Syncing Up With God’s Plans | 1 Samuel 16:1-23

The Life of David

David is the Old Testament character that is spoken about most in the Bible. He wrote one of the most famous chapters in the Bible (Psalm 23) and is featured in other well-known Bible stories. He is also called “a man after God’s own heart.” In this message, however, Timothy “TA” Ateek points out that the most important thing about David is the way he is connected to and foreshadows Jesus Christ.

Timothy "TA" AteekAug 13, 20231 Samuel 16:1-23

In This Series (16)
Salvation is Here | Luke 1:26-38
Timothy "TA" AteekNov 26, 2023
Confidence in Our Great Shepherd | Psalm 23
Oren MartinNov 19, 2023
Leaving a Legacy | 1 Chronicles 28-29
John ElmoreNov 12, 2023
When Life Is Painful | 2 Samuel 15-18
Timothy "TA" AteekNov 5, 2023
What to Do When Stuck in Life | Psalm 40
Oct 29, 2023
How God Rescues Us From Sin | 2 Samuel 12
Timothy "TA" AteekOct 22, 2023
How to Stop Sinning | 2 Samuel 11
John ElmoreOct 15, 2023
Your Confidence, Treasure, and Counsel | Psalm 16
Jonathan LinderOct 8, 2023
Does God Really Love Me? | 2 Samuel 9
John ElmoreOct 1, 2023
God’s Better Plans | 2 Samuel 7:1-17
Timothy "TA" AteekSep 24, 2023
What's The Meaning of Life? | 2 Samuel 6
John ElmoreSep 17, 2023
Living in God’s Will | 2 Samuel 5
Timothy "TA" AteekSep 10, 2023
Trusting God When Wronged (and Trusting God When Wrong) | 1 Samuel 24
John ElmoreSep 3, 2023
Dealing with Other’s Success | 1 Samuel 18:1-16
Timothy "TA" AteekAug 27, 2023
God and Goliath | 1 Samuel 17:37-47
John ElmoreAug 20, 2023
Syncing Up With God’s Plans | 1 Samuel 16:1-23
Timothy "TA" AteekAug 13, 2023


In 1 Samuel 16, Samuel is sent by God to anoint the next king of Israel, David. But this moment in the life of David is more about God accomplishing His plans through people than it is about David. In this story, we can learn four things about God’s plans:

  • God’s plans are not ruined by man’s failures.
    • David was only anointed as king because God had rejected the first king, Saul (1 Samuel 16:1).
    • God rejected Saul because he disobeyed God and sought man’s approval rather than God’s (1 Samuel 15:23-24).
    • In our society, we have a tendency to turn Christian leaders into celebrities and imitate them more than we imitate God. We need to resist the urge to make messiahs out of messengers.
    • Saul failed to rule as God’s king, but his failure didn’t ruin God’s plan. Your own failures will not ruin God’s plans for your life.
    • 1 Samuel 16:1 says that God was providing a new king. God always provides what is needed for His plans to succeed.
  • God’s plans do not rest on man’s wisdom.
    • 1 Samuel 16:6 says that Samuel mistakes David’s oldest brother (Eliab) for the one to be anointed because he was tall and attractive.
    • God tells Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7 that “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
    • It turns out that Eliab had anger issues and a weak faith in God (1 Samuel 17).
    • Samuel needed God’s vision and wisdom in order to accomplish God’s plans.
    • We need to be more like a sailboat than a speedboat; we need to be moved by God rather than our own power.
  • God’s plans elevate unlikely people.
    • David was the youngest son in his family and considered insignificant by his father and brothers (1 Samuel 16:8-11).
    • This foreshadows Jesus as well. No one was more unlikely to be the Savior of the world than Jesus. He was born in an unknown town and was a simple carpenter. He was hated and crucified like a criminal. But God elevated Him and gave Him a name above every other name (Philippians 2:9).
    • When we are tempted to think “God could never use me,” we need to remember that God is not limited by human ability to accomplish His plans.
    • When we are tempted to think “God needs me,” we need to remember that God is self-sufficient and does not need anyone or anything.
  • God’s plan requires God’s presence.
    • In 1 Samuel 16:13, Samuel anoints David with oil, which symbolizes the presence of God completely covering David.
    • God equips David for the tasks He’s called him to.
    • As we look through David to the greater David (Jesus), we see that God’s Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove as He prepared for His ministry (Mark 1:10).
    • The Spirit is credited for the power displayed in Jesus’ miracles, death, and resurrection.
    • We have hope because God has given us the same Spirit to accomplish His plans on earth.
    • God’s presence is always the greatest provision for God’s plans.

