David: A Man After God’s Heart (Part I)
I. DAY ONE
A. Focus: Psalm 18 is one of David’s writings celebrating the deliverance God granted him from the hand of all his enemies, including Saul. Use this psalm to praise God from your heart this week. Think of the many ways He has come to your rescue and spared you from harm. Start today with Psalm 18:1-6.
Where does one begin in studying the life of David and highlighting the most important and powerful experiences he had? His was an amazing life. A life called by God, consecrated for His purposes and conformed to His image through fiery trials. What can we learn from this king? David was the second king of Israel, following King Saul. David was Israel’s greatest king. It is difficult to get a full appreciation of his life without an understanding of Israel’s history and God’s hand in using kingship as the basis for the messianic hope. You may want to read the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings to gain a better understanding of this time.
B. Feed: Read I Samuel 16:1-13. Samuel was a prophet. He had anointed Saul as king, but now God was rejecting Saul and told Samuel to go to the house of Jesse. Read the account and answer the following questions.
1. Why did God send Samuel to Jesse’s home?
2. What was Samuel fearful of?
3. Did Samuel’s fear change God’s plan? What did he tell Samuel to do?
4. What did he think when he saw Eliab?
5. What was the Lord’s response?
a. How are we like Samuel when it comes to choosing leaders (or even friends)?
b. Samuel listened to God, rather than going with his inclination. Samuel was obedient and God led him. Samuel was in the habit of listening to God. What was he instructed to do early on? (See I Samuel 3:9.)
c. Today God speaks to us through His written Word. When you go to read it, are you listening for His voice of instruction to you? What does Deuteronomy 30:20 tell us to do? Why?
6. How many sons of Jesse passed before Samuel?
a. Who was missing?
b. What was he busy doing?
c. How is David described?
d. What did Samuel do and who came upon David in power?
Note: In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit “came upon” people for specific tasks. He didn’t dwell in them as He does in believers today (Romans 8:9). In fact, less than 100 people in the Old Testament were characterized by the Holy Spirit (Spirit of the Lord) being in or on them.
7. Think about the way David was chosen to be King. Even his own father didn’t see his potential. He wasn’t groomed in the best military schools or trained in the ways of royalty. What do you learn about God from this account?
C. Fill: Samuel obeyed when his common sense told him something different. Can you think of some things that Jesus asks of us that do not make sense? Loving and praying for our enemies or denying ourselves and putting others first are just two examples that come to mind. God saw in David a heart that He could mold. How’s your heart? Do you think it is pliable in Gods hands? Are you open to Him shaping you so that He can use you to glorify Himself? Honestly talk to God about yourself. As He looks at your heart (which He does), what does He see? Express to Him your desire to grow in your love for Him (Deuteronomy 30:20).
D. Follow: Begin memorizing I Samuel 16:7
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 man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
II. DAY TWO
A. Focus: Psalm 18:7-15
B. Feed: Read I Samuel 16:14-23. This passage is puzzling because we read that an evil spirit from the Lord tormented Saul. Remember yesterday we learned that God’s Spirit came upon people for specific tasks. When the Spirit of God is absent the presence of evil is always there. We will see how God can use even evil spirits to bring people to the place where they cry out for God’s peace.
1. What solution did Saul’s attendants have for his torment?
2. How is David described in verse 18? What character traits do you see?
3. Where was David when Saul called for him? Do you find that interesting after he had been anointed to be Israel’s next king? What character trait does this bring to mind?
4. How did Saul feel about David at this point? As David played his harp for Saul, what happened?
5. Read I Samuel 17:1-58, the familiar story of David and Goliath. However, this time as you read, look for any insights you can find into the character and personality of David. Jot down things about David that stand out to you.
a. From a ‘common sense’ standpoint, did David have a chance against this giant?
b. Where did David choose to focus? (I Sam. 17:37)
c. The problem was huge, but David knew God was bigger. What do you learn about faith from David?
d. What did he say to the Philistine in verse 45?
e. How does David’s strength relate to I Samuel 16:13?
f. What kind of Spirit have we been given according to II Timothy 1:7?
6. Did you notice David’s brother’s response in verse 28? Has that ever happened to you? You are all excited about something you believe is of God and a family member gives you a condescending look, or says something harsh? It is amazing what this can do to your spirit. We want those who know us best to encourage us the most, but often just the opposite takes place. Did David let Eliab’s comment stop him? What do you learn from David?
7. David not only stood his ground with his brother but also with the king. Read verses 38-40 again. David knew himself and what would work for him; therefore, he did not try to copy Saul’s method. He was just himself: A shepherd boy who knew how to fling a sling. What do you learn from this?
