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1 Sam 16.12-13 Ser

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1 Sam 16:12-13

Liturgy

Ps 133:1,2

Ps 40:3

Ps 78:1,27,28

Ps 89:9,10

Hymn 22

Reading: 1 Sam. 16:1-13

Text: 1 Sam. 16:12-13


Brothers and sisters in the Lord,

Over the next number of weeks we want to turn our attention to the book of 1 Samuel.  And we will especially be looking at that history from when David was anointed as king, until the time when he actually took over from King Saul and sat on the throne of Israel.  And that was quite a long time… probably about fifteen years or so.  And during that time the king-to-be, David… he fought against the giant, Goliath… he worked as a musician in the court of King Saul… he ran away into the mountains to escape from Saul who wanted to kill him.  And many other things happened to him.  There was never a dull moment in the history of David’s life.  [pause]

      But why?  Why should we spend time looking at David’s ascent to the throne.  It might be an exciting story… but still what difference will it make for you on Monday… if you have heard about the history King David on Sunday??

      Well, to begin with, there are many religions in this world that are based upon certain ideas, or ideals (!)  But, brothers and sisters, our faith is rooted in something that is much more solid that an idea... our faith is rooted in the concrete, almighty and historical deeds of the LORD our God.  Our faith is rooted in the actions of God, rather than the ideals of man.

      And because our faith is rooted in the history of God’s redemptive work… we are part of a much larger picture.  Faith in the 21st century, yes, even the Christian faith in 21st century has become such an incredibly individualistic thing.  “It’s all about Jesus and me,” people say.  But no, it’s NOT just all about Jesus and you.  It’s about the LORD and his church from Adam and Eve… right up until the final elect are gathered in.  And so, it’s also about King David and the prophet Samuel and yes, also father Jesse.  And, surprisingly enough, the more we learn about that big picture… of God’s work of salvation throughout the history of the centuries… the more we learn about that big picture, the more we learn about our personal place in God’s kingdom, right here and right now.

      Let me be more specific.  Today we are going to look at how the young boy David was anointed into his office as king of Israel.  Now… start making the connections.  The anointing of King David… foreshadows the anointing of the Great Son of David, Jesus Christ.  David was anointed in Bethlehem.  Jesus was anointed on the banks of the Jordan… at his baptism.  And unlike his forefather, Jesus was anointed to be not only a king, but he was also anointed to be a prophet and a priest.

      But, now take it a step farther… as a Christian, you share in Christ’s anointing… and that means that you have an office, too.  The office of all believers.  You are a prophet.  You are a priest.  And you are a king… or a queen, as the case may be.

Brothers and sisters, YOU ARE an appointed and anointed OFFICE-BEARER in the church of Jesus Christ.

Are you aware of this?

Are you active in this?

Because what we urgently need in our churches is a much higher awareness of what it means that all of us, together, share in the anointing of Jesus Christ.  I proclaim the Word of God to you as follows:

The forefather of Christ is anointed into his office.

1)     The LORD chooses him;

2)     The LORD equips him;

3)     The LORD will carry out his plans.

[1]  There was a crisis in the kingdom!  The God of Israel had rejected the king of Israel.  The LORD had rejected King Saul, because King Saul refused to obey the simple, plain instructions of the LORD.  The LORD had commanded Saul, “Completely destroy the Amalekites!”  But King Saul thought he had a better plan; he figured that he would keep Agag, the Amalekite king, alive… and he also figured that he would keep some of the plunder.  But his disobedience was his downfall.  And now the LORD rejected him.

      And if the LORD has rejected the king… what will happen to the kingdom?  If the LORD does not bless the top ruler in the land, then surely, that will have a trickle-down effect on the citizens of the country as well.  This is a crisis!  And Samuel knows it.  And Samuel is down in deep, dark despair… because no sooner did Israel receive and everything is already falling to pieces.

      But… this dismal moment in the history of God’s kingdom… this dark moment is the perfect opportunity for the LORD to start shining his grace. [pause]  And it’s that how the LORD so often designs things.  Just when you think all is lost… just when you think that things have become so dark that the sun will never shine again… that’s the very moment that the LORD surprises us with his power and with his plan.

      And so it is here.  The LORD says to Samuel, “Get up!  Stop mourning!  Fill your horn with anointing oil.  I have a task for you.  I have chosen one of Jesse’s sons to be king of Israel.  Go and anoint him!”  Now, the last time, with Saul, all the people were clamouring for a king… they wanted to be just like all the other nations.  But this time, there was no clamour… the people were not shouting, “We want a new king!  We want a new king!”