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • What is your experience of how God’s plans are unfolding in your life right now? Do you feel hopeful, stressful, happy, angry, etc.?
  • Have you had any Saul-like times in your life where you felt like you were self-sufficient and didn’t need God? What happened?
  • Have you had any David-like times in your life where you felt overlooked and insignificant? What happened?
  • How can you grow in your trust of God and His plans for your life?
  • Additional Scripture: Genesis 1:28; Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 17:1-21; 1 Samuel 8-15; 2 Samuel 7:16; Matthew 1:1; Ephesians 1:21; Acts 13:22

Good morning, Watermark. How are we doing today? It's good to see you. I hope all is well. My name is Timothy Ateek, and I'm one of the teaching pastors here. If this is your first time ever at Watermark, let me just say, "Welcome." I'm so glad you made it. Thanks for trusting us with your Sunday. I hope this place feels like home very quickly.

We are starting a series through the life of David, which I'm very excited about because David is my favorite character in the Bible next to Jesus. I think we're really going to enjoy it. David is a guy that Michelangelo made a sculpture of. Many of you have been to Italy to see it. Some of you will have David's words read at your funeral where he says, "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." That's Psalm 23.

David is the Old Testament character that is spoken about most in the Bible. Sixty-six chapters are devoted to David. His name is mentioned over 930 times in the Old Testament alone. He's the Old Testament character who is mentioned most in the New Testament with his name being mentioned just under 60 times. He was described by God as "The man after my own heart." He had really high highs and very low lows.

The most important thing about David is that Jesus Christ was referred to as the Son of David. So, this is going to be a great series, and I hope you're along for the ride. Now, what you need to know is as we read through David, the best way to read the life of David is to do two things. First, we want to learn from David, and secondly, we want to look through David to the greater David, which is Jesus Christ.

So, that's our hope. As we read, we do want to learn from David, but we don't want to just read about David and then leave, saying, "How do I be more like David?" That's just going to lead us to moralism. But it's good to learn from him. If you're here this morning, and you're not a Christian… You really don't want to have anything to do with Christianity. Your friend was like, "Let's go to brunch," and then they drove you here, and they were like, "Well, we're already here. Might as well lean into it."

If that's you, but you're a leader in your company, your organization, read the life of David. I promise you will become a better leader. There are great things to learn from him. But the ultimate goal of studying David is to look through David to Jesus Christ, the greater David. So, that is how we will be walking through his life.

I want to invite you really quickly to pray for yourself. Take a second and pray. We believe that when we open up this book, it's like we're opening up God's mouth. We want to hear from him. So, take a moment and pray. Just say, "God, would you help me to learn from and look through David?"

Lord, I thank you for the life of David, but more than that, I thank you for how David points us to you, Lord Jesus. As we read, give us eyes to see you in this text, and may our hearts be overwhelmed with gratitude for all you've accomplished for us. You, Jesus, are the King of all Kings and the Lord of all Lords. We give this time to you. In Jesus' name, amen.

Back in March, I made a decision to take my boys to Monster Jam, which was the monster truck rally happening at AT&T Stadium. I bought tickets because I wanted to make a memory with my kids, and I thought I was making very good plans with my boys. It turned out to be a dumpster fire from start to finish. We got out to AT&T Stadium. From the time we got out there, it took us an hour to find a place to park. We parked a mile to a mile and a half away.

