“The Lord Looketh on the Heart”
Saul seeks guidance from Samuel and is anointed to be king.
Saul offers a burnt offering without the proper authority.
Saul disobeys the Lord in the battle with the Amalekites and is rejected
The Lord chooses David as king.
David slays Goliath in the strength of the Lord.
A study of this lesson will encourage us to trust in the Lord rather than our
Scripture references for study: 1 Samuel
9–11; 1 Samuel 13;
1 Samuel 15–17
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 22 Handout (PDF
Saul Anointed To Be King
As discussed in the Lesson 21, the
Israelites asked Samuel to appoint a king.
Who Is Saul?
They desired a king because the people saw no worthy successor to Samuel and
because of their desire to be "like all the nations"
(1 Samuel 8:20).
Samuel prayed to the Lord and was told that the people were not rejecting him,
but were rejecting the Lord (1
Samuel explained to the people some reasons why it was not good to have a king:
Compulsory service to the nation.
Taxes would be laden upon the people.
The king would take of the lands and property of the people.
"And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king
which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day"
(1 Samuel 8:18).
"Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of
Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us" (1
Kish sent Saul out to find his lost donkeys (1
He was the son of Kish, a Benjaminite.
Saul was "a choice young man, and a goodly: and there
was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he" (1
SAMUEL 9:15-17. The calling of Saul was revealed to Samuel.
Saul took a servant with him.
After they had searched without success, Saul was ready to return home to his
They were in the land of Zuph. His servant said that there was a man of
God in the city and that they should inquire of him at to where to look.
So they went in search of the "seer" or "prophet." It was
Samuel they found in the city.
Samuel assembled the tribes of Israel and presented Saul.
When Saul came, Samuel invited him to eat with him (1
He assured Saul concerning his father's lost animals, "set
not thy mind on them; for they are found" (1 Samuel 9:20).
Before Saul left to return home, "Samuel took a vial of
oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because
the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?" (1
Samuel gave Saul instructions which included the finding of the lost animals.
The Ammonite army attacked the tribes east of Jordan.
"And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the
LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the
people shouted, and said, God save the king" (1 Samuel 10:24).
We see in Saul, a young man who had been prepared to assume leadership in
Although Saul had been appointed king, the tribes remained independent and self
Saul sent a message calling for unity to each of the tribes (1
Under Saul's leadership, Israel defeated the Ammonites. Saul gave the credit for
the victory to the Lord, "for to day the LORD hath
wrought salvation in Israel" (1 Samuel 11:13).
"And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made
Saul king before the Lord" (v15).
As previously noted, he was "a choice young man, and a
goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he"
(1 Samuel 9:2).
He was obedient to his father.
He was willing to listen to wise counsel from his father's servant.
He trusted the prophet Samuel.
He displayed humility.
He recognized the hand of the Lord in Israel's victory over the Ammonites.
Saul Offers A Burnt Offering
The Israelites attacked a garrison of the Philistines. When the Philistines
heard of this they gathered their armed might together to go against Israel
(1 Samuel 13:3-5).
Samuel was to come and make offerings to the Lord in behalf of the people.
The Israelites were frightened by the armed might of the Philistines and
people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and
in high places, and in pits" (1 Samuel 13:6).
WHAT WAS SAMUEL'S RESPONSE TO SAUL?
Samuel was slow in coming and "Saul said, Bring
hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the
burnt offering" (1 Samuel 13:9).
WHY DID SAUL MAKE THE OFFERINGS?
Samuel did not show up at the appointed time and Saul felt that the offerings
should be made before taking on the Philistines.
WHY DID THE LORD REJECT THIS OFFERING?
He had done "foolishly" (1 Samuel 13:13).
He had "not kept the commandment of the LORD"
(1 Samuel 13:13).
The Lord would have established Saul's kingship in Israel for the remainder
of his life, but now his position would be given to another (1
Saul's unauthorized sacrifice showed a lack of trust in God.
