1 Samuel 16.1-13

We’ve taught this lesson before from the perspective of trusting God’s promises. Another significant observation of this story is that God cared about what was going on in David’s heart. David wasn’t the obvious choice to be anointed by Samuel, but God chose him because of what he saw on the inside. God cares deeply about each one of our hearts, and that’s why he sent us his Son Jesus!

Key Verse

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

– Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV)


Object Lesson (What’s Inside?)

Supplies: 3 Gift Bags, with a small treat in only one of them.

Set out the 3 gift bags and explains to the kids that there’s a little prize in one of the bags for someone who can answer a question from the previous week’s lesson. Emphasize though that only one of the gift bags has something in it. Ask a question and let the first hand up have an opportunity to answer. If that person answers your question correctly let them come up front. Explain to the kids that your ‘contestant’ has no way of knowing which bag has the prize in it but that we are going to give them an opportunity to practice their x-ray vision! Let the child choose. Yay! if the child chooses the correct one. If it was an empty packet you could ask the group another question and repeat the process.


Remind the kids that we’ve been learning about Judges in Israel who helped them live in the Promised Land according to God’s ways. Explain that it didn’t go well and the people didn’t always follow God, and sometimes they even worshipped other Gods. Well, the people asked God to give them a king because they thought they might be better if they had a king. God gave them a king named Saul. Saul was very strong and handsome and the people thought that he would be a good king. Do you think he was a good king? No! Saul didn’t like to ask God what he should do! He just did whatever he wanted. So God sent his prophet Samuel on a special mission to anoint a new king!

Bible Story

Visual aid: A jar of oil.

Use your Bible or a children’s Bible to tell the story from 1 Sam. 16.1-13.

Verse 1: An animal horn was a good way to carry oil in those days. Samuel would use it to pour over the head of the person who God chooses to be king.

Verse 4: The Elders were trembling because they knew that Samuel was a powerful man of God.

Verse 5: Consecrate probably meant “Go take a bath!” This was important when you were going to make a sacrifice because it showed God that you respected him and honored his holiness.

Verses 6–10: Samuel had a tough job! He had to choose one of the sons but he could only see the inside. What really mattered to God is what was going on in their hearts! Israel needed a king with a good heart! Someone who really loved the LORD!

Verse 11: Ask the kids whether they do chores at home. Ask them what the worst chore is to do at home (probably taking out the garbage or cleaning the cat litter box). Explain that in the old days looking after the sheep was the worst job and it was often given to the youngest person in the family. Ask the children if any of them are the youngest in their family. A few hands might go up. You could say to them that they might have been looking after sheep if they were living back in the day!

Verse 13: David loved God but that doesn’t mean that he was perfect. He still needed the Spirit of God in him!


Did you know that God really cares about what’s going on in your heart? He loves you and he loves to look into your heart and see all the good things! Unfortunately we all sometimes have some dirt in our hearts. We call that dirt sin, and sometimes we see it as selfishness, or bitterness, or greed. How do we wash away those sins? Samuel told Jesse and his sons to go take a bath before they were going to make their sacrifice. That would wash their bodies, but it couldn’t wash their feelings.

Did you know that people in those days knew that they had a problem with their hearts. For example, read what the prophet Ezekiel says in Ezekiel 36:26. Did you know that God has fulfilled that promise and given us a way for our hearts to be washed? Do you know what Ezekiel was talking about? He was talking about God sending his son Jesus to be a sacrifice for us, so that our sins could be forgiven. That means that our sins could be washed away, and our hearts can be clean, even made brand new! Remember that when we allow Jesus to do that, we also get the Holy Spirit––just like David––to help us and empower us.

Prayer: Thank God that he cares for us, and cares about what’s going on in our hearts. Thank him for sending his Son Jesus to forgive our sins and that, if there are ever things on our hearts that are bothering us, we can bring them to Jesus to clean our hearts of brokenness and sin. Pray for wisdom and courage for the children as they seek to follow God.

Review Questions

  • What did God tell Samuel to do?
  • What does it mean to consecrate yourself? (To be clean and set apart for God)
  • Where was David when his brothers and dad were at the sacrifice?
  • Do you think God can see what’s in your heart?
  • How would you feel if God sent someone to anoint you?
  • What would you do?