By the time we got in, Monster Jam had been going on for about an hour and a half. We found an attendant to ask where our seats were. She pointed at the opposite end of the stadium, so we walked another mile, I would imagine. It was like a bad comedy movie, because when we hiked all the way to our seats, which were at the top… Literally, we sat down, and the minute we hit our seats, the announcer was like, "We're going to take a brief intermission." It was halftime.

So, that wasn't going well. Then I asked my kids if they wanted something to eat. All three boys wanted a pretzel, so I went and got in line, which was from the counter all the way to the wall. I stood there, looking at the box of pretzels, and I watched pretzel after pretzel disappear. Twenty-five minutes into waiting in line, the last pretzel gets sold, and I exit the line with nothing to show for it.

I get back to our seats, and my 5-year-old is like… He doesn't say, "I want to leave." He says, "I want to go to bed." I'm like, "Do you know everything that needs to happen for that statement to come true?" So, walking to our car, my sons and I counted up 31 things that went wrong at Monster Jam. That night, my plans and our reality couldn't have been farther apart. It was a massive reminder of just how little control I have in this life.

I tell you that because when you look at this world, and when you live long enough in this world, it's easy to buy into the lie that God kind of has a similar experience. You know, in Genesis 1, God kind of got things going, and everything was going well, and it appeared like God had good plans, but then you look around, and it's like, "I bet this isn't what God planned. I wonder if God is sitting there, like, 'Man! This did not work out well. What I thought was going to happen and what actually happened are nowhere even close to each other.'"

Yet as we step into the life of David, what is going to become clear is that God's plans never have been and will never be frustrated. God never has to settle for something less. He always, in the end, gets his way. God always wins. His plans have been and will be accomplished. God is sovereign. He is always in control. That's good news, because as we step into a new fall, it might just be the reason God brought you to church today…for you to hear you don't have to be in control because he already is.

So, today, we're going to step into the life of David, and we are going to learn four things about God's plans. First, God's plans are not ruined by man's failures. Secondly, God's plans do not rest on man's wisdom. Thirdly, God's plans elevate unlikely people. Fourthly, God's plans require God's presence. That's where we're going. If you have a Bible, I want to invite you to join me in 1 Samuel, chapter 16. First Samuel, chapter 16, is where we get introduced to David. It is known as the anointing of David.

What I need you to understand… This is so important. I'm going to invite you all into a seminary classroom for two minutes. Some of you are like, "That is two minutes too long," but come on in. I'm just going to invite you to think on a higher theological level. What I need you to understand is the anointing of David is really not just about David. This chapter is not just a cute story about David. It's not even just about the next king of the nation of Israel.

This chapter is so significant in God's plans throughout the Bible. In fact, this chapter is really important when you're understanding the storyline of the Old Testament and how Jesus Christ connects to the Old Testament. So, follow me on this. This is so important to understanding the text we're talking about. If you don't feel like you grasp the Old Testament, and if you don't feel like you see how Jesus connects to the Old Testament, I'm going to help you in a significant way in two minutes.

One word will bring cohesion to the entire Old Testament. It's the one word kingdom. That's it. Here's why I say that. At the very beginning of the Bible, God is the King of the universe, but then he creates human beings, and it becomes clear that God, the King of the universe, intends to rule the world through a human king. Adam was the first human king. That's why God told Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful. Multiply. Fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fishes of the sea, and rule over all the land." Adam was the first king of God's kingdom, yet he failed to exercise dominion over the earth.

Yet God's plans still weren't frustrated, because God came to a man named Abraham. In Genesis 12 and 17, God tells Abraham, "Kings are going to come from you, and they're going to rule over a great nation," which is the nation of Israel. "Israel is going to be a bright beacon of light to the surrounding nations. In fact, Abraham, through your descendants, through the kings who come from you, and through an ultimate King who will come from you, all of the families of the earth are going to be blessed."

What's interesting is we go hundreds of years in the Old Testament without Israel having a king. Then you get to 1 Samuel. In 1 Samuel, the nation of Israel begins to cry out for a king, and God gives them Saul. Saul fails. He's a mediocre king. Then we get to chapter 16 today. Enter David. David would become the greatest king Israel had in the Old Testament. In fact, if you want to understand the majority of the second half of your Old Testament, it's just one story after another of kings failing to rule how God called them to rule.