Elder James E. Talmage: "Saul prepared the
burnt offering himself, forgetting that though he occupied the throne,
wore the crown, and bore the scepter, [he had] no right to officiate...in
the Priesthood of God; and for this and other instances of unrighteous
presumption he was rejected of God and another was made king in his place."
(Articles of Faith, p185)
HOW DID SAUL REACT WHEN SAMUEL QUESTIONED HIM ABOUT MAKING AN OFFERING
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IMPATIENT WITH THE LORD OR HIS SERVANTS? IF SO,
WHAT WERE THE CONSEQUENCES?
In Lesson 16
we discussed the story of William Godbe and his impatience with President
Young in improving the economic situation in early Utah. As a consequence
he eventually fell into the teaching of false doctrine and was excommunicated
from the Church.
Elder Abraham O. Woodruff: "The man who
stands at the head of this people enjoys the revelations of the mind and
will of God, and it is our duty to heed his counsel. The past history of
our people proves to every reasonable man that God has been with us; and
although at times perhaps the people have been unable to see the wisdom
of God manifested through His mouthpiece, yet by patience and obedience
they have finally seen the course taken by the leader of the Church vindicated
by our Eternal Father." (CR, Oct 1901)
1 SAMUEL 13:11-12. Saul rationalizes his action.
HOW DOES SAUL'S RESPONSE COMPARE TO HOW MANY PEOPLE REACT WHEN THEY ARE CONFRONTED
WITH THEIR SINS?
WHAT RATIONALIZATIONS MIGHT WE MAKE THAT LEAD US TO DISOBEY?
Tithing: We need the money.
Home/visiting teaching: I was too busy.
Anger: The kids drove me to it.
HOW CAN WE OVERCOME THE TENDENCY TO RATIONALIZE SIN?
We must have faith and trust in the Lord.
President N. Eldon Tanner: "We all know
that there are many, many things in science which we do not understand,
but which we must and do accept. Where would we be if the laws of nature
and the laws of God were limited to man's understanding? We have been admonished:
'Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding'."
(CR, Apr 1969)
The comparison by President Tanner between the laws of God and the laws
of nature is a good one. On a daily basis, we utilize modern technology
based on scientific principles. Most of us do not understand the principles,
but have sufficient faith to apply them. If I put a raw potato in
a microwave oven and turn it on for a few minutes, I find a
potato that is now ready for salt and pepper and butter. How did
it happen? I don't understand the principle behind the cooking of
a potato in the microwave. But I do have enough faith in the technology to depend upon it for a meal.
So it is with the principles and commandments of God. We need to
learn to trust in the Lord and his commandments. Many of us have
had experiences with tithing that are just as graphic as the potato in
the microwave. All we need to do is follow the Lord's instructions. Saul did not, attempted to rationalize his actions, and inevitable
Accept personal responsibility for our actions.
We all make mistakes. The sooner we accept responsibility for those mistakes,
the sooner we can go through the process of repentance and continue our
President Spencer W. Kimball: "Man is responsible
for his own sins. It is possible that he may rationalize and excuse himself
until the groove is so deep he cannot get out without great difficulty,
but this he can do. Temptations come to all people. The difference between
the reprobate and the worthy person is generally that one yielded and the
other resisted. It is true that one's background may make the decision
and accomplishment easier or more difficult, but if one is mentally alert,
he can still control his future. That is the gospel message—personal responsibility."
(BYU Speeches of the Year - 1965, p27)
Saul Disobeys The Lord In The Battle With The Amalekites
Saul was commanded by the Lord, through Samuel, to go up against the Amalekites
and to "destroy all that they have, and spare
them not; but slay both man and women, infant and suckling, ox and sheep,
camel and ass" (1 Samuel 15:3).
1 SAMUEL 15:22-23. Samuel's response to Saul.
WHAT DID SAUL DO INSTEAD? (1
Took Agag the king alive.
Spared the best of the livestock.
WHY DID SAUL DO THIS?
1 SAMUEL 15:15.
Once again Saul makes excuses for his actions. In this instance he places
the blame on the people.
