July 23-July 29

Week 1 – David, Heart of a Servant

 The Lord does not look at the things people look at… the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

Contradiction of character and conflict … we have all experienced both contradiction and conflict in our personal relationships, within our families, and even at work! David’s life is certainly an example of character contradictions and family conflict. We think of David as the greatest king of Israel whose heart was “one with God.” He was chosen by God over his older brothers to be king, and his honesty, conduct, and confidence of faith were the godly character traits that propelled him to the height of success. As a young man, David’s unwavering character and trust in the Lord kept him strong through every struggle and challenge that he faced:

  • When David faced the “giant” who threatened harm to his people and mocked the God he worshipped, his strength came from God. The “giant” (Goliath) was no match for this heroic shepherd boy who trusted God and was willing to put his faith on the line for Him.
  • When David faced the threat of death at the hands of the jealous King Saul, David did not respond with bitterness and hatred but with kindness and respect.
  • When David loved and sacrificed for his friend, Jonathan (and later Jonathan’s son), he showed God’s compassion and love.

In our readings this week, we will discover the godly character that made this young servant a hero. As God’s plan for David unfolds, we will discover a man whose love for God is always a constant. We will get up close and personal with a man whose heart grew to be “one with God” as he matured in faith. David will teach us to respond with godly kindness to people who do not like us or who may want to hurt us. Though we may not understand the conflicts in our relationships, David’s example of forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration will model the reconciliation and restoration we have in Christ. Though we may struggle each day to live as God intended for us to live and to keep our hearts “one with God,” David’s unfaltering love for and closeness to God can be our model.

 

Sunday, July 23

Read: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

Samuel was instructed by God to go to Jesse and anoint one of his sons to be the next king of Israel. Though David was the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons and was a shepherd, he was the one chosen by God to be the king. God looks at the heart and not at physical stature or accomplishments.

Reflect: Society puts value on people today by looks, wealth, or achievements. Why? God looks at a person’s heart. Why is that important? How do you place value on people?

For the Family
Samuel was patient and trusted God to show him which of Jesse's sons would be the next king. God looked into their hearts. How can you show patience and trust in God? What does God see in your heart?

 

Monday, July 24

Read: 1 Samuel 16:14-23

God has a plan for David and is at work in his young life. As a shepherd, David becomes skillful at “quieting” the sheep with his music. When the Spirit of God leaves Saul, his soul is in torment. He summons David to come and play his lyre to comfort him. Saul does not know that God has anointed David to be king. David is faithful and does such a good job for Saul, that Saul makes him an armor bearer.

Reflect: God gives us the talents and opportunities to use in service to Him and others. How have you used the gifts and opportunities that God has given you? How does God’s Spirit comfort you when you are unsettled?

For the Family
David was chosen by God to be king. How did God use David to help Saul? Was Saul happy that God sent David to help him? Who has God sent to help you?

 

Tuesday, July 25

Read: 1 Samuel 17

As a boy, David faced Goliath, showing both character courage and physical courage. Armed with his shepherding experience, his trust in God, and his willingness to directly attack the “giant” that mocked God and threatened to harm the people he loved, David faced off against Goliath. David exemplified for us the importance of standing up for our faith and trusting in God as we face the “goliaths” in our own lives that seem too big to conquer.

Reflect: The story of David versus Goliath provides many life lessons for us. What life lessons do you learn from this story? Pray and ask God how you can apply them to your life.

For the Family
David showed courage when he faced Goliath. His faith helped him beat the giant. Do you turn to God when you are afraid? How does God help you feel safe and strong?

 

Wednesday, July 26

Read: 1 Samuel 18

Though David was doing the work God had planned for him to do and tried to please Saul, Saul developed strong feelings of inadequacy and intense jealousy toward David. Saul’s ego and lust for power prevented him from recognizing the kindness and respect David had for him. Saul’s appetite for accolades blinded him to the work of God, and he tried to kill David instead of humbling himself before God.

Reflect: How do you respond when someone else receives praise you believe is not earned or should be yours? How does God want you to respond? When and for whom is it appropriate to stand in “fearful awe?” (verse 15)

For the Family
Saul was afraid of David because God loved David so much. He tried to hurt David. Have you ever been so afraid or jealous that you wanted to hurt someone else? How can you pray for God to help you?

 

Thursday, July 27

Read: 1 Samuel 19

Jonathan, Saul’s son, recognized God’s hand in the life of David. Jonathan saw that David was a man of integrity, courage, and strength whose grounding was in his faith for God. This story of David and Jonathan is a classic example of a sacrificing friendship. Each saw in the other his best qualities … and they developed a love for each other like that of a brother for a brother.

Reflect: We all face difficulties in life. How do your family and friends help you in times of trouble? What motivates them to help? How does it make you feel to accept their help? Thank God for the close friends and family that He has given you.

For the Family
As Saul continued trying to harm David, all those who loved David protected him from Saul. Who has God put in your life to protect you and keep you safe? What can you do to show God how thankful you are for His love and protection?

 

Friday, July 28

Read: 1 Samuel 20

Jonathan lies to Saul and betrays him in order to protect David. While David is not deserving of Saul’s rage since he is innocent of any crime, he is hunted as a criminal. Saul plans to kill him to protect his own interests and power, but God’s plan prevails in the end. So it is for us, too. In spite of all our sin and weaknesses, God’s plan always prevails.

Reflect: Why is it important to have faithful, committed friends? What is the measure of a true friend? How is this story of deceit and betrayal similar to Jesus’ story? How is it different?

For the Family
Jonathan was a very good friend to David, and God blessed their friendship. What does it mean to you to be a good friend? How does God bless your friendships?

 

Saturday, July 29

Read: 1 Samuel 24

As David matures into a man whose heart was “one with God,” he shows us God’s wisdom and kindness. He shows us how we are to interact with people who have hurt us or don’t like us. Even when we don’t understand how or why there is conflict, David’s example of forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration is a model for us today in the healing of our own troubled relationships.

Reflect: Forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration in relationships. Why is that possible in some relationships? Why is it sometimes not possible? How does God use all your relationships to draw you closer to Himself?

For the Family
God told David he could punish Saul any way he wanted, but David chose to forgive Saul and let him go. How does God help you forgive others and let go of anger?