This is the third lesson in a study on Israel’s Kings. Click here to see the lesson index.
This lesson is about Samuel anointing David to be king. The lesson focuses on David’s heart and how he was faithful in his day to day tasks. This would be an excellent Sunday School lesson, but you could easily use it in kids church or for children’s Bible study at home. Like all our content, it’s 100% free for you to use in your church, home, or school.
Bible Story: King David, a man after God’s own heart
Scripture: 1 Samuel 16
Target Age Group: Age 9 – 11 (U.S. 3rd – 5th Grade)
Learning Context: Sunday School
Target Time Frame: 60 minutes
Printer Friendly Bible Lesson: [print_link] this lesson plan
You Can Help: Please share your feedback and suggestions to improve this children’s Bible lesson. Click here to respond
Supply List: Construction paper, markers, pens, Bibles
Learning Goal: Students will learn that God sees our hearts and is looking for servants who are faithfully obeying Him in whatever task they have been given.
Learning Indicator: Students creating the heart that pleases God activity will be able to identify attitudes and behaviors that please God and attitudes/behaviors that displease God. Students will demonstrate their comprehension of the lesson by participating in a game with review questions.
Learning Activity #1: What’s in your heart? With this activity students will cut out a heart shape from construction paper. On one side of the heart students will write words that describe a heart that does not please God. (Lying, stealing, disobedience, cheating, bullying, etc.) On the other side students will write words that describe a heart that pleases God. (Obedient, honest, faithful, kind, serves others, joyful, etc.) Have Scriptures available to direct them to Godly attitudes.
Test: Review Questions
Memory Verse: Ecclesiastes 9:10 “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge or wisdom.”
Bible Lesson: David-Introducing the King after God’s own heart
(This is a possible way to teach this lesson. You can leave out the story to introduce the lesson if you are limited for time.)
Introduction to lesson:
Billy wanted a puppy ever since he could remember. His parents told him that he needed to wait until he was old enough to care for the dog by himself. When he turned 9 he decided that he was old enough to get a dog. He talked to his parents and they told him he needed to pray for God to provide a dog that would be a perfect fit for their family. Billy thought that would keep him from getting a dog anytime soon. Instead of praying as his parents suggested he kept pestering them about letting him have a puppy now. One day on his way home from his friend’s house he saw a poster nailed to a pole that was offering free puppies. He ran home as fast as he could and asked his mom if they could go look at the puppies. She asked him if he had been praying about the puppy God wanted him to have. He told her that he hadn’t really been praying at all but wanted to see these puppies. She agreed to take him and when Billy saw the puppies he instantly wanted one. He told his mom that he really wanted the one with a white spot on his black ear. She said they would need to discuss it with his father before they made a decision.
At dinner that night, Billy asked his dad about the puppy and his father asked him the same question his mother did earlier, “Billy did you pray about the puppy God wants you to have?” Billy said that he had not but he knew that this puppy was the right one for him. Billy’s parents were quiet and didn’t give him an answer.
It frustrated Billy that his parents wouldn’t just say yes to this puppy he wanted so badly. Billy kept asking them to please let him have the puppy because he has always wanted one and this one was free. He kept pestering them every day and they finally agreed to let him have the free puppy.
At first the puppy made Billy very happy but as the days went by he saw that the puppy didn’t like people very well. When he would take his puppy for a walk and people stopped to pet him the puppy would bark and growl. When a family came to visit Billy’s home the puppy snapped at their little girl when she tried to pet him.
Billy’s parents could see that this dog was not working out for their family. They couldn’t keep a dog that was going to bite people. They told Billy that he was going to have to give the puppy away to someone who needed a guard dog because he wasn’t a perfect fit for their family.
Billy was so disappointed. He wanted a dog so bad and now the one he had he couldn’t keep.
What Billy didn’t realize was that his parents had given him wise advice when they told him that he should pray that God would give him a dog that would be a perfect fit for their family. Although Billy chose not to pray and ask God to give him that dog, his parents were praying for a dog for Billy. God had answered their prayers when Billy’s Dad was at work and his friend said that they had a puppy they needed to give away because the family was moving to a house that could not have pets. Billy’s dad went to see the puppy after work and saw that he was a sweet, loving, gentle puppy. He told his friend that he would speak to his wife and they would pray about it and let him know as soon as they could.
