DAVID PLAYS MUSIC FOR SAUL
Psalm 98:4, ESV
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!
1 SAMUEL 16:13-17, NIrV
13 So Samuel got the animal horn that was filled with olive oil. He anointed David in front of his brothers. From that day on, the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully on David. Samuel went back to Ramah.
14 The Spirit of the Lord had left Saul. And an evil spirit sent by the Lord terrified him.
15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “An evil spirit sent by God is terrifying you. 16 Give us an order to look for someone who can play the harp. He will play it when the evil spirit sent by God comes on you. Then you will feel better.”
17 So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays the harp well. Bring him to me.”
Ever since Saul was anointed king, God’s Spirit lived with him. God’s Spirit gave him power to rule his people and defeat their enemies. But after Saul ignored God’s orders, God had Samuel anoint someone to replace Saul: a young man named David. So God’s Spirit left King Saul and instead went to give power to David. Shortly after, someone else came to Saul – an evil spirit! Spirits (or angels) are a bit like humans, but without bodies. This devilish spirit made Saul’s days a living nightmare. Seeing how scared their king was, Saul’s servants said, “Let’s find a man to calm your fears with music!”
+ Saul lost his kingdom because he disobeyed God. Do you remember what he did?
+ Why did Saul’s servants suggest they find someone to play music for him? (vs. 16)
1 SAMUEL 16:18-20, NIrV
18 One of the servants said, “I’ve seen someone who knows how to play the harp. He is a son of Jesse from Bethlehem. He’s a brave man. He would make a good soldier. He’s a good speaker. He’s very handsome. And the Lord is with him.”
19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse. He said, “Send me your son David, the one who takes care of your sheep.” 20 So Jesse got some bread and a bottle of wine. The bottle was made out of animal skin. He also got a young goat. He loaded everything on the back of a donkey. He sent all of it to Saul with his son David.
A “coincidence” is something that seems to be a lucky accident, like forgetting to bring your lunch to school, but finding out your class is having a pizza party! When Saul needed a musician to help him feel better, his servants “just so happened” to select young David for that job. If you remember, Samuel had secretly anointed David to be the next king of Israel. Saul didn’t know it, but the young man chosen to play music for him was also the one God had secretly chosen to replace him as king. At first, this looks like a crazy coincidence, but it was actually all a part of God’s great big plan!
+ What did Saul’s servants say about Jesse’s son, David? (vs. 18)
+ How do you think Saul would react if he found out David was his replacement as king?
1 SAMUEL 16:21-23, NIrV
21 David went to Saul and began to serve him. Saul liked him very much. David became one of the men who carried Saul’s armor. 22 Saul sent a message to Jesse. Saul said, “Let David stay here. I want him to serve me. I’m pleased with him.”
23 When the evil spirit sent by God would come on Saul, David would get his harp and play it. That would help Saul. He would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
Saul’s servants believed calming music would soothe scared Saul whenever his evil spirit struck. And boy, were they right! Whenever this evil angel arrived, David strummed away on his lyre, a musical instrument similar to a harp. His beautiful music was just the right thing to take away Saul’s troubles. The king was so impressed with this young man, he asked David’s dad Jesse to let his boy remain with him. Saul also made David his armor bearer, a job given only to the king’s most trusted servants. Despite all this, Saul still had no idea that God had chosen David to replace him as king!
+ What instrument did David play? What instrument was it like? (vs. 23)
+ What happened when David played music for Saul? (vs. 23)
PSALM 23:1-6, NIRV
1 The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need.
2 He lets me lie down in fields of green grass.
He leads me beside quiet waters.
3 He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths
for the honor of his name.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid.
You are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff
5 You prepare a feast for me
right in front of my enemies.
You pour oil on my head.
My cup runs over.
6 I am sure that your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life.
And I will live in the house of the Lord
David did more than simply play music on a lyre; he wrote songs, too! The Bible book of Psalms (the letter “p” in Psalms is silent) contains 150 songs about God. In fact, the word “psalm” actually means “song.” And David wrote 76 of them! Psalm 23 might be David’s most famous song. In it, Davids compares God to a shepherd. Like a shepherd provides grass and safe water for his sheep to eat and drink, God gives us what we need. Like a shepherd protects sheep from predators, God protects his people from evil. How did David know so much about sheep and shepherds? Because he was one!
+ How does God take care of his people like a shepherd takes care of sheep? (vs. 1-2)
+ What reason does David give to us to not fear evil or death? (vs. 4)
PSALM 8, NIRV
1 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in the whole earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
2 You have made sure that children
and infants praise you.