C. Fill: Isn’t it amazing that God receives us just the way we are and goes to work? He does not expect or want you to be anyone but yourself. David focused on God and therefore could stand against anyone! His fear was not of man, but of God alone. Do you ever think you have nothing to offer the Lord? All He wants is your faith (Hebrews 11:6); He will do the rest. Pray that He will increase your faith as you study Him through His Word.
D. Follow: What approach do you take when faced with a challenge? Today, try David’s approach: stand on the truth of God’s Word (not your feelings).
III. DAY THREE
A. Focus: Psalm 18:16-30
B. Feed: Read I Samuel 18 and see what happens to the relationship between King Saul and David. Saul reigned as king for 42 years. David entered the picture about half way through his reign.
1. Why was Saul so jealous of David?
a. What did he want to happen to David?
b. David seems oblivious at this point to the wrath of Saul. His confidence was in God so he wasn’t paranoid and suspicious of people. What do you learn about David in this chapter?
c. What made Saul even more fearful of David? (vv. 28-29)
2. At the beginning of I Samuel 18, something amazing transpires. Read verses 1-4 again. (Jonathan was Saul’s son; the one Saul had determined to be the next king (I Samuel 20:30- 31). What immediately stands out to you in this passage?
a. Jonathan loved David as himself and became his protector. Does it say David loved Jonathan in return?
b. What did Jonathan do for David? What do you think all of this symbolized for this prince?
c. Jonathan sacrificed his rightful position for the better purpose of God. What do you learn from Jonathan?
3. I Samuel 19-23 describes Saul’s vehement pursuit of David and David’s narrow escapes. God gives David victory over and over again (I Sam.23:14). Saul cannot rest until David is dead. Read I Samuel 23:26-24:7. What happens when David has a perfect chance to kill his enemy? (See I Samuel 26:8-9 for a similar incident.)
4. What does God’s say in I Samuel 13:14? What was God looking for?
a. Do you see a heart that longs to please God in David?
b. We will see that David was far from perfect, he was a sinner just like us; but his heart was tender toward the word of God. It’s hard for us to relate to the battles and the political workings of the Old Testament, but we can relate to personal struggles, dealing with difficult people, and the process of growing and maturing through life. David made choices to “seek first His Kingdom” rather than to pursue his own agenda. What are some ways you have seen him make this choice?
C. Fill: David could have taken his life in his own hands many times and removed what we see as ‘the problem’. Remember what Deuteronomy 30:20 says: “For the Lord is your life.” David’s heart belonged to God. We are often tempted to take the easy way out in life. We want short cuts to the easy life. It’s hard to seek first His Kingdom. It requires personal discipline to pray, study and apply God’s Word; it requires self-sacrifice at times. But we, like David, have to put God’s
Word first and realize any other choice is a bad one and will not lead to real ‘life.’ Allow God’s Spirit to examine your heart. Does it belong to God? Do you trust Him rather than trying to take the easy way all the time? Do you know He loves you and He will never mislead you?
D. Follow: Keep memorizing I Samuel 16:7
IV. DAY FOUR
A. Focus: Read Psalm 59: a psalm of David regarding the time Saul sent soldiers to watch David’s house in order to kill him.
- Was David shy in his approach to God? Was he honest and direct?
- Should we be? What does Hebrews 4:16 say?
- Slowly walk though the psalm. Underline the phrases that express David’s trust in his God.
- Can you find a phrase that expresses a willful decision on David’s part to trust in spite of the circumstances? Circle it.
- What does he choose to focus on?
C. Fill: If you were to write a psalm today, what would it say? Could you be as honest as David was and yet choose to trust in God and His unfailing love? In your journal, try writing a short psalm expressing what is on your mind today. What are you anxious about? Where are you struggling? What are you thankful for? Writing out our thoughts to God can be very effective in drawing near to Him. David did it hundreds of times!
D. Follow: Begin memorizing Hebrews 4:16
V. DAY FIVE
A. Focus: At the end of each lesson (on Day Five) we are going to take some time to listen carefully to the word God has given us in the lesson. Jesus said that we build a strong foundation as we put His Word into practice (Matthew 7:24). This part of the lesson is a little more abstract than Days One through Four. There are no right or wrong answers. The goal of this day is to solidify in your mind and heart what you are learning from God’s Word.
Look back over your lesson for this week. For each day’s lesson, write one or two key points.
- What verses seem to stand out to you from your study?
- What is one lesson or principle you want to remember from your study?
- How will you apply this lesson to your everyday life?
B. Summary: David’s Portrait of Kingdom Living (Part I)
- What did David’s life teach you about living with the Kingdom of God as your primary concern?
- Conclude this lesson by discussing what you’ve written above with your Father.
- Write out your memory verses.
For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen
those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.
II Chronicles 16:9
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