The great news is God told David, "I will establish the throne of your kingdom forever." What God was really telling David was, "Hey, one of your descendants is actually going to sit on the throne of the kingdom, and he's going to rule forever. He's going to rule the world. He's going to accomplish my plans that I had from the very beginning."

That's why the very first verse of the New Testament is so beautiful. It's a verse we normally skip over because we think it's just the first sentence in a long genealogy, a bunch of names. It says, "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Jesus, we now know, is the King of all Kings who now rules in the hearts of his people, and a day is coming where his rule and reign will be established throughout the earth, accomplishing God's ultimate purposes.

I tell you all that to say that as we step into 1 Samuel 16, this isn't just a story about David becoming king. This is a story about God accomplishing his plans. His plans are never frustrated. He never has to settle. So, here we go.

  1. God's plans are not ruined by man's failures. Verse 1: "The Lord said to Samuel, 'How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.'"

Saul was the first king, and he failed as king, so God rejected him as king. A good question to ask is…Why did God reject Saul as king? The good news is we don't have to speculate. The Bible actually tells us. If you were to rewind to the chapter right before this, it tells us. In 1 Samuel 15:23, God, through Samuel, tells Saul, "Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king."

That's pretty straightforward. "You didn't do what God asked you to do." See, Saul was a guy who didn't get the memo that partial obedience is just a sexy way of saying disobedience. He didn't get that memo. Some of y'all need that memo this morning. Partial obedience to God is just a nice way of saying disobedience to God.

It's interesting that Saul responds, and it actually gives us more insight into why he did what he did. "Saul said to Samuel, 'I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice.'" God rejected him as king. Why? He feared the people more than he feared God. He wanted the people's approval more than he wanted God's approval, so he followed God half-heartedly and didn't fulfill his commands.

Now, because Saul failed as king, were God's plans ruined? No. I mean, Samuel is sitting there grieving. Why is he grieving? Because he has given his life to serving this country, and then he just watched the king of the country fail. The nation of Israel is on a long drift from God, so Samuel is watching Israel go downhill. In Samuel's mind, the future of the country is in jeopardy.

God looks at him and is like, "Dude, it's time to dry it up. It's time to stop crying." Why? What does he say? Verse 1: "Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons." That word provided is the Hebrew root word ra'ah, which literally means to see. So, this verse can be translated, "For I have seen for myself a king among his sons."

God's plans aren't frustrated because God sees what we can't see. God sees, and he provides for himself a king. I love what Dale Ralph Davis, who wrote an amazing commentary on 1 Samuel, said: the true king never loses control of his kingdom. God's plans are never ruined by man's failures because he always sees and provides for himself.

What do we learn from this? If Saul's failure didn't ruin God's plans, what do we learn from this? Well, I'm deeply encouraged by it, because one of the ways it relates to today is… When you look in the world, you see spiritual leaders failing morally. There are people who have significant followings. Millions of people follow them, and they fail out of ministry. What happens is documentaries are made about them or podcasts are made about them.

Do you know what the great thing is? Even as we see people fail (and we should grieve over the reproach it brings to Christ and his church), at the same time, the gospel is still winning. The gospel is still flourishing. The people of God, the church, is still expanding. Why? Because God's plans are not ruined by man's failures.

Yet there's something I think we should learn from this, because in American Christianity, we have this tendency to celebritize spiritual leaders. We turn them into celebrities. We want to hear more from them than we want to hear from God. We actually know what they say more than we know what God says. We're more excited to meet with them than we are to meet with God.

Then if one of them fails morally, it kind of wrecks us. We don't know who we're going to learn from now because they're the one voice we like to learn from. Or we believe the church is in jeopardy or "What is this going to mean for Christianity?" It's a reminder to not make messiahs out of messengers. Our responsibility is to learn from messengers but to hope in the Messiah. He is where our true confidence comes from. He is the reason the church and the gospel will always flourish until the day Jesus comes back. It will always win because of him.

