How Long will You Mourn?
Samuel, the Great Prophet, totally disillusioned regarding Saul, was seemingly in a state of depression. Due to Saul’s spiritual condition, which was probably in the state of demon possession, the Great Prophet could see no future for Israel. So, the Scripture says that the Great Prophet was mourning. The Hebrew word for “mourn” is “abal,” and means “to bewail, to lament.” And yet, it is remarkable that, at the very time that Samuel was mourning, The Lord was planning the greatest moment for Israel that the nation, to date, had ever seen. The question becomes, should that be a lesson to us? Oftentimes, whenever it looks hopeless, and satan screams in our ears that he has taken the day, and it is no more use for us to even continue, at that very moment, in the Portals of Glory, God, very well, could be planning the greatest moment and the greatest victory that we ever had. So, The Lord will ask the Prophet, “How long wilt thou mourn for Saul?” Quite possibly, He could ask the same question of us. The Lord does not know defeat, and if we look to Him exclusively, there will be no defeat for us. There may be setbacks, and there may be failure on our part, and it may look, at times, as if we are done in. However, if we pick ourselves up and place our faith exclusively in Christ and what He has done for us at The Cross, despite the past and despite even the present, if we are sincere and our hearts are right with God, The Lord is still planning great things for us. Don’t forget that! Remember that! Incidentally, Samuel was the last judge of Israel and the first prophet to stand in that office. While there had been prophets before Samuel, he was the first one to stand in that office. What does that mean? Israel only now had become a nation. During the time of the judges, she was little more than a scattered polyglot, a faction. Now, she is at least the semblance of a nation, which required a prophet and, in fact, several prophets. Actually, The Lord would lead Israel by the ministry of the prophet, who, in a sense, was the de facto leader of Israel under the king. The Lord would speak to the prophet, and the prophet would speak to the king, or, at least, that’s the way it should have been. Down through the years to come, Israel, at times, would turn her back on God. They would even mistreat the prophets, even to the point of killing them. In addition, there was always the problem of false prophets, but Samuel was one of the Godliest men to ever live. His crowning achievement, as we shall see, was the anointing of David to be King of Israel, even though David would not gain the throne until approximately 15 years later.
The Lord said of Saul, as He spoke to Samuel, “seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel,” and yet, he would reign for another approximately 15 years. In fact, he would reign 40 years as the King of Israel. We see here that The Lord rejects some things and, as such, He rejects some people. Saul could have been blessed to the extent that there were no boundaries. However, he couldn’t see in that way. Jealousy pushed him into demon possession. As far as we know, he died eternally lost.
Fill Your Horn with Oil and Go
The oil in Old Testament times, of course, was a type of The Holy Spirit. Whenever The Lord wished to anoint somebody for a particular purpose, namely as the King of Israel, as David would now be anointed, a large ram’s horn would be used for this purpose. It would probably hold about a quart of oil in today’s measurements. It was almost altogether olive oil that would be used. When the prophet anointed David, he would literally pour the oil over his head, and it would drip down over his garment, in a sense, saturating it with oil. As stated, it was a type of The Holy Spirit and was to portray the fact that the individual was to be led by The Spirit, guided by The Spirit, and empowered by The Spirit. Before The Cross, the Holy Spirit could not come into the hearts and lives of believers to abide permanently. Actually, with most, he never entered into their hearts and lives at all. He was “with” these believers, whomever they may have been, but not “in” these believers (John 14:17). However, with kings and such like, which would have included the High Priest, The Holy Spirit, in fact, did come into the heart and life of such a person to abide, at least for a period of time. He did this in order to help them carry out the task assigned to them, whatever that task may have been, but this number, who were, in essence, filled by the Spirit, was few. So, The Lord told Samuel to fill his horn with oil and go, for he was about to make known, through Samuel and others as well, who, in fact, was to be the next king. It would be David.