After praying together, Billy’s parents felt that the Lord had answered their prayers about a puppy for Billy. They brought the puppy home and when Billy walked through the door and saw the puppy he was thrilled. The puppy ran to Billy wagging his tail and as Billy stooped down to pet him he licked his hand.
Although having a puppy was a lot of work Billy really grew to love his dog. He was sweet and gentle to everyone who was near him. This little puppy taught Billy that God’s choice of a puppy was much better than his choice. He knew that from now on he needed to follow his parent’s advice and pray for God’s choice when he makes any decisions.
As we have been learning about how Israel asked God for a king so they could be like the other countries we can see how King Saul is like Billy’s first puppy. Because their main reason for wanting a king was to look like everyone else, they chose a king that looked good on the outside but was rebellious and disobedient toward God.
(If your class learned about Saul ask what Saul did that was disobedient to God.) Saul didn’t obey God’s commands completely and as a result of his rebellion Samuel told him that God had rejected him as the king over Israel. Samuel told Saul (1 Samuel 13:14) that God had found a man after His own heart that He had chosen to be the leader over His people.
Samuel was very sad about Saul’s rebellion towards God and that he had been rejected as the leader of God’s people. Let’s turn in our Bibles to 1 Samuel 16:1 and read what the Lord tells Samuel.
It would seem that after Saul had been told that he was rejected as king over Israel he would have repented of his rebellion towards God’s commands. Samuel’s response to God as he thinks of having to travel through the area where Saul lives tells us a little about Saul’s heart at this time. Read the first part of 1 Samuel 16:2. Because Saul did not repent of his sin towards God his actions and attitudes continued to grow more wicked. Most likely he never forgot Samuel’s words that God had rejected him as king and had chosen a new king that would replace him. Saul didn’t want anyone to replace him as king so he may have kept a close eye on Samuel so that he did not choose this new king.
God told Samuel to say that he is going to Bethlehem to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. Samuel was God’s servant and offering sacrifices was part of his job. Samuel obeyed God and trusted Him despite his fear of Saul.
When Samuel arrived in Bethlehem he asked the elders (leaders) of the city and Jesse and his sons to get ready for the sacrifice. Let’s find out what they needed to do to get ready for the sacrifice in 1 Samuel 16:5. A way to understand what it meant for them to consecrate themselves would be to say that they needed to prepare themselves for the sacrifice by putting on clean clothes and making sure their heart was right before God.
As believers we consecrate ourselves when we come before God and confess any known sin. By confessing our sin and searching our hearts we allow Him to cleanse our hearts and prepare our hearts to meet with Him. Do you spend time allowing God to search your heart and confess any known sin before you spend time in worship and prayer?
Jesse and seven of his sons came to the sacrifice. When Samuel took one look at Eliab Jesse’s oldest son guess what he thought? Read 1 Samuel 16:6.
In the Old Testament being the oldest son was a valuable position to have. The oldest son received special honor for being the firstborn. Perhaps that may have been one of the reasons Samuel thought this man was the man God had chosen. He also saw Eliab’s appearance. It wasn’t too long ago that Samuel anointed Saul a very handsome, tall man. Eliab’s appearance must have caused Samuel to think he would be a perfect fit to be king.
God saw Eliab differently. Read 1 Samuel 16:7. God saw Eliab’s heart and whatever He saw was not what God was looking for in a king. Saul was handsome on the outside but what kind of character did he have? He was disobedient and rebellious to God’s commands. His heart was not pleasing to God.
A person’s character is more important than his/her outward beauty. When you choose friends what is more important to you? Is it more important that they look nice and wear fashionable clothes or do you look for character traits such as honesty, loyalty, kindness, etc.?
Samuel had Jesse bring each of his sons before him. God had not chosen any of these seven sons. This must have been confusing to Samuel so he asks Jesse, “Are these the only sons you have?” Jesse had one more son but he was the youngest and he was out in the fields taking care of the sheep.
Sometimes we think that God only wants to use people who seem important. David was not included in the special time with Samuel to offer the sacrifice. It would seem as though his family didn’t think he was all that important to invite. But that is not how God saw David. Remember He could see David’s heart.
Samuel wanted someone to go and get David from the field and bring him to the sacrifice. He said they would not start until he arrived.
David was in the field tending sheep and had no idea that on this very day he would be chosen to serve as Israel’s king. David is a good example of how to obey our memory verse for this lesson. Let’s read what it says in Ecclesiastes 9:10. When Samuel sent for David he was found faithfully tending his father’s sheep.
