Friday, November 27, 2015

A King after God's Own Heart - 1 Sam. 16:1-13

"We want a king to lead us like every other nation!"  That was the cry of the Israelites in chapter 8.  They were tired of God's leading.  They wanted a king that would give them a world-class-nation status, so God gave them the exact type of king that they were hoping for.  Sometimes things don't end well when God gives us exactly what we want as it was the case with Saul.

Now that they have seen where a king like the kings of the nations will lead them, God is going to give them a king who is after his own heart, that is, a king that generally desires the same things as God does.

The anointing of David as king of Israel is a major event, not only in the history of Israel, but in the history of redemption.  David's anointing clearly and powerfully points to the anointing and kingship of his greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Heavily using the outline and content of Ralph Dale Davis's commentary on 1 Samuel.)

I.             The Hope in God's Choice, 1.

A.  I think it is fair to say that we often read a passage and are ready to move on before we have really absorbed what it says.

B.  We read here that Samuel was mourning – why was he mourning? 1a

1.   Was he mourning over the failure of his own labor?

a.    Samuel had dedicated his whole life to serving the Lord in Israel.

b.   He loved the people, the nation.

c.    Now all he had worked for is seemingly collapsing.

2.   But that was not what he was mourning for – he was mourning for Saul.

a.    Samuel's sorrow was over Saul's rebellion and rejection, over a monarchy that had showed so much promise in its beginning.

b.   I am sure Samuel had personal affection for Saul, but the mourning for Saul probably went beyond that.

1)   He was mourning for Israel because he feared that Israel would disintegrate with Saul's sin and rejection.

2)   Without leadership, God's people might self-destruct – how many nations have failed in history because of a vacuum of leadership!

    a)   Would Israel's enemy destroy her?

    b)   Would civil war break out within Israel?

C.  The Lord meets Samuel in his grief and fear with an order – "Get ready," 1b.

1.   God meets Samuel in his grief by showing him that things are not out of control, that he has a plan, and that his plan hasn't been thwarted.

2.   God meets Samuel with hope!

a.    He will provide a king for his people.

b.   This time, this king is not going to be a king like the kings of the nations.

c.    He will be a man after God's own heart.

3.   Samuel's experience is not foreign to us.

a.    We despair over a particular situation in our life.

b.   We become anxious about the future as if God may get it wrong.

c.    To that God says, "You have been given a commission.  Now go enjoy and glorify me."

Ps. 42:3-5 – My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, "Where is your God?"  When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me.  For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.  Why are you cast down, O my soul?  And why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.

Jn. 14:1 – Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

Lk. 12:32 – Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Jn. 16:33 – These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

4.   And yet, there is something proper about Samuel's grief.

a.    He wasn't upset about his favorite team losing, or his looks, or not being invited to a particular function.

b.   He was distressed over the spiritual downfall of Saul; he was distressed over sin!

1)   Do we ever mourn over sin our and others'?

2)   Or do we gossip over other people's sins?

3)   Do we ever sorrow over the unbelief in the churches and among those who are supposed to be leading those churches to Christ?

4)   Does anything ever move us, aside from our own comfort and security?

c.    There is something commendable and instructive in Saul's distress.

5.   There is also something very encouraging in God's command to Samuel.

a.    The Lord is able to provide a new beginning.

b.   He will provide for his people when all is coming undone.

c.    The true King never losses control of his kingdom.

d.   He is never stumped by the latest emergency in his realm.

e.    Therefore, God's choice of a new king spells hope!

II.          The Wisdom in God's Choice, 2-7.

A.  Samuel is a bit reluctant to go to Bethlehem to anoint a new king because Saul would likely kill him, 2a.

1.   This is an understandable reaction in Samuel's part.

2.   There is a similar reaction on the part of elders in Bethlehem, 4-5.

a.    Perhaps the elders had heard of the disagreement between Saul and Samuel.

b.   Perhaps the Bethlehemites had something to hide.

B.  The Lord offers a wise solution, 2b-3.

1.   Samuel must have been known to visit different towns and villages in order to sacrifice and feast with them because it didn't strike the elders of Bethlehem as odd.

2.   In addition, this was a good thing for Samuel, not just a pretense, since God told Samuel to go do it.

a.    So, the plan is to offer a sacrifice to the Lord and to share it with Jesse's family.

b.   This seems to take place at Jesse's home.

C.  The wisdom of God displayed in the choosing of the next kingly line, 5b-7.

1.   Jesse and his sons are gathered together for the sacrifice and right off the bat, Samuel is sure he has found the next king, 6.

a.    We can understand Samuel's thinking here.

b.   Eliab was doubtless an impressive hunk of manhood.

c.    People probably looked at him and thought that his middle name was "Future King."

2.   Yet, even though Samuel was mesmerized by Eliab, the Lord was not, 7.

a.    Godly Samuel was about to make the same mistake as Israel had made in choosing Saul.

1 Sam. 10:23-24 – So they ran and brought him from there; and when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward.  And Samuel said to all the people, "Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen, that there is no one like him among all the people?"

b.   When we are left to ourselves, even the godliest of us will choose a king who is not the one that God has chosen for us.

1)   We will choose based on the wrong criteria.

2)   We will end up choosing king who is after our perceived image of ourselves, or after what we think we deserve.

c.    God mercifully says, "I have refused him."

1)   Eliab was not necessarily a bad guy.