Now, some of you might need to hear this before we move on. When you hear me say that God's plans cannot be ruined by man's failures, you might look at your own life and say, "I personally have ruined God's plans for my life." You don't even know why you're here this morning. You showed up, but it was very uncomfortable for you to come in. You don't feel like you belong here. You don't feel like this place is for you. You don't believe God could love you. You're looking at your failures, and you believe you have ruined God's plans for your life.

Let me lovingly speak in and say the fact that you still have breath in your lungs is a declaration from the God of the universe that his plans for you are not complete. You still have oxygen in your lungs because God still has plans for you. I love what Pastor Louie Giglio says. He says, "Sometimes you can't start over, but you can always start again." Some of you need to hear that God's grace is sufficient enough for you today, and whether you have one day left or many years left, God can still do a great work in you and through you, and you can experience the goodness of God in your life.

The first thing I need you to know is God's plans are not ruined by man's failures. Now watch how the story continues. Verse 2: "And Samuel said, 'How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.'" What you need to know is Samuel was a big deal in Israel. Everyone knew who he was. So, if he takes a random trip someplace, and people get on Instagram and see that he's traveling, and they realize he's going to anoint another king, they're going to tell Saul. Saul is going to find out about it, and Saul, the current king, is not going to love the fact that Samuel is anointing a new king.

So, God gives him an alibi. "And the Lord said, 'Take a heifer with you and say, "I have come to sacrifice to the Lord." And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.'" God gives him an alibi. Is God asking Samuel to lie? No, but for Samuel's safety, not everyone is going to know the full extent of the reason for Samuel's visit.

Verse 4: "Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, 'Do you come peaceably?'" We don't know the exact reason the elders are freaking out when they see Samuel. What we do know is in the chapter right before this, in chapter 15, Samuel actually hacks a man to pieces. So, Samuel was no joke. All right? He was a guy who took care of business and had a reputation. So, either way.

Look at how he responds. Verse 5: "And he said, 'Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.' And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice." So, it all worked out. The plan worked. Samuel finds himself in a private moment with Jesse and his sons. Now watch what happens. Verse 6: "When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, 'Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.'"

This is where it gets interesting. I want you to think about this. Just understand what is happening in this moment. Samuel was the guy who had anointed the first king, Saul. He anointed him back in chapter 10. Back in chapter 10, everyone in the crowd was all about Saul. Do you remember why they were all about Saul? Because of how he looked. He was super tall and good-looking. But his leadership was a train wreck.

Surely, Samuel would have learned that good looks do not lead to good leadership. That isn't an equation that naturally works. Yet Samuel shows up, and what does he do? He finds the first guy who's ripped because he does CrossFit, and Woo is his #1 strength on StrengthsFinder, and he's like, "He's got to be the guy." Nothing has changed to today. Who do we tend to elevate? Who most naturally goes viral or becomes an influencer? It's those who are really fit, really fashionable, funny, edgy, eccentric, persuasive, charismatic, outspoken, intelligent, or freakishly talented.

Look at how God responds in verse 7. "But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees…'" There's that Hebrew root ra'ah again. "For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."

Do you see what this is saying? God never has to settle. He never has to settle for people with a lot of talent but very little character. God is able to operate with complete knowledge and understanding because he's able to look at a person's heart. That reference to heart is a reference that encapsulates people's thoughts, people's emotions, and people's motivations. God sees it, and because of that, his plans are never frustrated, because God is always operating with complete knowledge and understanding. It shows us something very important.

  1. God's plans do not rest on man's wisdom. Why do I say that? Think about it. If Samuel had had his way and had anointed Eliab to be king, Eliab would have just been Saul 2.0. How do we know that? Well, if you were to go to the very next chapter, which is the story of David and Goliath, David goes out to the battle lines and sees Goliath, and there is a brother who gets on to David. Do you know who it was? Eliab.