      No!  This comes clearly and exclusively from the LORD.  He says, “I have chosen him to be king.”  And obviously the LORD looks at things differently than we, human beings do.  Once Samuel was in Bethlehem, and the sons of Jesse started gathering for the sacrifice… Samuel saw the oldest son, Eliab… a tall man, a strong man, an impressive looking man.  And Samuel was convinced, that must be the one.  But the LORD said, “No.  Not that one.”  And then came Abinadab… but the LORD said, “No.  Not that one.”  Next, Shammah… and next a few more sons… but the LORD said, “No. No. and No.  I have not chosen any of these.”

      Why not?  Because LORD looks at the heart, not the outward appearance.  It doesn’t matter if you are tall or if you are short… and it doesn’t matter if you are good-looking or if you look like a geek… if you are going to serve fruitfully and effectively as an office-bearer of the LORD… then what matters is: where is your heart?  Do you have a humble heart, that is willing to carry out the Lord’s instructions… whatever the cost?  Or do you have an arrogant heart, and you feel quite free to do things your own way, regardless of what the LORD says?

      Why did the LORD choose David… instead of Eliab or Abinadab?  Well, the LORD had already explained this back in chapter 13, when Samuel said to Saul, “the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.

You see, being an office-bearer in God’s kingdom is not only hard work, it’s heart work.  And if you don’t have a heart for simply and humbly submitting to the LORD… then you will never be an effective office-bearer.  [pause]

So… the LORD chose David, but then the LORD – through Samuel – also had to specifically summon David.  “Send for him” says Samuel.  And so father Jesse sends a messenger out to the fields and brings David into the town, to the place of the sacrifice.  ||| David was not looking for a new calling.  He was quite content to be out there in the fields, looking after his father’s sheep.  So, in no way whatsoever did David himself step forward and grab this office for himself.  Not at all!  He was summoned by the LORD and it was the LORD who suddenly and most unexpectedly put this royal office upon his shoulders.

And that is also true for Christ.  In Hebrews 5, the Holy Spirit say… about the office… “no one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was.  So Christ also did not take upon himself the glory of becoming a high priest.  But God said to him, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”

And since we share in the anointing of Jesus Christ, the same is true for us.  Brothers and sisters, you are an office-bearer.  In Christ you hold the office of prophet.  In Christ you hold the office of priest.  In Christ you hold the office of king.  To say the least, that is quite an honour… and it’s also a lot of work for you to do!  But for how long now have you been an office bearer?  And how did you ever get yourself into such a position?  Did you want to become a prophet?  Were you out there pounding the pavement, looking for a priestly position?

No you weren’t!!  You did not step forward to take the office of all believers upon yourself… in fact, I dare say that most of us could not have even physically stepped forward at our ordination… if we wanted, too.  Why not?  Because it happened at our baptism… and many of us were baptized as infants.  Look!  Our forefather David had to be summoned to his anointing, but at least he could walk in on his own two feet.  Such was not the case, when you were baptized.  You had to be carried up, by your father, to the baptism font.  But right there… at the baptism font… your baptism day was your ordination day.  Just like Christ was anointing into his office… on his baptism day… in the Jordan river… so also you, sharing in his anointing, you were ordained into the Christian office of prophet, priest and king… on your baptism day.  You weren’t looking for the office.  But the LORD graciously gave it to you.

Are you aware of this?  Do you ever think about this?  Do you ever wake up in the morning and saying to yourself, “Now, self, the LORD has chosen you to be a Christian prophet, what are you going to do to confess His Name today?  Now, self, what are you going to do to pass on truth of God’s Word today, in your family, at your school, in your work?”

Do you ever pause at lunch time and say to yourself, “Now, self, the LORD has chosen you to be a Christian priest… so what kind of sacrifices of thankfulness are you going to offer up to the LORD in the remainder of this afternoon?  When have you planned to offer up the sweet incense of prayer?  What are you going to do to make sure that you do not conform any longer to the pattern of living which this world loves – after all, that is your spiritual act of worship?”

And do you ever stop after supper and say to yourself, “Now, self, the LORD has chosen you to be a king… to be a queen… in Christ.  What royal duties do have to finish off yet before you go to bed, later on this evening?  Check LD 12 for further details.”

This, brothers and sisters, is what you call “office-awareness.”  And this, brothers and sisters, is what we have way too little of.  Mention the word office-bearers in the church and the first thing people think of it is the annual elections for elders and deacons in the springtime.  Well, yes, those office-bearers who have a specialized task.  But if you have been baptized, you have been anointed – in the great-GrandSon of David… you have been anointed in Jesus Christ.  You already have a three-fold office.  It’s quite a honour.  And it gives more than enough work to do in God’s kingdom – regardless of whether or not the LORD might ever call you to serve in one of the special offices.  [pause]

But we must hasten back to Bethlehem, and the anointing of young David.  In the middle of this historical account… of how Samuel anointed David to be king over Israel… in the middle of it, oddly enough, there is this description of what the teenager David looked like.  First of all, David was ruddy.  Which means that he had a reddish complexion; it also probably means that he had red hair.  Which was quite exceptional. Most of the Jews tend to have dark, black hair.  But David was a red-haired fellow… and quite a good-looking one, too!!  Obviously, Absalom did not get his good-looks from a stranger.  Because his father, David, was a strikingly handsome, already when he was still a teenager. [pause]

Why did the Holy Spirit include these little details about David’s personal appearance?  What’s the point?  Especially, when the LORD had just finished telling Samuel that he, the LORD, does not consider the outward appearance of a man, but the LORD looks at the heart!!  And, of course, that is true.  But the Holy Spirit includes this little detail about young David’s handsome appearance because… this now is going to be a spiritual test for David himself… but also for all of Israel with him.  Because, if you look at to v. 18 of this chapter, then you’ll see that not only was David good-looking but he also had a golden tongue!  He was a gifted speaker.  Well, what more could you ask for?  A good-looking young man who is a natural at the art of rhetoric!  Surely, this is a teenager who is going to go places!!  This is the kind of boy who can one day take over the country and be a successful king!!

Yes?  Or no?  That is now going to be the spiritual test.  If you go by outward looks, King Saul was a very impressive man, too.  A head taller than anyone else.  But all the physical stature in the world did not do him any good as an office bearer… if and since he didn’t follow the instructions of the LORD.  And now… what will it be with young David?  He was an exceptionally good-looking person… he had a tongue that was as smooth as silk… but all the good-looks and all the rhetorical skills in the world are not going to do him any good as an office bearer… if he does not simply and humble follow the instructions of the LORD. [pause]

Unlike his forefather David, King Jesus was not a handsome, good-looking man.  The prophet Isaiah says, “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2).  But what is it then that attracts us to Jesus Christ?  Is it not this?  That he, the LORD’s chosen and anointed one, he has.. and he still does… completely and faithfully fulfill all his duties as our Chief Prophet, our only High-Priest and our Eternal King… he, the great Office-Bearer… does what the LORD requires of him, for the LORD’s honour and for our salvation.  That’s why we find it so desirable to belong to Christ!!

But now, in Christ you are an office-bearer among office-bearers… right here in Maranatha we are a whole congregation of prophets, priests and kings… and the same spiritual test that applied to young David and Israel, still applies to us.  At the test is this: what is most important and attractive to you:  outward appearance… or office-awareness?  How many hours do you spend maintaining and improving your looks… and how many hours do you spend doing your duties as office-bearers, sharing in the anointing of Christ?

And, added to that, as a communion of saints… how do we judge and evaluate our fellow saints?  Are we attracted to fellow saints who look good and speak well?  Is that what really impresses us?  Or do we respect those people who put their nose to the grindstone, and humbly and cheerfully take the office of all believers as a serious, life-long calling?  In short, brothers and sisters, what are we: superficiality seekers?  Or are we people of real, spiritual substance?

[2]  By now, it should be clear to us… that this whole matter of anointing, and office-bearing is a serious matter… that involves a lot of spiritual sweat.  Being an office-bearing is heart work but it is also still hard work.  Look at young David… standing there beside the altar of Bethlehem… his father, his brothers and the prophet Samuel at his side.  Samuel has just poured the royal oil… upon his head.  There he is: a minute ago he was just a shepherd boy, now he is king-to-be… the LORD’s anointed one.  How is he going to do it?  He has no university education.  He has no political experience.  The nation of Israel still has not really fully recuperated from the time of the Judges, with all of its spiritual chaos and apostasy… when everybody did was right in his own eyes.  And, at present, King Saul wasn’t really helping matters much with his refusal to set an obedient example for the rest of the nation.

And now, the whole, weighty responsibility of leading this sinful nation comes to rest on the shoulders of an inexperienced teenager?!?  What is the LORD doing?  To our human eyes, this almost seems reckless.

