Lessons from King David: Shepherd Boy

Let’s set a little bit of history for when we first meet David.

Saul has angered the Lord, who has promised to take the throne from Saul.

Samuel was a man of God

At the beginning of 1 Samuel 16, the Lord ask Samuel how long he will mourn for Saul. The Lord then tells Samuel to go to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for among his sons will come the new king.

Samuel goes and the sons begin to pass before him. Each time Samuel thinks this is the son and the Lord says no.

The Lord tells Samuel, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” {v.7}

Samuel arrived at the home of Jesse

So, before we ever meet David we know one thing. He has a heart that is pleasing to the Lord.

Seven sons pass before Samuel, but none of them are the one the Lord has chosen.

So, Samuel ask if he has more sons and Samuel replies that the youngest is with the sheep. {v.11}

We learn two more things.

David is the youngest of eight sons and he tends to the sheep.

A quick search on shepherding says that it is one of the oldest occupations and began over 5,000 years ago.

Sheep were kept for their milk, meat and wool.

Samuel was told son after son that he was not the one he was there to annoint

Large flocks of sheep must move from pasture to pasture and the shepherd was in charge of keeping the flock together and protecting it from predators.

In ancient times, shepherds also milked their sheep and made cheese from the milk.

So, what can we learn from this?

David did not have an easy job. He may have been the youngest, but he worked just as hard as his brothers and was clearly not babied.

David comes before Samuel. “Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to.” {v. 12}

Samuel asked Jesse if he had more sons

A quick search shows that the word ruddy means a person’s face had a healthy red color.

What we do know is that David worked hard and had a heart for the Lord.

“And young as he was, David thought of God, and talked with God, and God talked with David, and showed to David His will.”

Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David. Then the “Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” {v.13}

Imagine what David’s brothers must have thought as they witnessed this scene?

Was this a solemn memory for them or did they make fun of their brother?

Samuel anointed David

We do not know.

What, we do know is that the Spirit of the Lord came upon David and never left him. However, the spirit of the Lord did leave Saul and Saul became greatly troubled.

The Lord chose Samuel, not for what others could see but for David’s heart. David had a heart for the Lord and to do the Lord commanded.

Do you have a heart for the Lord? Do you work hard at the task he has set before you?


David was a Shepherd Boy when Samuel came to anoint him king Share on X

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