1. IN NATURE’S SOLITUDE
a. What did David realize from his early surroundings in the countryside? Romans 1:20; Psalm 8:3–9. How is such an environment conducive to spiritual development? Psalm 24:1.
“David, in the freshness of boyhood, kept watch of his [father’s] flocks as they grazed on the hills surrounding Bethlehem.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 637.
“It was Christ who spoke . . . with the boy David as he watched his flocks.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 290, 291.
b. How can young people today benefit from an early education similar to David’s? Psalms 19:1–3; 119:9, 97, 113.
“The heavens may be to [the youth] a study-book, from which they may learn lessons of intense interest. The moon and the stars may be their companions, speaking to them in the most eloquent language of the love of God.”—The Youth’s Instructor, October 25, 1900.
2. THE HEART OF THE PSALMIST
a. What was God’s purpose in bestowing upon David poetic and musical gifts? Psalms 105:1, 2; 66:16, 17.
“The simple shepherd boy sang the songs of his own composing, and the music of his harp made a sweet accompaniment to the melody of his fresh young voice. The Lord had chosen David, and had ordered his life that he might have an opportunity to train his voice, and cultivate his talent for music and poetry. The Lord was preparing him in his solitary life with his flocks, for the work He designed to commit to his trust in afteryears.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 2, p. 1018.
b. Explain how the faithful in all ages have reaped a great spiritual blessing from David’s experience as a shepherd. Psalms 66:1–6; 100:3.
“[David] was daily coming into a more intimate communion with God. His mind was constantly penetrating into new depths for fresh themes to inspire his song. . . .
“Who can measure the results of those years of toil and wandering among the lonely hills? The communion with nature and with God, the care of his flocks, the perils and deliverances, the griefs and joys, of his lowly lot, were not only to mold the character of David and to influence his future life, but through the psalms of Israel’s sweet singer they were in all coming ages to kindle love and faith in the hearts of God’s people, bringing them nearer to the ever-loving heart of Him in whom all His creatures live.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 642.
“The psalmist connects the law of God in the natural world with the laws given to His created intelligences.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 3, p. 1144.
“[Psalm 66:1–5 quoted.] This psalm and portions of the sixty-eighth and seventy-second psalms were often sung by Christ.”—Ibid., p. 1148.
“With patient calmness [Christ] met the sneers, the taunts, and the ridicule of His fellow workers at the carpenter’s bench. Instead of retorting angrily, He would begin to sing one of David’s beautiful psalms; and His companions, before realizing what they were doing, would unite with Him in the hymn.”—Ibid., vol. 7, p. 936.
3. REALIZING OUR FINITE PERSPECTIVE
a. Explain the limited understanding of Samuel the prophet when God sent him to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be king. 1 Samuel 16:1–6.
“As Samuel looked upon [Eliab’s] princely bearing, he thought, ‘This is indeed the man whom God has chosen as successor to Saul,’ and he waited for the divine sanction that he might anoint him. But Jehovah did not look upon the outward appearance. Eliab did not fear the Lord. Had he been called to the throne, he would have been a proud, exacting ruler.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 638.
b. What should we learn from this experience of Samuel—especially when choosing various kinds of leaders and in looking to the future of the youth in our midst? 1 Samuel 16:7; John 7:24.
“We may learn from the mistake of Samuel how vain is the estimation that rests on beauty of face or nobility of stature. We may see how incapable is man’s wisdom of understanding the secrets of the heart or of comprehending the counsels of God without special enlightenment from heaven. The thoughts and ways of God in relation to His creatures are above our finite minds; but we may be assured that His children will be brought to fill the very place for which they are qualified, and will be enabled to accomplish the very work committed to their hands, if they will but submit their will to God, that His beneficent plans may not be frustrated by the perversity of man.”—Ibid.
“ ‘Will not the thorough education of a few answer every essential requirement?’