I Have Provided Me a King Among His Sons
The phrase, “I have provided me a king among his sons,” carries far more weight than meets the eye. He was speaking of David. More importantly, He knew that, ultimately, He would relate to David the fact that the Messiah would come through his family. This was the highest honor that could be afforded any human being, so it had connection with the Greater Son of David, The Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, Samuel could not know any of these things now, but The Lord knew. That’s the reason that David stands out in history as one of the greatest of all. It was for the simple reason that the Messiah, the Savior, The Son of the Living God, God Manifest in the Flesh, would come through the family of David and, in fact, would be referred to as the “Son of David.”
The Lord told Samuel to “…Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the LORD. And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee” (1 Samuel 16:2-3). Samuel, with the horn of oil, went to the small village of Bethlehem. He called all of the elders of the town together, which included Jesse and his sons. Jesse was the father of David. The Scripture says, “…and called them to the sacrifice” (1 Samuel 16:5). So, we find that David’s anointing would be built, so to speak, on the shed blood of the Lamb. This portrayed the seriousness of the matter. In effect, stating that, at the time, it was the single most important thing on the face of the earth. And yet, no one really knew that, and I don’t think that Samuel the prophet actually understood all of the implications of what was taking place.
Man Looks on the Outward, but The Lord Looks on the Heart
Evidently, David, as we shall see, was anointed in front of all the elders of the town of Bethlehem. Samuel apparently asked about Jesse, for this was the household of the next king of Israel. When all the sons of Jesse came before Samuel, he looked at Eliab, evidently Jesse’s eldest son, and said, “…Surely the LORD'S anointed is before him” (1 Samuel 16:6). Samuel would find that The Lord did not choose Eliab, irrespective of his outward appearance, which, to Samuel, looked kingly. Nor did he choose any of the other sons of Jesse who were present. There is a very valuable lesson here. Samuel, as Godly as he was, was looking after the means of the flesh. It is very difficult for believers to understand, even the Godliest among us, that God cannot use anything that is conceived in the heart of man, irrespective if he is the Godliest man in the world. For God to use it, it must be conceived by The Holy Spirit, devised by The Holy Spirit, birthed by The Holy Spirit, and empowered by The Holy Spirit. Then and then alone can God accept it, but that’s the hardest thing for believers to learn and understand. So, The Lord said unto 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” (1 Samuel 16:7).
A Personal Experience
Years ago, we preached a one-night crusade in Little Rock, Arkansas. The audience was filled to capacity. After the service ended, a dear brother with whom I was very well acquainted walked on the platform. Actually, when I was a child, he was our Pastor at the Assembly of God church in a little town of Ferriday Louisiana. So, I knew him well and respected him highly. He was now the Secretary Treasurer for the Arkansas district of the Assemblies of God. He walked up to me and greeted me warmly. Then, he told me something that I had never heard repeated. He said, “I remember a particular prayer meeting that we were in when you were just a child.” He stated how that my grandmother was there, my aunt was there, my mother and my dad, and I was there as well. That was about the extent of the small group gathered. He went on to relate how that a message in tongues and interpretation went forth. I don’t remember that he told me who gave the message and who interpreted it but merely that it was given. The message, in essence, said that there was one in their midst, at that time, who would touch the world with the Gospel or words to that effect. He said to me, “Jimmy, as I looked at the small crowd, I wondered if that message in tongues and interpretation was from The Lord.” He said, “I knew that The Lord would never use me in that capacity.” And he said, “I could not see Him using your dad in that capacity.” He went on to say, “I looked at you and I thought, how could it be?” He went on to state that I was only 8 years old at the time. At any rate, he looked at me and said, “Jimmy, I know that utterance in tongues and interpretation was directly from The Lord. I know that, by the grace of God, you’re going to touch this world with the Gospel.” My dear friend passed away a few months later. The point is, The Lord knows all things, past, present, and future. What an honor it is to live for Him. What a privilege it is to know Him. We have nothing to contribute to Him. He has everything to contribute to us, which He generously does. After all the sons of Jesse who were present had passed before Samuel, and The Lord had said “no” to all of them, “And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither” (1 Samuel 16:11). All this portrays the fact that the family of Jesse was very poor. When people tended the sheep in those days, they hired a shepherd if they were people of means. Considering that David was attending this task himself, it shows us that the family was not wealthy. But yet, David was a perfect example because Our Lord would be The Great Shepherd.
