In May, we started watching the Bible Series again. This time with our church family at Grace. I wanted to share a few reflections on each episode.
This episode was another good episode and mostly accurate to the biblical story, though, once again, there were a few minor details that were off.
While watching this episode, I was drawn to ask a few questions. First, was God’s plan for Israel to have a king? In this episode, it almost seemed like God did not want Israel to have a king, but gave them a king even though it was not part of His plan. If we believe that God is sovereign and does not depend on people, then this outlook could present some philosophical problems for us. If God is sovereign and if He does not depend on people, then He is working to carry out His plan and fulfil His purpose, not that invented by people.
In order to discover whether or not God’s plan was that Israel should have a king, we must consider some things that are written in the book of Judges. In Judges 18:1, it is revealed that since there was no king of Israel, one of the tribes, the Danites, sought an inheritance for themselves because they had not yet received an inheritance in the promised land. In seeking this inheritance for themselves, they rebelled against God. In Judges 19:1, the statement is repeated. There was no king in Israel and civil war erupted because everyone wanted to do what was right in his or her own eyes. In Judges 21:25, the statement is repeated again. There was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. There needed to be a king after God’s own heart for the purpose of Israel’s accountability before God as God builds his kingdom and establishes His creation, but this king was not to be like the kings of other nations, seeking self-gain. This episode claimed he was made king to unite Israel and remove the Philistines from the promised land. This cannot be true. In 1 Samuel 8:7, God tells Samuel to listen to what the Israelites are asking for even though Samuel did not agree. Israel needed a king because they had rejected God as their king (doing what was right in their own eyes). A king was part of God’s plan just as the Law was part of God’s plan. These instruments were used by God to stand as a testimony against the people and to highlight the insufficiencies of people, namely our inability to be righteous or to achieve the glory of God. Jesus would be the final king and He reigns forever, causing His Holy Spirit to reign in the hearts of His people forever.
God anointed Saul (1 Samuel 10:1). He chose Saul to be Israel’s first king. Surely God did not make a mistake. Saul was 30 when he became king. He was 72 when he died and when David became king (1 Samuel 13:1). David was also 30 when he became king (2 Samuel 5:4). This means that there were 12 years from the time Saul became king to when David was born. David would have had to be old enough to keep the flocks when he was anointed. There were about 22 years that Saul reigned before he was rejected by God. In 1 Samuel 13:14, we read that at this point, God had already (it is past tense) sought out for Himself a man after His own heart and appointed him as ruler over His people. God intentionally anointed Saul even though Saul’s line was not the enduring kingly line already appointed by God. At the same time, Saul proved that he was not a man after God’s own heart, but only self-interested. If anyone could keep the command of God, his kingdom would have been established over Israel forever. God raised up Saul so that God’s righteousness would be made evident. David sinned, too, but he was a man after God’s own heart because he lived by the faith given Him by God. Thus, he served the purpose of a godly king. It is like God is working all things together for His glory and in a way that no human person can boast.
David’s anointing was presented differently in this episode than in the Bible. Samuel visited Jesse, David’s father, and looked at David’s seven older brothers before finally discovering that David, the youngest and not even present with his other brothers, was God’s anointed king. God, again, did things in such a way that He received all glory and people could not boast.
This episode did well in pointing out that Uriah was one of Davids mighty men and a close friend of David. This shows the devastating effects of sin. It also shows a great measure of grace and God’s desire to use unrighteous people so that His righteousness may be made evident. In the biblical story, though, David did not fight Nathan. Instead, he repented of his indiscretion and willingly accepted the discipline from God. That, I think, is one difference between a person after God’s own heart and a person who is not. They accept discipline and grow from it. That is part of sanctification for those who are in Christ. Be sure to search “What is righteousness” at christoa.com to see more about God’s righteousness being made evident by our unrighteousness.