“No, I answer, most decidedly not. What selection would we be able to make from our youth? How could we tell who would be the most promising, who would render the best service to God? In our human judgment we might do as did Samuel, who, when sent to find the anointed of the Lord, looked upon the outward appearance. . . . Who can determine which one of a family will prove to be efficient in the work of God? All the youth should be permitted to have the blessings and privileges of an education at our schools, that they may be inspired to become laborers together with God.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 197.
4. A SURPRISE CHOICE
a. Describe God’s choice and the wisdom of His plan. 1 Samuel 16:8–12.
“When God called David from his father’s sheepfold to anoint him king of Israel, He saw in him one to whom He could impart His Spirit.”—Christ Triumphant, p. 146.
“David was not of lofty stature, but his countenance was beautiful, expressive of humility, honesty, and true courage. The angel of God signified to Samuel that David was the one for him to anoint, for he was God’s chosen. From that time the Lord gave David a prudent and understanding heart.”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4A, p. 78.
b. What should parents and teachers understand in seeking to guide the youth under their care? Proverbs 15:33; Ecclesiastes 7:8.
“The elder brothers, from whom Samuel would have chosen, did not possess the qualifications that God saw to be essential in a ruler of His people. Proud, self-centered, self-confident, they were set aside for the one whom they lightly regarded, one who had preserved the simplicity and sincerity of his youth, and who, while little in his own sight, could be trained by God for the responsibilities of the kingdom. So today, in many a child whom the parents would pass by, God sees capabilities far above those revealed by others who are thought to possess great promise.
“And as regards life’s possibilities, who is capable of deciding what is great and what is small? How many a worker in the lowly places of life, by setting on foot agencies for the blessing of the world, has achieved results that kings might envy! Let every child, then, receive an education for the highest service.”—Education, pp. 266, 267.
“ ‘Not to be ministered unto, but to minister’ is the great lesson which we are to learn and to teach.
“Let the youth be impressed with the thought that they are not their own. They belong to Christ. They are the purchase of His blood, the claim of His love. They live because He keeps them by His power. Their time, their strength, their capabilities are His, to be developed, to be trained, to be used for Him.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 396, 397.
5. HUMBLE AND MODEST AS BEFORE
a. What was reflected in the attitude of young David? Psalm 23:1–6; 71:5.
“How sweetly are [David’s] experiences as a shepherd lad reflect in the words: [Psalm 23:1–4 quoted].”—Education, p. 164.
b. Explain the aim and result of Samuel’s secret mission. 1 Samuel 16:13.
“Samuel had not made known his errand, even to the family of Jesse, and the ceremony of anointing David had been performed in secret. It was an intimation to the youth of the high destiny awaiting him, that amid all the varied experiences and perils of his coming years, this knowledge might inspire him to be true to the purpose of God to be accomplished by his life.
“The great honor conferred upon David did not serve to elate him. Notwithstanding the high position which he was to occupy, he quietly continued his employment, content to await the development of the Lord’s plan in His own time and way. As humble and modest as before his anointing, the shepherd boy returned to the hills and watched and guarded his flocks as tenderly as ever.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 641.
“David, in the beauty and vigor of his young manhood, was preparing to take a high position with the noblest of the earth. His talents, as precious gifts from God, were employed to extol the glory of the divine Giver. . . . As he beheld the love of God in all the providences of his life, his heart throbbed with more fervent adoration and gratitude, his voice rang out in a richer melody, his harp was swept with more exultant joy; and the shepherd boy proceeded from strength to strength, from knowledge to knowledge; for the Spirit of the Lord was upon him.”—Ibid., p. 642.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Explain the spiritual benefits of spending time in God’s creation in nature.
2. What personal benefits can I derive from the psalms of David?
3. What should we all learn from the lesson given to Samuel?
4. Name some significant point from the experience in Jesse’s home.
5. How can we be inspired by David’s response to his quiet anointing?