The Anointing of David
January 22nd, 1961 @ 7:30 PM
1 Samuel 16:1-13
THE ANOINTING OF DAVID
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Samuel 16:1-13
1-22-61 7:30 p.m.
All of us now turn in our Bibles to 1 Samuel, chapter 16. And the message tonight is the first thirteen verses, and we shall read them together. This is a pivotal night. We begin preaching in the life of David, the sweet psalmist-singer of Israel. First Samuel chapter 16, verses 1 through 13: I could not think of a study, a series of preaching that would bless one’s heart more than to follow the life of the king of Israel, the type and precursor of our Lord. This is the birth roll of Jesus, the Son of David. That is the way the Gospel begins in Matthew 1:1. First Samuel 16, everybody reading together, the first 13 verses. By the way, there are three sons named in there: Eliab, Abinadab and Shammah. Now when you come to those names, do not say “Blah, blah, blah.” That just sounds terrible to me; say, “Eliab” and “Abinadab” and Shammah.” All right, the first 13 verses, everybody together:
And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided Me a king among his sons.
And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord.
And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto Me him whom I name unto thee.
And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?
And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.
And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth: for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.
Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.
Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these.
And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.
[1 Samuel 16:1-13]
I do not know of an experience that rejoices my soul more than to hear this great congregation read the Word of the Lord. It was written to be read aloud, and to hear you say, “And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: this is he. And Samuel took the oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward” [1 Samuel 16:12-13]. This is the beginning of the dynasties of Israel. This is God’s anointed king to whom the Lord in heaven made covenant promise that he should never lack a son to sit upon his throne forever and ever [2 Samuel 7:12-16].
David is a type of our Lord. In the fifth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, when John wept because no man was found in earth or in heaven able to open the sealed book and to look thereon, then one of the elders answered and said, “Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to look upon the seals thereof, to open the book” [Revelation 5:4-5]. And in the twenty-second chapter of the Book of the Revelation, it closes, “I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and the Morning Star” [Revelation 22:16]. And when we read and study and preach about the life of this glorious king, we are preaching and studying and opening our hearts in the type of Him the greater King who sits upon David’s throne forever, someday to be established in this earth where we shall see His face and be the subjects of His glorious kingdom [Revelation 22:3-5].
Now, the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Samuel closed with Samuel and Saul as each one from Gilgal went up to his own house [1 Samuel 15:34]. Saul went up to his house to Gibeah, and Samuel went to Ramah. There was his house. And at the edge of the town, he had the school of the prophets [1 Samuel 10:5]. And there Samuel judged Israel for forty years [1 Samuel 7:17, Acts 13:21].
And there he mourned and wept for Saul. “Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless, Samuel mourned for Saul [1 Samuel 15:35], “And the Lord said unto Samuel, ‘How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, how long’” [1 Samuel 16:1].
I read one time in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, their daily newspaper, that little “Hambone” cartoon, and Hambone, the old Negro colored man, is walking down the road singing a song. And he sings this song:
Dry them tears,
You can’t see the road
With your eyes full of crying.
The Lord helps those
What am a trying.
Dry them tears.
So the Lord says to Samuel, “The divine purpose and the elective call of God cannot wait upon such pitying, nor are we to linger at the graves of our dead past. Arise to the work and the will of God.” “How long,” said God to Samuel, “wilt thou mourn for Saul? Arise. Fill thine horn with oil. I will send thee to Bethlehem, for there have I raised up a king, a man after My own heart” [1 Samuel 16:1].
And this is the beginning in the book of the life of David, in a dramatic contrast between the hope of his fresh young life and that of Saul whose life is descending down to the fateful fields of Gilboa. Saul had rejected the Lord, and God had rejected Saul from being king over Israel [1 Samuel 16:1].
Now, there are four great words here in the Bible concerning the choice of David, and the first one is this: in 1 Samuel 13:14, “The Lord hath sought Him a man after His own heart.” We don’t know when God is passing by, seeking goodly pearls, looking at you and you and you. “And the Lord hath sought Him a man,” said Samuel, God walking among His people, seeking these to whom He can entrust the kingdom of God, some to pray and intercede, some to teach and to labor, some to sing and to preach, and all of us to serve in His name. “The Lord hath sought Him a man after His own heart” [1 Samuel 13:14].