Arise, Anoint Him: for This is He
The Lord had spoken, and even though it would be approximately 15 years before David would take the throne, still, the will of The Lord, which would be contested greatly, was now being done. In other words, David, who was a work of The Spirit, was God’s choice, while Saul, the work of the flesh, was man’s choice. The difference is overly obvious. The Scripture says of David, “…he was ruddy (red-haired), and withal of a beautiful countenance (the Hebrew says ‘with beautiful eyes’), and goodly to look to (to look at, handsome)…” (1 Samuel 16:12). It is believed that David was probably about 15 years of age at this time. He was the youngest of Jesse’s sons, and, apparently, Jesse thought it would be useless to bring him before the prophet and the elders. However, he was the one of whom The Lord had spoken. Generally, those who are totally rejected by men are the very ones whom God chooses.
The Scripture says, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren…” (1 Samuel 16:13). This was Samuel’s last and crowning work. He would train the man, who, more nearly than any other, approached unto the ideal of the theocratic king and was, to Israel, the Type of their coming Messiah. It was Samuel’s wisdom in teaching his young men music, which gave David the skill to be the “sweet singer of the sanctuary”. We may feel sure also that when David arranged the service of the house of God and gave priests and Levites their appointed duties (1 Chronicles 23:26), the model, which The Lord set before him, was that in which he had so often taken part with Samuel at Ramah, with, of course, The Lord guiding it all.
The Spirit of The Lord
The Scripture says, “…and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward…” (1 Samuel 16:13). This would be the means by which all things good were accomplished in David’s life. As we have stated, David’s name would be the very first human name in the New Testament and the very last human name in the New Testament. In fact, The Messiah would be referred to as the “Son of David” because He would come through the lineage of David’s family (2 Samuel 7).
I hear The Savior Say,
“Your strength, indeed, is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me your all in all.”
Lord, now indeed I find
Your power and Yours alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.
For nothing could have I
Whereby your grace to claim,
I wash my garments in white
In the blood of Calvary’s Lamb.
And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
My lips shall still repeat.
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
I personally believe that it was the intention of The Lord to make David the first king of Israel; however, as is obvious, the children of Israel jumped the gun, so to speak, demanding a king before it was time, and Saul was the result. This proved to be exactly what The Lord said it would be, a catastrophe almost from the beginning. Samuel was a great prophet who had been delegated by The Lord to find the first king of Israel, whom The Lord, at the demand of the people, would select. To be sure, Saul looked the part. He was head and shoulders taller than any other man in Israel and had a commanding presence, but despite all of that, he had no heart for God. Concerning this, the Scripture says, “And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel” (1 Samuel 15:35). Due to rebellion against God, Saul was no longer the representative of Jehovah, and, consequently, Samuel no more came to him bearing messages and commands or giving him counsel and guidance from God. The Lord had cut him off. Now, we find something extremely interesting as it regards the call of David. The Scripture says concerning this, “And the LORD said unto Samuel (interrupts the Great Prophet’s negative thoughts), How long wilt thou mourn for Saul (Samuel was mourning, and at the same time, God was planning the greatest moment in Israel’s history; the truth is, we have nothing to mourn for at this moment, God is planning great things for us; we must remember that!), seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? (The Lord rejects all who will not obey His Word) fill thine horn with oil (a type of The Holy Spirit), and go (if The Holy Spirit is present, it is always in order that a mission be accomplished), I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons (of course, that was David, but, above all, the provision was the Greater Son of David)” (1 Samuel 16:1).
David Chapter 2
The Call of David