December the 8th finds us in the book of 1 Samuel chapter 16, verses 1-13:
The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.”
But Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”
The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”
Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, “Do you come in peace?”
Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.
Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.”
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The LORD has not chosen this one either.” Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the LORD chosen this one.” Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The LORD has not chosen these.” So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”
Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”
So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.
Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”
So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.
In the passage above, we are told that God doesn’t look at people in the same way that people look at each other. People look at the outward appearance; God looks at the heart. God chose David to be King over Israel. In Acts 13:22 we are told:
After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after My own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’
David was a man after God’s own heart. David was not perfect; no man was or ever will be. He was a sinner. David committed adultery with Bathsheba then had her husband, Uriah (one of David’s most noble commanders) killed in battle. We can see in 2 Samuel 11:27b:
But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the LORD.
How could God call such a man, a man after My own heart? Because David had a will to obey God, and to seek forgiveness after he had sinned. After sinning with Bathsheba, David wrote in Psalm 51 verses 1-12:
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
David was forgiven, but there were consequences following his sin, and those consequences would turn out to be terrible, for David and for his household. You can read about this starting in 2 Samuel chapter 12 and following.
In Psalm chapter 89, verses 1-4 we can see:
I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever;
with my mouth I will make Your faithfulness known
through all generations.
I will declare that Your love stands firm forever,
that You have established Your faithfulness in heaven itself.
You said, “I have made a covenant with My chosen one,
I have sworn to David My servant,
‘I will establish your line forever
and make your throne firm through all generations.’”
God made a covenant with David to establish his line and make his throne (his kingdom) secure forever. David would always have an heir on the throne of Israel. But Jesus would be the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise to David. You can read more about this tomorrow.
In 1 Samuel 16:13 (in the passage above) we are told that, after being anointed, the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. His anointing was an external representation of an inward work by God. The Spirit of the Lord here is the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit’s role in this was not regeneration but empowerment. Remember, David was the youngest son of Jesse. He had a big job ahead of him. He could not do it by himself, he had to rely on God. After he had sinned with Bathsheba, he wrote in Psalm 51:11 (above):
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
In Matthew chapter 3, verses 13-17 we see:
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
We see all three persons of the Trinity here; God the Father speaks from heaven, Jesus the son being baptized, and the Holy Spirit descending from heaven as a dove alighting on Jesus.
We can see in Matthew 1:6 and in Luke 3:31 that Jesus is a descendant of David. The Son of David, the Son of Abraham would be the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises to David, and of God’s promises to Abraham. It would be through Jesus that all the nations would be blessed. It would be Jesus who would be the ultimate King that Abraham was told about in Genesis 17:16. And it would be Jesus, our Messiah, who would take the sin of the world upon Himself and die in our place so we would have life everlasting.
The ornaments that go beneath the tree today are a small red heifer, a shofar (a ram’s horn) a small king’s crown and a small dove.