Now the second word is in Psalm 89:20, “I have found David My servant.” It has the same ecstasy as in the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Luke, where it is twice mentioned, “I have found the sheep” [Luke 15:6]. “I have found the coin” [Luke 15:8-9]. “This my son was lost, and is found, dead and alive again” [Luke 15:24]. “I have found David” [Psalm 89:20]. When did the Lord find that boy? When did He find David? Was it early in the morning at the first dawn as the boy led the sheep from the fold to the pasture? Was it then that God found him? Was it in the morning when he rescued that trembling lamb from the jaw of the lion or the paw of the bear? [1 Samuel 17:37]. Was it then that He found him? Was it in the afternoon when in the quiet mist of that pastoral scene his heart first opened to receive the message of the twenty-third Psalm? [Psalm 23:1-6]. Was it then that God found him? Or was it at night under the azure blue of the chalice of the sky when he heard the music of the spheres and the heavens declare the glory of God [Psalm 19:1]. He found him when? It doesn’t say. But there was a moment; there was a time when God, seeking that man, found him. And there he was, the shepherd lad.
Now, the third in the Psalms 78:70, “And He chose David, and took him from the sheepfolds to shepherd His people, Israel” [Psalm 78:70-71]. The same type of thing you have back here in 1 Samuel 13, “The Lord has appointed him to be a prince over His people” [1 Samuel 13:14]. However Saul may threat and persecute and seek David’s life, he is the appointed of God, and all of the angels in the lower abyss and all of the fortunes of life cannot stay that elective purpose! Our lives are immortal until our work is done! Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid, nor tremble. However persecution may come, however waves may rage and the ocean may roar, if you’re in God’s work, doing God’s task, in God’s assignment, you’re immortal. “God hath appointed Him a prince over His people” [1 Samuel 13:14]. And our exaltations and our appointments and our preferments are to come from God always; not self-sought, but the choice and the elective call of heaven.
And then the fourth great word about the choice of Samuel in 16:1, “For I have provided Me a king [1 Samuel 16:1]. That settles everything. I have provided Me a king.” Every time and in every instance and in every place in God’s critical hour, there does God raise Him up a man for that hour; always, always. He may be in a mountaineer’s cabin in North Carolina. He may be in a shepherd’s hut following a flock in Arizona. He may be in a poor laborer’s cottage on the other side of the Trinity River, but God has His chosen man for God’s time and God’s hour. On the backside of the desert did He appear to a shepherd man named Moses [Exodus 3:1-3], saying, “I have heard the cry of My people, and I have sent thee to deliver My people, Israel” [Exodus 3:9-10].
Or it may be Elijah, when Ahab, the imperious king, spurred into that slaughter and murder by Jezebel [1 Kings 21:5-15], standing in the Naboth’s vineyard where the dogs have licked up the blood of Naboth, and there out of the blue of the sky stands Elijah, the man of God [1 Kings 21:17-20]. Or John the Baptist out of the wilderness of Judea dressed in a garment made out of leather, eating locusts and wild honey [Matthew 3:4], the subject to no man, obedient only to the commands of God. “In those days came Ioannes no baptistes, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” God’s man [Matthew 3:1-2].
“I have provided Me a king” [1 Samuel 16:1], and this is David. May I speak of three or four or five things of the formative influences that entered into the molding of his life? The first one is this: his ancestral home, “I will send thee to Bethlehem” [1 Samuel 16:1]. That is the home of Boaz [Ruth 1:22-24], and in that ancestral home, the boy grew up [1 Samuel 16:1]. In the days of Boaz, it was much affluent, but the Philistine garrison that had been stationed at Bethlehem had impoverished the people, and in that family were eight sons and two daughters [2 Chronicles 2:13-16]. So they seemed not to have been so affluent as the home was in the days of Boaz. But there, with those precious memories did the boy grow up [1 Samuel 16:11].
The second formative influence in his life was his mother. He never refers to his father. David never mentions his father, but twice he refers to his mother as being the handmaid of the Lord [Psalm 86:16, 116:16]. It was from his mother that he inherited that sensitive nature and that music and that poetry of his soul.
