David vs Saul (III)

Humility

The second quality that God saw in David was humility. Let us turn back to 1 Samuel 16:1: “And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.” God had spotted Jesse’s youngest son and said in effect, “That’s my man.” Why? Because the LORD saw in David a heart that was completely His. The boy was faithfully keeping his father’s sheep, God saw humility. He saw a servant’s heart.[1]
Confirmation of this is found in Psalm 78:70: “He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds.” And then it says in Psalm 89:20: “I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him.” It is as if God says, “I don’t care about all that slick public image business. Show me a person who has the character and I will give him all the image he needs. I don’t require some certain temperament. I don’t care if he has a lot of charisma, I don’t care about size. I don’t care about an impressive track record. I care about character. First, is the person deeply authentic in his spiritual walk or is he just faking it? And second, is he or she a servant?” Nobis says,

When you have a servant’s heart, you’re humble, you do as you are told. You don’t rebel and you respect those in charge. You serve faithfully and quietly. But more importantly, he doesn’t care about the glory. A true servant’s goal is to make the one he is serving look good. A servant doesn’t want the one he is serving to fail. He only cares about getting the job done.[2]

That was David. God looked at David out in the fields keeping his father’s sheep. He was faithfully doing his father’s bidding, and God passed approval on this young lad. While David’s brothers were off in the army making rank and fighting big impressive battles, David was all alone keeping the sheep, and he possessed a servant’s heart.
On the other hand, although Saul had a measure of humility to begin with,[3] he soon became proud. That he set up a monument for himself[4] shows that he is “not the same humble man who once had a humble opinion of himself (1 Samuel 9:21) and who once hid among the equipment out of shyness (1 Samuel 10:22).”[5] The pride in Saul’s heart reveals the years, the military victories, and prestige of the throne of Israel.[6]
Also, as mentioned in the previous section, Saul took over the function of the priest. He became pumped up with his own importance, and he did not understand why only the priest could carry on the priestly services there at the tabernacle. He presumed to step outside of God’s plan for his life.[7]


[1] Seay, Life of David; Nobis, “God’s Heart, God’s Man, God’s Ways.”

[2] Nobis, “God’s Heart, God’s Man, God’s Ways.” Cf. Burrows, God’s Heart, God’s Way, God’s Man (or Woman), 4.

[3] 1 Sm 9:21, 10:22.

[4] 1 Sm 15:22.

[5] Guznik, David Guzik’s Commentary on 1 Samuel.

[6] Cf. Guznik, David Guzik’s Commentary on 1 Samuel.

[7] James Gibson, Old Testament Survey, Andersonville Theological Seminary [CD], 2006.