Eliab shows insecurity, he shows a weak faith in God, and he shows that he has anger issues. He might be a guy who looks good, but inwardly, there are cracks in his character. What happens is God has to redirect Samuel. Samuel needs God's vision and wisdom in order to accomplish God's plans. That's why I say God's plans do not rest on man's wisdom; they always rest on God's wisdom.

A couple of years ago, I was able to take a sabbatical for about a month. Something you need to know about my personality is I think God has wired me to be a strategic thinker. I love thinking strategically. I love walking into a room and seeing the cracks and identifying how to make them better. So, it's a lot of "We should try this" or "We could do this differently" or "We could do this better."

When I went on sabbatical, I felt like God was speaking to me. There was a day where I was just sitting with him with his Word. I was listening for his voice, listening to him to speak to my heart, and I sensed that God was saying to value sensitivity over strategy. My tendency is to just snap into action and say, "Let's change this. Let's tweak this. There is a better way of doing things." Yet sometimes, strategy is a really good thing, but it's not a good thing when it's not a God thing.

So, one of the best things the Lord has been teaching me is to value sensitivity to his leading through his Spirit in my life versus just strategic thinking, because there are times where I try to execute based on what I think is best, but ultimately, what I need to know is what God knows is best. More than I need what I think, what I need is what God thinks, because his plans don't rest on my own wisdom.

I tell you that to say if you want to know how you can pray for me, how you can pray for the other staff here at Watermark, how you can pray for the elders, then pray for sensitivity. Pray that we would be sensitive to the Spirit's leading in our lives, that we would be very in tune with God's heart and God's mind, that we would want what he wants, that we would do what he wants done.

I would say that for you, personally, that's a great application: that you would value sensitivity over strategy in your marriage, at your job, with your roommates, with your kids, because sometimes there might be some strategy you think is good, but in the end, it's really not that good. What you need is God's way.

This happened in my life yesterday. Yesterday, a couple of my boys said something to my wife that I didn't think was respectful or honoring to her, so I was trying to help my boys see, "Look. There is only one woman in this family, which means all of the guys in this family take care of that one woman." Yet in order to make that point, I just kept driving it home. I went on my soapbox to the point where it was just about me being right.

In the end, I think I discouraged my kids. So, this morning started with me apologizing to my kids, because my strategy… Some aspects of it were good, but the way I executed it could have been better. I was operating in my own thinking instead of operating out of a submission to the leading of the Spirit in my life.

The image I want to put in your mind is the image of a sailboat. Our tendency is we want to be like speedboats, like a ski or a wakeboard boat. We want to gas up on a Sunday morning, so we come and get filled up, and then we just blaze out of here full throttle and start turning in whatever direction we think is best. Then we come back and get filled up, not next Sunday, but in a couple of Sundays. No one goes to church every Sunday. It's about twice a month. I'm joking. But seriously.

What I'm saying is our tendency is to go out and do what we think is best. The image is that of a sailboat, where we're not moving if God is not moving us. We want to be filled by his Spirit, and we want to be carried along by him in the direction he wants us to go. God's plans do not rest on man's wisdom.

  1. God's plans elevate unlikely people. Watch what happens in verse 8. "Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, 'Neither has the Lord chosen this one.' Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, 'Neither has the Lord chosen this one.' And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, 'The Lord has not chosen these.'"

Isn't that interesting? Jesse is parading his sons in order from most likely to least likely. In the ancient Near East, it was the firstborn son who got all of the perks, so he started with Eliab. Then he worked his way down. Then it gets awkward because Samuel has to be like, "Hey, Jesse, I hate to ask you this, but any chance you have more kids?" Look at his response.

"Then Samuel said to Jesse, 'Are all your sons here?' And he said, 'There remains yet the youngest…'" That's the Hebrew word qatan, which means small or insignificant. I mean, that'll put you in therapy. This is basically Jesse saying, "Uh, yeah, but I didn't bother inviting him because he's small and insignificant."

Jesse doesn't even mention his name. It's interesting to note that David's name isn't even mentioned until verse 13. That's the first time it shows up in a chapter about David being anointed king. So, at this point, David is the nameless, small, insignificant son. Yet what does Samuel say? "Send and get him…" Like, "We're not even going to sit down until he comes here," because he knows that is God's man.