1 SAMUEL 15:24-25. Saul's plea for forgiveness.
HOW DOES THE PRINCIPLE IN VERSE 22 APPLY TO US?
Are we doing the will of the Lord or the will of ourselves?
Why do we keep the commandments and perform church service? To glorify
ourselves or because of our love for the Lord.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "At issue is our
obedience to the Lord. Has he not said, 'To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to hearken than the fat of rams'? (1 Samuel 15:22.) Obedience
is what is needed, because through obedience we can grow and become more
like Him." (Meek and Lowly, pp15-16)
When telling Saul that the Lord had rejected him as king, Samuel said,
IF WE ARE STUBBORN OR DISOBEDIENT, WHAT FALSE GODS MIGHT WE WORSHIPING?
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "A prominent feature
of the natural man is selfishness—the inordinate and excessive concern
with self. Prophets frequently warn about the dangers of this sin. The
distance between constant self-pleasing and self-worship is shorter than
we think. Stubborn selfishness is actually rebellion against God, because,
warned Samuel, 'stubbornness is as. . . idolatry' (1 Samuel 15:23)."
(Men and Women of Christ, pp8-9)
DO YOU THINK SAUL SINCERELY INTENDED TO REPENT?
WHAT DO YOU THINK MOTIVATED SAUL TO REGRET HIS DISOBEDIENCE?
Samuel said to Saul, "Because thou hast rejected the
word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king" (1
Samuel 15:23). It would seem likely that Saul was concerned about
losing his position.
THE BIG QUESTION: WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO REPENT?
The Lord Chooses David As King
Since the Lord had rejected Saul as king, he commanded Samuel to go to
the house of Jesse and anoint one of his sons, whom the Lord had chosen,
as king (1 Samuel 16:1).
Samuel went down to Bethlehem and called Jesse and his sons to the sacrifice
(1 Samuel 16:5).
1 SAMUEL 16:6-7. Eliab brought before Samuel
1 SAMUEL 16:10-13. David chosen and anointed.
WHAT HAPPENED HERE?
Samuel looked at Jesse's son Eliab and thought that this was surely the
man who the Lord wanted as king.
The Lord told Samuel otherwise. He said that he was more concerned
with the inner man than physical appearance.
WHAT LESSONS MIGHT WE TAKE FROM THIS COUNSEL OF THE LORD TO HIS PROPHET
The Lord chooses his prophets, and his other servants, by what he sees
in their heart. He chooses his servants because they are humble and
willing to what the Lord asks them to do.
We need to be careful how we judge others.
Elder Marvin J. Ashton said: "We...tend
to evaluate others on the basis of physical, outward appearance: their
'good looks,' their social status, their family pedigrees, their degrees,
or their economic situations.
"The Lord, however, has
a different standard by which he measures a person.... He does not take
a tape measure around the person's head to determine his mental capacity,
nor his chest to determine his manliness, but He measures the heart as
an indicator of the person's capacity and potential to bless others."
(Ensign, Nov 1988, p15)
David Slays Goliath In The Strength Of The Lord
The Philistines had among them "a champion...named
Goliath, of Gath" (1 Samuel 17:4).
Israel and the Philistines had gathered to do battle (see
1 Samuel 17).
Height = 6 cubits/1 span = 9ft 9in.
Coat = 5000 shekels of brass = 121 lbs.
Head of spear = 600 shekels of iron = 14.6 lbs.
Three of the sons of Jesse followed Saul to battle the Philistines, but
David returned to Bethlehem where he cared for his father's sheep (1 Samuel 17:13-15).
As instructed by his father, David took some food to his brothers who had
joined Saul in the battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 17:17-20).
Goliath cries out to Israel, "...choose you a
man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me,
and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against
him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us"
(1 Samuel 17:8-9).
HOW DID ISRAEL REACT?
"When Saul and all Israel heard those words of
the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid" (1 Samuel 17:11).
Goliath presented himself before Israel 40 days, both morning and evening
(1 Samuel 17:16).