But it’s not reckless.  Not at all.  Because when the LORD calls, the LORD also equips.  And the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power…. From that day onwards!  And that’s important, too.  Because the Spirit of the LORD came upon Saul, too.  But not to stay!  Not permanently!  With David it was different.  The LORD equipped him with the powerful and permanent presence of His Holy Spirit.  And… when the Spirit of the Almighty is on your side, and at your side… then, brothers and sisters… no obstacle is too large… no mountain is too high.

The Spirit came upon David… the Spirit also came upon the great Son of David, Jesus Christ.  Remember… at his anointing… at his baptism… no sooner did Jesus came up out of the water… and there the Holy Spirit was already coming down, as a dove, landing upon him… and it was by the power of the Spirit that Jesus Christ fulfilled the duties of his office.  As a King, Jesus had to battle against the enemy Satan, in the wilderness… and Christ did it – successfully – by the power of the Spirit.  As a prophet, Jesus had to teach the truth to the masses.  And week after week, the Great Teacher did it, by the power of the Spirit.  And as a priest, Jesus had to go to the altar of Golgotha and sacrifice himself, as our Passover Lamb.  And, to say the least, that was no easy task!  Just look at how he had to sweat out his blood, already in the Garden of Gethsemane… but Christ fulfilled his priestly duties… how?  By the power of the Holy Spirit.

That very same powerful Spirit who has been promised to you, brothers and sisters, and who dwells in your heart.

Are you bold enough to be prophet?  And speak the truth of God’s Word… both in the church and in this world?  Are you ready to boldly speak that truth… even if you already know in advance that the truth may hurt… or other people might mock you?  The LORD has equipped you with the power of His Holy Spirit?  Lean… lean on the strength of the Spirit… and do your prophetic duty.

Are you courageous enough to be a priest?  Is not easy to reject the ways of the world, and sacrifice your whole life as living offering to God!! Rely… rely on the strength of the Spirit… that is why the LORD equips you with him?

Are you strong enough to do battle with the devil?  It’s all part of your royal office, but do you feel inadequate… do you feel overwhelmed by the size of the task??  Yes, but what is being an office-bearer really all about?  Doing it in your own strength?  The LORD equips those whom he calls.  So, do it in the strength of the Spirit!  Because if the Spirit enabled David to do what he had to do as a king… and if the Spirit enabled Christ to do what he had to do as our Mediator… then surely the Spirit can also enable you to do what you have to do in the office of all believers.  [pause]

[3]  And then, after the Spirit came upon David… Samuel went back home, to Ramah.  His task was done.  The LORD told him to go to Bethlehem and anoint one of the sons of Jesse.  Now, he had finished that task.  There was no reason to stay there anymore.  So he went home.

      Samuel went home… undoubtedly leaving many questions in the minds of young David, of his father Jesse, of his brothers, of the elders of Bethlehem.  What now?  The teenager David has just been anointed king.  Does he start active duty in that office right away?  What about the fact that King Saul was still on throne?  How can you have two of the LORD’s anointed walking around Palestine at the same time?  And what about training?  Why doesn’t Samuel stay in Bethlehem and teach young David in the ways of the LORD?  Perhaps some kind of tutoring, or mentoring relationship?  Maybe if Samuel stayed in Bethlehem, with David, for the next few years and extensively and intensely taught him everything about what the LORD requires from a king… wouldn’t that be helpful?  Wouldn’t that be a good investment of Samuel’s time… after all, Samuel was not getting any younger… and should this wise and experienced prophet not use his gifts to train the next leader of God’s covenant people?

      But no… Samuel goes home.  Because the LORD did not instruct him to stay in Bethlehem.  Samuel did his official duty, he carried out the LORD’s commandments… nothing less than that… but nothing more than that either.

      After all, this is… ultimately, not Samuel’s history … and this is not David’s history either… this is the history of what the LORD did, and what the LORD will do, in carrying out his plans for HIS kingdom.  And in the chapters to come, we will most certainly discover that the LORD has many different training and learning opportunities in store for his young king.  The LORD will train him well… don’t worry about that.

      Samuel went home.  He was a prophet.  He was an office-bearer.  He was an instrument in the hand of the LORD.  And, for the moment, he had done his duty.  The LORD would carry things out further from there.  And that’s important… for all of us to realize.  After all, we are all office-bearers.  You too!!   You are an office-bearer, but you are not the Almighty.  You make sure that you do what the LORD calls you to do… but then remember, He will carry it out further from there.  AMEN.

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