This reading from the last half of 1Samuel begins with Samuel anointing David as the 2nd king of Israel (1Sam.16:1-13). The most prominent feature of this kingly anointing is that Saul remains the king of Israel for many years. In fact, most of our reading today reports the many attempts by Saul to kill David. On the surface, it seems perplexing that David would receive the royal anointing on an incognito basis.
A deeper reading reveals the wisdom of God. The LORD had called Samuel to anoint a young Saul as the 1st king of Israel. He was from a lightly-regarded clan of Benjamin (1Sam. 9:21). He showed much promise to be a good king in his early years. But it seems that the stresses and the perks that came with the royal position was unable to be handled by Saul. His immaturity came to the surface and he never learned to deeply trust and obey the LORD (1Sam. 15). He acts rashly and foolishly at key times (1Sam. 14:24-44) and repeatedly gives himself over to fits of jealous rage. (1Sam. 18-20,23-24,26-27). He even resorts to consulting the witch of Endor (1Sam. 28).
The LORD’s approach with David seems different than it was with Saul. David is a young man, just like Saul was, when he’s anointed by Samuel to be the next king of Israel. It seems,however, that the many years that transpire before David officially became king of of Judah and Israel (2Sam. 2:1-7;5:1-5) served as a real testing and purifying time for the young man. He learned to trust the LORD deeply as he ran for his life in the desert. All these trials served God’s purposes regarding the maturation and preparation of David’s character to be a great king.
The time lapse between David’s anointing by Samuel and his official accession to the throne of Israel not only fulfills God’s maturation purposes for him, but also serves God’s purposes of using David as a type or foreshadowing of Christ. Jesus has been anointed by God’s Word and Spirit as God’s Son (Lk. 3:21,22) and as the Son of David (Lk. 3:23-31). Jesus died on the cross as the King of the Jews (Jo. 19:19,20) and was vindicated as LORD through His resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4,Phil. 2:9-11).
But even though Jesus is the Anointed and Vindicated King of
kings, He is not visibly reigning on His earthly throne. The eyes of faith see Him as King and Lord presently, and the believing heart submits to His kingship and lordship presently. But His visible reigning on earth awaits His second coming. Just as surely as David eventually became the visible king of Israel, so we can be sure that Jesus Christ will come back a second time and reign visibly in the new heavens and the new earth as the King of the world. This is the Good News of Jesus Christ. Pastor John