Their praise is a wall
that stops the talk of your enemies.
3 I think about the heavens.
I think about what your fingers have created.
I think about the moon and stars
that you have set in place.
4 What are human beings that you think about them?
What is a son of man that you take care of him?
5 You have made them a little lower than the angels.
You placed on them a crown of glory and honor.
6 You made human beings rule over everything your hands created.
You put everything under their control.
7 They rule over all flocks and herds
and over the wild animals.
8 They rule over the birds in the sky
and over the fish in the ocean.
They rule over everything that swims in the oceans.
9 Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in the whole earth!
You probably don’t spend much time thinking about ants. They are so small and unimportant that they barely come to our minds at all. But compared to God, humans are ridiculously small and unimportant! Why would God ever bother thinking of us? That’s the question David wrote about in Psalm 8. Why would the God who’d made billions of brilliant stars spend a single second caring about humans? Now, imagine what David would have thought when he found out this: not only does the God of the universe think about us, he sent his only Son Jesus to actually die to save us!
+ What two questions does David ask in verse 4?
+ Read verses 1 and 9. What do they have in common?
PSALM 22:1-8, 16-18, NIRV
1 My God, my God, why have you deserted me?
Why do you seem so far away when I need you to save me?
Why do you seem so far away that you can’t hear my groans?
2 My God, I cry out in the daytime. But you don’t answer.
I cry out at night. But you don’t let me sleep.
3 But you rule from your throne as the Holy One.
You are the God Israel praises.
4 Our people of long ago put their trust in you.
They trusted in you, and you saved them.
5 They cried out to you and were saved.
They trusted in you, and you didn’t let them down.
6 Everyone treats me like a worm and not a man.
They hate me and look down on me.
7 All those who see me laugh at me.
They shout at me and make fun of me.
They shake their heads at me.
8 They say, “He trusts in the Lord.
Let the Lord help him.
If the Lord is pleased with him,
let him save him.”
16 A group of sinful people has closed in on me.
They are all around me like a pack of dogs.
They have pierced my hands and my feet.
17 Everyone can see all my bones right through my skin.
People stare at me. They laugh when I suffer.
18 They divide up my clothes among them.
They cast lots for what I am wearing.
One of the amazing things about the Bible is that each of its 66 books were written by both God and a human being at the same time. God's Holy Spirit "carried along” the hearts of the men who wrote the words of the Bible, sort of like how the wind pushes around a sailboat. That means, as David wrote his psalms (songs) to God, the Holy Spirit helped him write just what God wanted him to write.
Psalm 22 is a song that could have never been written without the help of the Holy Spirit. That's because it's actually about God's Son, Jesus! The Holy Spirit helped David write a song about Jesus over 1,000 years before Jesus was even born!
In this song, David sang of a man in terrible trouble. Things were so bad, it looked like God had "forsaken" him, left him all alone without help. People mocked him and said, "You trust God, huh? Then why doesn't he save you?" He was surrounded by enemies acting like wild dogs, ferocious bulls, and angry lions, ready to devour him.
The poor man in David's song had lost all of his strength. His clothing was stripped from him and shared between his enemies. And his hands and feet were pierced, as if something sharp had poked right through them.
As bad as things looked for this poor man, David’s song had a happy ending. The man cried out to God for help, and God answered his prayer. When it looked like no hope was left, God saved him from death. His rescue was so amazing, people from all over the world worshiped God whenever the story of it was told.
Jesus didn’t have the strength left to say very many things as he hung dying on the cross. But the book of Matthew tells us that he shouted something in a very loud voice: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Does that sound familiar to you? It should! Those are the beginning words of David’s song, Psalm 22! By crying out the beginning words of this Psalm, Jesus was telling us, “That song is really about me!”
Jesus was the man in terrible trouble that David was singing about. Jesus was the one surrounded by mocking enemies ready to devour him like wild dogs, ferocious bulls, and angry lions. Jesus was the one whose clothing was stripped and stolen. And Jesus was the one whose hands and feet were pierced by nails.
But just like Psalm 22, Jesus’ life had a happy ending, too. God rescued him from death, not by taking him down from the cross, but raising him from the dead on the third day. And the story of how Jesus rose from the dead was so amazing that it makes people from all over the world sing praise to God whenever it’s told!
+ How was David able to write about what would happen to Jesus 1000 years before Jesus was born?
+ What things in David’s psalm describe what happened to Jesus? (vs. 8 and 16)