David the King


Antioch Arcade


Scripture:  1 Samuel 16: 1-13


Memory Verse: The Lord said, “People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.” -- 1 Samuel 16: 7 (CEV)



·        God sees and understands things we do not.

·        God sees our hearts and not our outward appearance.



1.     Older children will locate the story of David’s anointing in their Bibles. Younger children will learn that the story is in 1 Samuel.

2.     The children will review the story.

3.     The children will play a game to demonstrate that things and people are not always as they appear.

4.     The children will discuss the concepts of God seeing things that we don’t, and God judging people by our hearts and not our outward appearance.



Welcome and Introductions:

1.     Greet the children and introduce yourself.  Wear your name-tag.

2.     Open with a brief prayer.


Scripture/Bible Story:

1.     Grades 1-2 will not use Bibles, but do open yours to show them where the story is. For grades 3-5, make sure everybody has a Bible. The shepherds will have extra Bibles. (There are also extra Bibles in the cupboard of Creation Station.)  Help the students to find the book of 1 Samuel. (Get the shepherds to go around the room and help with this.)

2.     If necessary, review the organization of the Bible: The Bible is divided into two big parts, the Old and New Testaments. Each part is a collection of books. Each book is divided into chapters and verses. Have them figure out whether I Samuel is in the Old or New Testament (happened before Jesus so it’s in Old Testament).

Show them that if they open their Bible in the middle, they’ll usually land in the book of Psalms in the OT. Point out that the book name is at the top of each page. Tell them that I Samuel comes before Psalms, then let them flip through the first half of the Bible for it. (Some of the older children should know the books of the Bible. Encourage everyone to learn them.)


After they’ve found I Samuel, help them find chapter 16 and tell them this is where the story of David being chosen as king is told in the Bible. Some of the children will confuse chapters and verses. Show them that chapter numbers are the big ones, and also are at top of every page.


3.     Review the story, using the summary below as a guide. Unless this is the first Sunday of the rotation, let the children help you tell the story. This will give you an idea of how much they already know. Other ideas for reviewing the story in later weeks:


·        Begin the story and let each person in the circle add one line to the story until it is complete. Help them tell the COMPLETE story.


·        Tell the story back to them with inaccuracies and let them correct you. (especially fun for the younger ones -- but don’t do this until the later part of the rotation.


·        Photocopy the passage (remove verse numbers), cut it up and see if they can put it back together correctly.


·        Hand out key words and ask the kids what they have to do with the story. Or find the key word in the Bible passage and then read it.


Story Summary


Saul was the king of Israel, but he disobeyed God, and God chose a new king. God told Samuel, “Stop feeling sad about Saul. Get some oil and go to Bethlehem to see a man named Jesse. I’ve chosen one of his sons to be my king, and I want you to anoint him.”

But Samuel said, "How can I do that? Saul will hear about it and kill me."

God answered, "Take a calf with you and tell everybody that you’ve come to make a sacrifice to me. Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. When I show you which one of his sons I have chosen, anoint him by pouring the oil on his head.”

Samuel did what God said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, he invited the leaders of the town, along with Jesse and his sons, to the sacrifice.

When Samuel saw Jesse’s oldest son, Eliab, he thought, "Surely this is the one the Lord has chosen.."

But God told Samuel, "Don’t be fooled just because Eliab is tall and handsome. He’s not the one I’ve chosen. People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.”

Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to go over to Samuel. But Samuel said, "The Lord has not chosen this one either." Jesse kept sending more sons over to Samuel until Samuel had seen and rejected seven sons. Samuel said to Jesse, "The Lord has not chosen any of these. Do you have any more sons?”

"There is just one more,” Jesse answered, "My youngest son is tending the sheep."

Samuel said, "Send for him; we will not start the sacrifice until he gets here.

So Jesse sent for David, his youngest son. When David got there, God told Samuel, “He’s the one! Get up and anoint him.”

So Samuel took the oil and poured it on David’s head. At that moment, the spirit of the Lord took control of David and stayed with him from then on.

And Samuel went home.



1.     Tell the children: Samuel couldn’t tell from outward appearances which one of Jesse’s sons God had chosen. Now we’re going to see how good we are at judging from outward appearances. Let’s play To Tell the Truth!

2.     Show the kids a variety of pictures and have them guess at what the reality is. Use optical illusions, partial images, magnifications of microscopic objects, and photos of people who don’t fit stereotypical appearances.  Ask questions appropriate to each picture and have them “vote” their judgments by moving to a certain part of the room.  For example, with an optical illusion: “If you think all the circles are the same size, go to that corner. If you think one circle is bigger than the others, go to the opposite corner.” With partial images and magnifications, ask for suggestions as to what the complete picture is, or give them several choices and let them vote. With photos of people, ask: “Which one of these three people was convicted of robbing a bank?” Vary the voting by having them indicate their choices by hopping, spinning, standing on one foot, singing, or whatever else you can think of to keep them moving.


You might also use auditory illusions (for example, sometimes it’s hard to tell by the sound whether someone is laughing or crying) or have the children try to identify objects by touch, taste, or smell.


Older children:  Use the hardest pictures. You want them to miss a lot in order to make your point about judging by appearances. They are likely to catch on pretty quickly that the correct answer is not usually the obvious answer – so when they guess one right, point out that it’s not the answer we would normally expect based on appearances.


Younger Children: Start out with some easy pictures, but be sure that there are some that most kids will miss. Keep them moving.



Reflection Time:


Talk about some of the pictures where the truth was surprising. Ask: Do you think God has a hard time knowing the truth about those pictures? (No, because God sees and understands things we do not.)


What about some of the people in the pictures? Sometimes it was hard to guess who was the criminal, who was the millionaire, who was the doctor, etc. Do you think God has the same problem we did? (No, God sees our hearts and not our outward appearance.)


In the story, Samuel thought Jesse’s oldest son was the one God had chosen. Why did he think that? (The oldest son was tall and handsome. Samuel was judging him by appearances.)


Our memory verse is what God said to Samuel. Let’s say it together: The Lord said, “People judge others by what they look like, but I judge people by what is in their hearts.” -- 1 Samuel 16: 7 (CEV)


Reflection Time:

Pass out the journal pages and ask the shepherds to pass out pencils/markers. Optional: Give the children a sticker or some other memento, (a smear of olive oil?  A tiny reproduction of an optical illusion?), to put in their journal as a reminder of the workshop.


Ask the children to follow the instructions and write or draw a picture to illustrate the journal question. Those who finish early can turn the page over and work the puzzle on the back.




Encourage the children to bring an offering next week. Remind them that the offering from this rotation will go to our missionaries.


Prayer:  God, please help us to be like you, and not judge others by their appearance. Help us to have good hearts and not worry so much about our own appearance. Amen    


Tidy and Dismissal: Ask children to collect pencils, Bibles, etc. When the room is tidy, dismiss the class.


Teacher preparation in advance:


1.     Read the scripture passages and attend the Faith Quest Leaders Bible Study.

2.     Prepare a closing prayer. 

3.     Write the scripture verse on the white board or display it in the room some other way.

4.     Collect pictures for use in the game. Books, magazines, newspapers and the Internet are all good sources. Have pictures large enough for display to a group. Write what you are going to ask about the picture on the back so you can read the question as you hold the picture up for the class to see.



Supply List


Pencils (in supply bin; the shepherds also have pencils)

Dry-erase marker (in supply bin)

Extra Bibles

Pictures for game

            Mystery Photos

            People Photos

Journal sheets




Storytelling ideas: