Here are a few things that stood out to my mom and me as we continued in Chapter 1.
When Samuel shows up in Bethlehem to anoint David, I always imagined he just went to Jesse’s house and started looking at his sons that happened to be there. But if you actually read 1 Samuel 16:4-13, the Bible states that Samuel actually invited Jesse’s family to join him for a ritualistic sacrifice with the elders. And Jesse left David to tend the sheep.
Rene pointed out the family dynamics of David growing up, citing both this passage in 1 Samuel as well as Psalm 69:8: “I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children.” David was clearly overlooked by his entire family. I wonder how he felt all those years, taking care of sheep by himself, left out of family functions. It must have been hard.
Empowered by the Holy Spirit
In verse 13, the Bible says that after David was anointed, the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him from that day on. I think it’s easy to forget that the Holy Spirit’s presence wasn’t as common in the Old Testament as it is now. But it’s worth noting David was empowered by the Holy Spirit, then chosen to comfort Saul with his musical ability, and then defeated Goliath. God does amazing things through us when we’re filled with the Holy Spirit!
It’s About What God Does
David is known as, “A man after God’s heart,” but something important Rene points out is the meaning of this phrase. According to Dr. Sandra Richter (who has a PhD in the Hebrew Bible from Harvard and years of experience on archaeological excavations in Israel), the text is actually reflecting an ancient saying that relates more with the choice of a monarch.
Rene writes, “That David is a ‘man after God’s heart’ means David is God’s choice, a man God’s heart has gone after…it’s not just a verse about David’s heart; it’s a verse about God’s heart. His heart went after David” (page 35, Chasing David).
So David didn’t do amazing things to become a man after God’s heart. God chose David and transformed his heart to be more godly. Just like God chooses us and transforms us, too!
Chosen by God
One thing Rene emphasizes is that David remembered that moment he was anointed for years to come. As someone overlooked by his family (and probably by extension his whole community), that moment where he was chosen by God sustained him when he experienced failure and other difficult circumstances.
I like how my mom reflected on this section: “This being chosen by God applies to us too. People tend to have an unspoken point system, but God sees us ‘through him and his grace alone.’”
As Brennan Manning wrote (quoted by Rene on page 39 of Chasing David):
It is not because men and women are good that [God] loves them, nor only good men and women that he loves. It’s because he is so unspeakably, unutterably, unimaginably good, that God loves all men and women–even sinners…He initiates love…his love is creative, it originates good rather than rewarding it. That’s why St. Augustine can write those lyrical lines, “In loving me, you made me lovable.”
We might not always understand why God chose us–we don’t deserve his love–but I do think we should respond with gratitude.
In those moments when I don’t feel like I measure up–like I’m not good enough as a wife, mother, friend, or even person in general–I should try to remember that God chose me. He has a plan for my life, my husband’s life, and my kids’ lives, even when we feel like we’ve been overlooked and are stuck tending the sheep. God used those moments in David’s life, and he’ll use them in ours, too!