to help ease his depression. Since he did not know that he was his successor, David found favor with Saul and became his armor bearer as well as his musician.
During his lifetime, David was also a great writer. Many of the psalms are attributed to him. Since he had been a shepherd, he wrote about the relationship of the Lord and His sheep in one of the most quoted passages in the Scriptures. It is possible that this may have been written to provide comfort to Saul during his periods of depression.
Sheep are totally dependent upon their shepherd for their care and protection. God, the Good Shepherd provides everything necessary for our spiritual and material well-being. Even as this life nears its end, God has made preparation for us to, “Dwell in the house of the lord forever.”