While Saul was still king of Israel, God chose David to be the next king. David was a young shepherd boy when God sent the prophet Samuel to Jesse’s house to anoint the future king.

Samuel was surprised that God did not choose Jesse’s eldest son. But God said to Samuel:“Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him.For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

God was pleased with what He saw in David’s heart. We need to remember that God can see into our hearts too! In 1 Samuel 17 we read of an example of David’s great faith. The nation of Israel was threatened by the Philistines. The Philistine army was led by their champion fighter, Goliath, a giant of a man. King Saul and his army were terrified of Goliath and failed to put their trust in God. Young David knew that this enemy of God’s people could be defeated with God’s help. He stepped out in faith with just a sling and five stones and killed Goliath. After this the Philistine army ran away. Through David’s faith in God the people of Israel were saved from their enemy.

Saul became very jealous of David’s success. On several occasions he tried to kill David, who became a refugee. These problems prepared David for his time as king. The Bible teaches that true believers will experience difficulties in their lives, through which their trust in God can grow. While Saul was hunting David, there were times when David could easily have killed him and taken the throne. But David knew that this was wrong because Saul was God’s anointed king, and God would remove him when He chose to do so. David was a righteous man who let God control events in his life – another lesson for us.

After Saul’s death, David became king over God’s people and reigned from Jerusalem, where he built a palace. Saul made some bad choices in life. As we survey our lives, all of us can cite choices we made at certain points that set the course for our lives and put us on a path that has led to where we are now.

Our choices shape our lives, for good or for harm. We’re all familiar with the story of Mary and Martha, where Martha was all concerned with preparations for a meal and Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet for teaching. Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

Jesus was teaching Martha–and us–about the importance of choosing well, of establishing the right priorities in our lives, so that we don’t have to live with the regret of poor choices. For those of us who have made poor choices in the past and are living with the consequences, we want to warn those coming behind us of the importance of making right choices, because they will be living with the consequences of some of their choices for the rest of their lives. And for those who are living with some poor choices, God is in the business of restoring us and giving us a hope and a future.

Every day we’re faced with choices, little and big ones, where we have to decide whether we will serve the Lord or we’ll serve ourselves and take the easy way out.

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