When you are given an assignment or a chore how would others describe how you do it? Would they say you faithfully worked on the task you were given or were you distracted by other things or just being lazy? God chooses servants to work in His Kingdom who are faithful with whatever task he/she is given to do.
David was brought before Samuel. Let’s read 1 Samuel 16:12-13. When Samuel put oil on David’s head in the presence of those who were at the sacrifice they were witnesses that David was chosen to be the king of Israel. This did not mean that David would take over the kingdom immediately but in God’s timing David would be the next king.
How do you think David felt when he was chosen to be the king? How do you think his brothers might have felt that their younger brother who tended sheep was God’s choice to be the next king? Remember earlier we read that God sees the heart. God’s ways are not man’s ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9) God chooses people to serve Him that have faithful, obedient hearts and it confuses people because they think that only popular, attractive, intelligent, gifted, important people should be God’s servants. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)
What do you think David did after Samuel left? How do you think he may have behaved in his home? Do you think he told his father that he no longer would take care of the sheep because he was chosen by God to be the king of Israel? God’s Word gives no indication that he behaved in a prideful manner. We can assume that he continued to live his life as he had before faithfully serving as a shepherd until God told him to do otherwise.
Meanwhile we turn our attention to the present king of Israel. What was his name again? (Saul) Because he had a disobedient and rebellious heart God’s Spirit was no longer with him. Instead, he was tormented by an evil spirit.
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit had not been sent into the hearts of believers. That happened on the day of Pentecost after Jesus returned back to heaven (Acts 2 ). In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit would come upon people but didn’t stay. As believers we have received the Holy Spirit and He dwells within our hearts and will never depart as He did in the Old Testament (Ephesians 1:13). With that brief explanation we can understand what happened to Saul. He chose to rebel against God and God removed His Spirit from him. If you look back at 1 Samuel 16:13 you will see that God’s Spirit had come upon David in power.
God’s Spirit brings peace, comfort, courage, wisdom and power to do the things He commands His servants to do. Saul had an evil spirit that tormented him. An evil spirit would bring all the opposite feelings that God’s Spirit would bring. Saul was miserable and his servants could see that he was suffering. They suggested to him that he allow them to search for a musician that would play music to help him feel better.
Let’s read 1 Samuel 16:17-23. As a simple shepherd boy, David had a reputation. As we look at verse 18 what were things that others knew about David? (skillful in playing, brave man and a warrior and prudent in speech (NKJV) David was faithful in the day to day tasks he was given and over time his reputation was known by many people. As a result of having a good reputation in Bethlehem he was recommended to serve King Saul.
What are some activities that you are involved in? Do you take piano (or another muscial instrument) lessons? Do you practice the amount of time each day that your teacher asks you to? As you faithfully practice your instrument you will become better and better and one day you may use your gift of music to serve God. Maybe you don’t take music lessons but you have homework from school. Do you do your homework with your best effort or do you hurry through it so you can do other things? It’s important to do your homework to the best of your ability so you can learn and continue to further your education. You don’t know what God’s plans for your life are right at this moment but you can trust that He has created you for good works (Ephesians 2:10). Whatever task you are given you should do it to the best of your ability so you can serve God in whatever service He calls you into.
David came and served King Saul. Whenever David played his harp the evil spirit would leave King Saul and he would be comforted. David knew God had chosen him to be king but he still was being faithful to do whatever God asked him to do until it was his time to be the king. This week what attitude or behavior do you need to change so you can be more like David as he faithfully served God? As we close in prayer ask God to help you to be faithful in whatever task you are given this week.
Close in prayer.
Divide class into two teams and as each team gets a correct answer they can place an x or o on a tic tac toe board.
- Why was Samuel sad? (Saul was rejected as king)
- What did God tell Samuel to do? (Go to Bethlehem to anoint the king He had chosen)
- Why was Samuel afraid? (He thought Saul would kill him)
- How did Jesse, his sons and the elders prepare for the sacrifice? (Consecrated themselves)
- What does it mean to consecrate yourself? (To be clean and prepared to meet with God)
- Why did God say Eliab was not going to be the king? (He sees the heart not just the outward appearance)
- Where was David when his brothers and dad were at the sacrifice? (Tending sheep)
- Why was Saul tormented? (He was tormented by an evil spirit)
- How did Saul learn about David? (His servants had heard about his reputation of being a skillful musician, brave warrior etc.)
Need more free materials for Sunday School? Be sure to browse our Jesus coloring pages or Sunday School craft ideas.