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Samuel I Ii
(The Bible)

We finally caught up with the ruby-cheeked teenager on the hills of Ephratah. He is alone, unbothered and uncluttered with the cares of this world. As he quietly savours the beauty of nature, what appears to be most important to him for now is making a success of his current assignment which is to look after the family's main assets, a few animals. He is totally unaware that he is already enrolled in God's finishing school. Heaven has just identified Isreal's next king.

Meanwhile, Samuel is still in mournful mood because of Saul's failure to live up to expectation. As he contemplates what the future is likely to hold for the nation, he receives from heaven the greatest piece of intelligence that anyone with a stake in the future of Israel would ever get. This is that the search is over the Almighty having unearthed the gem who would fit the bill as king of Israel. The old prophet can hardly contain his joy as God tells him, ' I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite : for I have provided me a king among his sons.'

It would be recalled that several years earlier the Lord was not particularly enthusiastic about the request for a king made by the elders of Israel when Samuel was retiring. Now, surprisingly, after Saul's failure, the Lord Himself, rather than ask Israel to go back to the era of the Judges, personally chose to lead the search for a successor to Saul. Could it have been that there was nothing really wrong with the people's request, only that it was a bit premature and that God Himself was actually thinking about it.

Things moved rather quickly as David was secretly anointed by Samuel at which point the Spirit of God came upon him. Sadly, this also marked the departure of God's Spirit from Saul. It was an overdue rearrangement in the spirit realm and it would appear that from this time on heaven's secret service team left Saul and moved over to David.

Even though the young David went back to his old beat, it was a matter of time before he burst into public consciousness. This opportunity presented itself shortly afterwards when on one occasion he paid a goodwill visit to the troops who were locked in confrontation with the Phillistines. It was a time morale needed to be boosted as the Army were running scared of the enemies. It was a time of distress. However, to the shock of all Israel, the young man was able to pull off a feat that was beyond the officers and men of the Israeli Army. He felled the opposing Army's leading general. He became a national hero. It appeared this was God's own way of introducing him to the Israeli public. His life was never quite the same again.

King Saul, having been rejected by God, losing in the process the friendship and support of Samuel, was at a very low ebb and he became dangerously insecure. Therefore, he did not find the arrival of a new national hero as amusing as some would have expected. As David's stature continued to grow nationally, Saul knew that the young man had effectively displaced him in the affection of the people. He knew that it was a matter of time before David unseated him. Seeing David as a solid threat therefore, the king deployed all powers at his disposal to get David eliminated but it seems God had planted in Saul's household a mole in the person of Jonathan who always provided David with the necessary intelligence. Trying as it was, this was nevertheless the time that David's golden character really shone through. For instance, he could have used his popularity to lead a revolt that would have unseated Saul if he really wanted to. There was therefore no doubt that David's life before he became king was as eventful as when he ascended the throne.

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