See, God's MO in the Bible is to elevate unlikely people. He uses barren women. He uses a prostitute. He uses the younger son a lot more often than he uses the older son. He works through fishermen in the New Testament. His MO is to elevate unlikely people. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than when we look through David to the greater David.

No one was more unlikely to be the Savior of the world than Jesus Christ. He was born in a Podunk town in a manger. He grew up to be a carpenter. His best friends were fishermen. He hung out with the social rejects. He was wildly misunderstood. So, people looked at him. There was nothing special about his appearance. So, what did they do with him? They crucified him like he was a criminal, yet on the third day, he walked out of that tomb, conquering Satan, sin, and death.

He ascended into heaven where he sat down at the right hand of the Father, and God gave him the name that is above every name. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is ruling and reigning because there is no one like him. God elevated the most unlikely. Jesus Christ now accomplishes his purposes on the earth by using enemies turned children. This is what God does. He elevates unlikely people.

Before I came to Watermark, I led a college Bible study on Texas A&M University's campus. It's called Breakaway Ministries. Breakaway is a large ministry with a big reputation that had been established long before I got there. So, when I went to Breakaway and took over, I would meet different people in different places. As I traveled, people would find out that I was the director of Breakaway, and literally, they'd be like, "So, you're the director of Breakaway?" I was like, "Yeah." They'd be like, "Do you speak every week?" I was like, "Yeah."

The way they communicated it, it wasn't like, "Oh, man! What an honor to meet you." It was more like, "No! You? It doesn't add up." It's like when Kat and I were on a mission trip when I was a student pastor with a bunch of high school kids, and this girl was like, "It would be really weird if we had a hot youth pastor." I was like, "I'm right here." I looked at her. I was like, "Rosie." She was like, "Well, it would be." I was like, "Okay. So, you're just doubling down on it. That's great."

I'm like, "Message received. I don't know what it is or what it isn't, but I'm doing the best I can with what I've been given." What's the message? The message is you're an unlikely, yet God elevates the unlikely, and I'm great with that. Even coming here to work at Watermark… When I knew Watermark was looking for a teaching pastor, I was like, "They'd never call me." Why? Because I had to step off staff from Watermark back in 2005 due to compromising decisions. I was like, "There's no way." Yet God chooses to elevate unlikely people.

Some of y'all just need to hear that God wants to do something great with you. If you're sitting there saying, "God could never use me," watch out, because God loves to prove people like you wrong. If you're sitting there saying, "God needs me," watch out, because you're on the verge of finding out what I found out in 2005. You're about to find out just how sufficient God is without your help.

The world elevates those who are attractive; God elevates those who are available. One of the best things you can do is come before the Lord every day, saying, "God, I don't know what you would do through me, but you can have your way with me." That's a good place to be. God's plans elevate unlikely people.

Verse 12: "And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, 'Arise, anoint him, for this is he.'" You know what's interesting? When we do meet David, he's actually an attractive guy. So, if you're finding your next leader based on appearance, he checks the box, yet God's point is "That's irrelevant. That's not how I operate." He looks at the heart.

One of the things that's good to learn from David is to relentlessly cultivate what's internal. Do you know what you find out about David? You find out that he was surrendered to the Lord, willing to do whatever the Lord asked; he was humble; and he was patient. Those are three great things to cultivate in our lives.

Verse 13: "Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah." I want to read you the words of one of the top commentators on 1 Samuel, Robert Bergen. He explained this scene this way. I just love the wording.

He said, "The shapeless, invasive fluid used in the ceremony served fittingly as a symbol of the mystical presence of God. As the oil worked its way into the individual's hair and pores, it symbolized the divine presence entering into the one being anointed." It brings us to the fourth truth.

  1. God's plans require God's presence. Do you know why God's plans can never be frustrated? Because he's in the middle of his plans. He's quarterbacking his plans. His presence is sufficient to accomplish his plans. God's presence is the greatest provision for accomplishing God's plans. God equips David for the task he has called him to. And he's going to need it, because shortly after David gets anointed, the next 15 years involve him living on the run because Saul has put out a hit on him.