2)   And God is not putting him aside because of his good looks.

       a)   God doesn't oppose fine appearance as if ugliness or repulsiveness is the ultimate display of God's call.

       b)   Later on, we are told that David was also a good-looking man, 12.
3)   Eliab was just not the right guy in the same way that six of his brothers were also not the right guys.
d.   The point is that God is looking for something that goes deeper than the skin – he is looking for who a person really is in his/her heart.

e.    Appearances simply don't matter – our King Jesus.

Is. 53:2 (ESV) – For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.

f.     This truth should guide us in choosing our leaders (ecclesiastical and civil), spouse, friends, etc.

D.  God's wisdom rescued Samuel and it rescues us as we listen to it and follow it.

1 Cor. 1:20-24, 30 – Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where isthe disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?  For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.  For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God….   But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, "He who glories, let him glory in the Lord."

III.       The Surprise in God's Choice, 8-12.

A.  Son after son came before Samuel and we get the impression he was ready to anoint each one of them, 8-10.

B.  After all these guys go by, there was only one logical question for Samuel to ask, "Where are the other ones," after all God had said he had already chosen one of Jesse's sons, 11a.

C.  There is one left and he is tending the sheep, 11b.

1.   Jesse seems puzzled, but we don't know exactly why.

a.    Perhaps because he was the youngest.

b.   Perhaps because he hadn't shown much potential like the other guys had (though we know he loved his sheep since he fought lion and bear for them).

2.   But Samuel says that there will not be no sacrifice nor feast till the shepherd-boy comes in, 11b.

D.  Here we have another one of the Lord's who-would-have-thought episodes.

1.   There was no need, so Jesse thought, to invite the youngest.

2.   He could stay with the sheep.

3.   In fact, the youngest son is so obscure that we aren't told his name till after he is anointed king, 13.

4.   Yet, the Lord insisted, "This is the one."

a.    Again we see God's strange and refreshing way of trampling on human standards.

b.   Again we see how the Lord chooses the most unlikely people to do his will – people just like us.

c.    We see this again in God's choosing of David's greater Son – the Lord Jesus Christ.

1)   The people around Jesus said he was just the son of the local carpenter, no different than anybody else, Mk. 6:3.
2)   Others complained that he was having too much fun eating and drinking with sinners, Mt. 11:18-19. 
3)   Still others complained that he didn't come from the right state (Galilee), Jn. 7:41-42.

4)   And the clincher for them was that Jesus was talking about suffering for them and their Messiah wasn't going to suffer, Mt. 27:42-43.

d.   Yet, it was that One who was rejected by men that was chosen by God.

Acts 4:8-12 – Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed doneto a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.  This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'  Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

E.   The surprising Jesus who came to seek and to save those who are lost is the unlike anointed of the Lord.

IV.        The Costliness in God's Choice, 13.

A.  Samuel is finally able to fulfill his mission and he empties his horn of oil on David.

B.  The Lord both chose David to be the king of his people and equipped him for that work through his Spirit.

1.   That's how God operates.

2.   He appoints his servants to a task and at the same time he gives them what they need to fulfill the task.

C.  In empowering David with the Holy Spirit, God is empowering him to serve him through suffering.

1.   No sooner does the Spirit touch David than he is thrust into endless trouble.

a.    The envy, anger, and plots of Saul from chapter 18 on.

b.   David, the man with the Spirit, will be hunted and betrayed, trapped and barely escape, hiding in caves, living in exile.

c.    The Spirit comes and troubles begin for David.

2.   We see the same thing happening to David's Son and David's Lord.

a.    What could be more encouraging than seeing the spirit coming down upon him as a dove?

b.   What could be more comforting than the familiar voice, "You are my son whom I love."

c.    And then what happens? The Spirit drives him to the wilderness to be tempted, to fight the enemy, Mk. 1:12-13.

d.   The Spirit equips the Messiah in order to suffer.

3.   And the servants of David's Lord find the same pattern.

Acts 14:22 – … strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting themto continue in the faith, and saying,"We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."

a.    Often, as soon as we are brought into subjection to Jesus, we are swamped by trouble.

b.    We come to faith in Jesus and there seems to be no end to the pressures of life, no relief from the pounding we seem to be taking.

c.    When life happens like that, we need to remember that David and David's Son suffered too.

1)   Suffering in the hands of the world is not a sign of our sin or punishment, but a mark of our sonship.

2)   The wilderness is not the sign of the Spirit's absence, but the scene of his presence.


God brings hope to Israel in the choosing of her new king.  He chooses that king wisely by looking at the heart of the man, not merely on what we would look at.  In his wisdom, God surprises Israel in choosing one who did not seem to be the best choice.  Being chosen to be king cost David a lot.  Being chosen King over his church cost Jesus even more.  Yet, God equipped both of them to serve in suffering and he does the same for us.


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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

REMINDER: Thanksgiving Service Tonight (Tues., 11/24/15)

Just a reminder that our Thanksgiving Service is tonight (Tuesday, November 24) at 7pm. The service will be followed by a pie social, so bring your favorite pie to share.

Please note that there will be no Wednesday evening service this week.


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Monday, November 23, 2015

MEMORY WORK: This Week's Catechism Questions (11/22/15)

This Week's Memory Work:

First Catechism Questions:
FCQ. 49 – What kind of life did Christ live on earth? A life of poverty and suffering.

Shorter Catechism Questions:
SCQ. 36 – What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification? The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God's love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.



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