When I think of David and his mother, I think of Dr. Truett, the great pastor of this church for forty-seven years, and his mother. Dr. Truett’s father was not converted until he was beyond forty years of age, but his mother belonged to a family of Baptist preachers, and she was a godly, consecrated and holy woman. And from her, that boy inherited those spiritual sensitivities that glorified and graced the preaching of the Son of God for two generations. Doubtless, it was David’s mother who first heard the boy sing those psalms that have soothed the world in the years and millenniums since.
The father did not even think it of a part of the family that the little boy be called when the family feast was provided and Samuel had sanctified the sons. Didn’t even think to call him. The boy didn’t quite belong. He was out there and forgotten and neglected [1 Samuel 16:5-12]. But that mother, I would think she remembered David. And that mother that so shaped and so formed his life—and I don’t mean by that that David might have failed to honor his father and mother. For example, it says here in the story that, when he was persecuted by Saul, David went to [the] king [of] Moab and asked [the] king [of] Moab to keep his father and his mother until God should make known what should happen to him [1 Samuel 22:3]. He took care of them, he honored them. But I’m just saying that it was his mother that he refers to, and it was from his mother that he inherited those soul sensitivities that made him such a sweet singer and such an one as could portray the sweep of emotions in the heart, and the hurt and the tears and the joy and the gladness that fills all of our lives who are in this earthly pilgrimage.
Now, a third influence that formed his life is nature. God kept him out in the fields. God kept him out in the pastures. God kept him out in those rugged hills and in those deep valleys, and there did he hear God speak. In the quietness of an afternoon and evening and in the nighttime, they were not silent. “The heavens declared the glory of God” [Psalm 19:1], and that shepherd boy heard God speak. And in nature, he found the great hand of the Creator, and he sang those songs and composed those psalms and played on his harp. I suppose he thought just the sheep were listening, but God bent down His ear to hear. And the angels stopped to listen as that lad played on his harp and sang those psalms. Nature taught him.
And then the fourth great formative influence of his life, “and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him” [1 Samuel 16:13]. Indescribable, how you feel when God moves in your soul, and that feeling is not just the testimony, the witness of a man. It comes in boyhood or in girlhood, the moving of the Spirit of God, brooding over that young life, molding that young heart, preparing David to be the type and the precursor, the great king of the people of the Lord.
And now may I speak of the story here? “Arise, arise, anoint him: this is he,” said God to Samuel, “and Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him from that day forward” [1 Samuel 16:12-13]. Now, I am to speak of that day, “From that day forward,” that day. Well, it dawned just like any other day. There was no angel that trumpeted it. There was no great angelic announcement from glory, just like any other, ordinary day. And in the early, early dawn, as the sun first set forth its rays over the purple hills of Moab, the lad arose as he had in days before, and guided his sheep from the fold to the pasture, and as the day wore on, the lad, out there with his sheep—he was binding up the broken, he was ministering to the sick and the lame, and he was taking care of the lambs, and he was seeking the lost—just ministering to his sheep. And then, and then, and then there came running up to the lad a breathless messenger, and the messenger says, “Your father hath sent for you. Come immediately; for the great prophet has sanctified the family, and the great prophet says he will not sit down to eat till thou be come!” [1 Samuel 16:11].
Can you imagine it? Can you think of it? Can you see the light that, that glows, that burns— that brightens in the eyes of that shepherd boy? Why, he had never been a part of the family. They’d never invited him. The family had carried on its work, father and elder brothers, without him; he was never considered, just left out there with, as Eliab later said, those poor few sheep [1 Samuel 17:28]. But now, they have sent for him; he is to come, nor will the prophet sit down till he be there [1 Samuel 16:11].
With what eagerness does that lad turn his face to the home there in Bethlehem and to Samuel? What a remarkable thing, this boy. There was no bitterness in his heart. He was not contumacious, not ostentatious, not proud and lifted up in his spirit, just humble, doing the work assigned him by his father in his father’s house. And when he’s sent for and his father wants him, and Samuel says, “And we shall wait for the boy to come” [1 Samuel 16:11], ah, that lad, as he turns his face to the feast, and you look, you look. It says here, “And Samuel sanctified Jesse and his sons” [1 Samuel 16:5].
Each one of those men, Jesse the father, Eliab, Abinadab, Shammah, all seven of those boys, went through those ablutions and those purifications in order to appear in the presence of God [1 Samuel 16:5]. But you look! The minute that boy came he was ruddy; of a beautiful countenance, goodly to look to [1 Samuel 16:12]—no need to sanctify a boy like that! The Lord said, “Arise, anoint him: this is he” [1 Samuel 16:12]. His life was so pure, and the devotion of his heart was so single. And every thought of his heart and soul was so given to God, no need to sanctify, no ablutions for that lad coming from the presence of God. “Arise,” said the Lord, “Arise and anoint; this is he, this is he [1 Samuel 16:12], the man after My own heart” [1 Samuel 13:14]. And he’s a boy, and he’s a lad, unshaven, ruddy, of a beautiful countenance, goodly to look to [1 Samuel 16:12]. And the Lord loved him [1 Samuel 13:14]. Why, just to follow the story warms your soul.
Well, the lad bows in the presence of Samuel, and Samuel pours on his head, the anointing oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon him from that day forward, oil, a figure of the anointing of God [1 Samuel 16:13]. As the dove came upon Jesus, when praying, He was baptized, praying, and He was baptized not only in the water but in the Spirit of God [Luke 3:21-22]. As the disciples at Pentecost, while they prayed, in lambent flames of fire the Spirit of God descending—like oil [1 Samuel 16:13], like a dove [Luke 3:22], like the fire that burns [Acts 2:1-4]. And from that day forward, God was with him in power and unction [1 Samuel 16:13]. There are two works of the Holy Spirit of God. One is regenerating [Titus 3:5], and the other is enduement, endowment for a ministry and a service [1 Corinthians 12:11]. The Lord regenerated the boy when he first trusted in Jehovah Jesus, just like the Spirit of God regenerated you when you were saved [Titus 3:5]. And then there is another blessing, another enduement, another endowment, and that’s when the Holy Spirit comes upon a soul to enable him for the work whereunto God hath called him [Acts 13:2]. And that’s the enduement, baptism, the unction, the visitation from above that fell upon David here, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward [1 Samuel 16:13].
He was God’s man doing God’s work, God’s king and shepherd over His people. Now, the story ends like that. And the lad goes back to his sheep and back to the humble tasks assigned him. But one day, God will lift him up and exalt him; He will us. Our tasks may be menial, and our assignments may be very humble and very quiet like keeping sheep, like sweeping the floor, like working at a sink, like keeping children, like raising babies, like working at the store, like getting up in the morning for the daily tasks. But to those who look to God, someday the Lord will highly exalt them [1 Peter 5:6]. When Jesus is glorified, His people shall be glorified with Him. If our Lord lives we shall live too [John 14:19]. If Christ shall reign, we shall reign too [Revelation 22:3-5]. If He has a kingdom, we shall have a kingdom too [Luke 12:32]. If our Lord is in glory, we shall be in glory too [John 14:3]. If He sits upon a throne, we shall sit upon a throne too [Revelation 3:21]. All that is of God in Christ Jesus is ours, a fellow heir forever in Him [Romans 8:17]. Oh, the riches of His grace to those who trust their souls to Jesus! [Ephesians 2:7].
And that’s the appeal we make to your heart tonight. Down one of these aisles, down one of these stairways, here, “Pastor, tonight, I give you my hand. I give my heart to Jesus, and here I come.” Has the Lord sought you out? Do you feel in your soul God’s call to you? Then would you come? Would you come, tonight taking Jesus as Savior, tonight answering a special call, or tonight putting your life with us in the fellowship of this precious congregation? As the Spirit shall say the word, shall make appeal, shall lead the way, shall open the door, would you come? Would you make it now? On the first note of the first stanza, “Here I am, pastor, and here I come. I’ll make it tonight.” Would you? While we stand and while we sing.
THE ANOINTING OF
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Samuel 16:1-13
Introduction to David
1. David was the
sweet singer of Israel
2. Ancestor of
3. Founder of the
dynasty of Judah
4. A man after God’s
5. David is a type
of our Lord
Contrast between Saul and David
1. Saul rejected
2. God sought the
man after His own heart
God selects His messengers; David, Elijah, John the Baptist
Influences on David’s life
1. From Bethlehem
2. David’s mother
4. The Holy Spirit
Rejected by his own father and his brothers, chosen and exalted by God