So, he lives on the run. He lives in caves, yet David is able to write Psalm 23. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…" As we look through David to the greater David, Jesus, we see right before Jesus' ministry begins, at his baptism, the Spirit of God descends on him like a dove.

Right after the Spirit comes upon Jesus, Jesus goes into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil, and then he spends the next three years of his life being misunderstood, yet the Spirit of God is given credit for the power displayed in Jesus' miracles, the power displayed in Jesus' death, and the power displayed in Jesus' resurrection.

The presence of God is the greatest provision needed for accomplishing the plans of God. Do you know what the good news is? One of the greatest demonstrations of God's grace in our lives is when you put your trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, he puts his Spirit inside of you, giving you everything you need to accomplish his plans.

For me, I think about our first year here in Dallas. I've shared from the stage before that 2022 was the hardest year of my life due to a lot of different things all coming together and coming at us. If I had been left to my own ways and my own wisdom, I would have bailed. We would not be here, and we would have gone back to College Station, because it just seemed easier. Life just seemed easier. Yet God in his kindness didn't leave me to my own wisdom, because God's plans don't rest on man's wisdom.

God was with us. He met with us, he led us, and his Spirit at work inside of us made it clear, "You are right where you need to be, and I have given you everything you need to stay put. No matter what comes, even if you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you don't need to fear, because I am with you." God's plans require God's presence.

I want to show you how chapter 16 ends. The reason I want you to see how it ends is it does such a great job of pointing us to the greater David, Jesus Christ. This is the moment where we look through David to the greater David. Right after verse 13 where he's anointed with oil, look at what it says in verse 14. "Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him."

This is a demonstration. God has rejected Saul. He has anointed David. Yet God's grace is displayed even in Saul's life through David. Verse 23: "And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him."

Oren Martin helped me see this connection in such a beautiful way. I want you to see that God, through David, drove the evil spirit away that tormented Saul, yet while David would become the greatest king the nation of Israel would ever see in the Old Testament, he still wasn't a perfect king. His greatest failure of adultery and then murder would come, because David was incapable of driving away his own sin.

Yet God's plans were not ruined because a better King would come. Jesus Christ, the greater David, came who would drive out the evil of sin that is in the lives of those who would put their trust in him. Christ came. He died. He conquered our sin, and through all who put their trust in him… What does he do? He doesn't just refresh them, like David's lyre refreshed Saul. He makes us new. This is the beauty of the true King, the better King, the greater David.

So, what do we do with a message like this? Let me encourage you to do three things. First, find yourself in the story. Do you know who we are in the story? We're Saul. We're not David; we're Saul. Not one of us has obeyed all of God's commands perfectly. Each of us has wanted God on our own terms, and because of that, what we deserve for our sin is eternal rejection from God. We deserve to spend eternity apart from him in hell.

Yet God loved us enough that he would send the greater David, Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ has made a way for us to be in right relationship with him. So, see the greater King. See the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. What's the second thing for you to do? It's to see Jesus not just as Savior but to see him as King. Behold the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. What do kings do? Kings reign. Jesus never wants to just settle for being your Savior when he's a King who has come, and kings rule. Would you surrender every area of your life to him? That is where joy is truly found.

Then, finally, here's what you need to know: the God who oversees kings of kingdoms oversees your life, and if he's in control of the kings of kingdoms, surely he's in control of you. This fall, you don't have to be in control because he already is. Would you find your peace in him? Would you find your hope in him? God's plans are never frustrated. His plans never fail. He will accomplish everything he plans to accomplish, and he loves you. Let's pray together.

Lord Jesus, you are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. You are the greater David. You are the better King. Thank you that you have come and have made a way for us back to God. Lord, I pray if there's anyone here this morning who doesn't know you, may they trust in you today. May they see you clearly for the first time today. We need you. We love you. We pray you would rule and reign in our hearts for our good and for your glory. In Jesus' name, amen.