1 SAMUEL 17:32-33, 37. David volunteers to battle
While David was greeting his brothers, "behold,
there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out
of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words:
and David heard them. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man,
fled from him, and were sore afraid." (1 Samuel 17:23-24)
Saul attempted to arm David with his armor and a sword, "And
David put them off him. And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him
five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which
he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near
to the Philistine." (1 Samuel 17:39-40)
WHERE DID DAVID GET THE COURAGE TO FIGHT THIS MIGHTY MAN?
David had at one time defended his father's sheep from a bear and a lion.
As David said, "The LORD that delivered me out
of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver
me out of the hand of this Philistine."
in the Lord was so strong, that he knew that he could defeat this man for
the cause of Israel.
1 Samuel 17:48-49. David meets the challenge and
When David came before this mighty Philistine, Goliath said, "Am
I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed
David by his gods.... Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls
of the air, and to the beasts of the field." (1 Samuel 17:43-44)
David responded, "This day will the LORD deliver
thee into mine hand." (1 Samuel 17:46)
WHAT GOLIATHS DO WE ENCOUNTER TODAY?
"And when the Philistines saw their champion was
dead, they fled" (1 Samuel 17:51).
President Gordon B. Hinckley, "There are Goliaths
all around you, hulking giants with evil intent to destroy you. These are
not nine-foot-tall men, but they are men and institutions that control
attractive but evil things that may challenge and weaken and destroy you.
Included in these are beer and other liquors and tobacco. Those who market
these products would like to enslave you into their use. There are drugs
of various kinds which, I am told, are relatively easy to obtain in many
high schools. For those who peddle them, this is a multimillion-dollar
industry, a giant web of evil. There is pornography, seductive and interesting
and inviting. It has become a giant industry, producing magazines, films,
and other materials designed to take your money and lead you toward activities
that would destroy you.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM DAVID ABOUT HOW TO OVERCOME THEM?
David trusted in the Lord and not the tools of man. "David
to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and
with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the
God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied." (1 Samuel 17:45)
HOW HAS THE LORD HELPED YOU OVERCOME GOLIATHS YOU HAVE ENCOUNTERED?
"The giants who are behind
these efforts are formidable and skillful. They have gained vast experience
in the war they are carrying on. They would like to ensnare you.
"It is almost impossible
to entirely avoid exposure to their products. You see these materials on
all sides. But you need not fear if you have the slingshot of truth in
your hands. You have been counseled and taught and advised. You have the
stones of virtue and honor and integrity to use against these enemies who
would like to conquer you. Insofar as you are concerned, you can hit them
'between the eye,' to use a figurative expression. You can triumph over
them by disciplining yourselves to avoid them. You can say to the whole
lot of them as David said to Goliath, 'Thou comest to me with a sword,
and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of
the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, who thou hast defied.'
"Victory will be yours....
You have His power within you to sustain you. You have the right to ministering
angels about you to protect you. Do not let Goliath frighten you. Stand
your ground and hold your place, and you will be triumphant."
(Ensign, May 1983, p46, 51)
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
- The stories of Saul and David are great examples of what happens when we
are obedient to the Lord and trust in him or disobey the Lord's commandments
by our lack of faith. Saul lost his position due to his lack of trust
and obedience. Young David was able to conquer the foe of Israel
by his faith in the Lord. The same is true for us today. We
must have faith in the Lord and obey his commandments if we expect to be
supported by him in times of difficulty. Sometimes patience is required. The Lord will perform his will in his own due time.
- We face many Goliaths today that seek to tear us down and steal our eternal
reward. We must have the courage and faith to stand up to these Goliaths.
However, we will be successful only as we trust in the Lord.
- Record your thoughts on Saul and David. Why did Saul lose favor with the
Lord? Why was David blessed of the Lord? How can you be more faithful and
avoid the pitfalls that befell Saul?
Resources Used In This Lesson
Articles of Faith by James E. Talmage.
BYU Speeches of the Year.
Conference Reports (CR).
Meek and Lowly by Neal A. Maxwell.
Men and Women of Christ by Neal A. Maxwell.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
06 May 2014