So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:13
There is no doubt that this last year has been challenging for everyone on earth. In a short amount of time, life as we knew it shifted, and it seemed like each new day brought more bad news. After facing all of the heartbreaks, fears, and unknowns we have faced over this last year, it is easy to become cynical. It is easy to let go of optimism and pick up pessimism instead. While pessimism can be tempting to pick up, Scripture teaches that there is a better way, and that way is optimism.
King David was a man who chose a positive attitude during a time when everyone around him was choosing pessimism. During this time, David observed the Israelites, God's chosen people, scared and holding negative attitudes. Before we examine David's positive attitude during a time when everyone around him was negative, we must ask ourselves how he was so positive and hopeful. The answer to this question can be found in 1 Samuel 16, the chapter where David is introduced. In this chapter, the prophet Samuel was called by God to appoint a new king for Israel. God made it clear that this future king was the son of a man named Jesse. In search of this king, Samuel went to Jesse's house. When he arrived, he met Jesse's sons, searching for the king. One by one, it was clear that the sons Jesse met were not the king God had chosen for Israel. That is until he met David, the youngest son of Jesse. When Samuel met David, God revealed to him that this was the next king of Israel. After this, Samuel anointed David, an exercise done by a prophet where he poured oil over a person's head as an act of setting them apart for a particular purpose. This was the man God had chosen to be the next king of Israel.
There is an interesting statement about David in 1 Samuel 16 that I believe marked him his entire life and shaped him to be positive in impossible situations. Verse 13 states that after his anointing, "the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on." David was a man who was marked by and lived by the Holy Spirit, and this changed everything for him. I believe that living with the Spirit, living close to God, was what made David have a positive attitude in some impossibly difficult situations. Because God was with him and David lived in a close relationship with Him, David chose optimism. He knew God and walked closely with Him.
If we place our faith in God, Scripture teaches that we too have the Holy Spirit. When we are regularly walking alongside God and spending time with Him, we, like David, will have a naturally positive attitude, knowing that God is with us, guiding and protecting us. We can face even the most difficult giants, even pandemics, knowing that God has not left us or abandoned us, but He is with us, guiding and protecting us each and every step of the way. This kind of relationship and closeness with God is something we must fight for. We must intentionally choose each day to draw close to God. We must choose to talk to Him every day. As we fight each day to know God on a deep level, we gain a sense of optimism and a positive attitude that marked David in a time when positivity and optimism were scarce. Optimism is a discipline, and it starts with living a close, intentional life with the Lord. We have to fight for this each and every day.
In a world that is slowly fading away, Christ is the only firm foundation for our feet to walk on. When we focus on Him, we find joy, we find hope, and we find positivity that will overcome any negative thoughts that arise. How can you draw closer to God this week? Maybe you can spend extra time reading your Bible, praying, or listening to sermons throughout the week. Whatever that looks like for you, choose one way to draw close to God this week and tell someone who will help hold you accountable.
Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13 (NLT)
Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”
But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”
“Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.”
So Samuel did as the Lord instructed. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town came trembling to meet him. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Do you come in peace?”
“Yes,” Samuel replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice, too.
When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen.” Next Jesse summoned Shimea, but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.” In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”
“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”
“Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”
So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.
And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.”
So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.