Year A – Lent 4 – 1 Samuel 16:1-16

1 Samuel 16:1–16 –  The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2 Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the LORD said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.” 4 Samuel did what the LORD commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” 5 He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’S anointed is now before the LORD.” 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” 9 Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.” 10 Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen any of these.” 11 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12 He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.

Summary – This passages tells of the “anointing” of David by Samuel. David is the least of Jesse’s sons and not the one who would have been chosen as the quarterback of the football team. But we are told the criterion of God: “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” As a result of God’s selection and the anointing, the Spirit of the Lord was on David.

Insight – Hannah (Samuel’s Mother) prophesied in song that Samuel “will give power to His king; He will lift up the horn of His anointed.” This is the very first use of the term “Messiah” (in Hebrew). Samuel would anoint with Spiritual Oil, the King. Messiah or Christ (Greek) simply means “anointed king.” When Samuel did it, we learn that those who would reign are not mighty in the flesh like Saul, but rather they are mighty in heart. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth of David spoke and plucked psalms, hymns and war songs of praise to the true God. That is the basis for his many victories, the first of which is the story in the next chapter (1Sam. 17). David said to Goliath: “You come against me with a dagger, spear, and sword, but I come against you in the name of Yahweh of Hosts . . . and this whole assembly [faithless Israel in the flesh] will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the LORD saves, for the battle is the LORD’s.”

Child’s Catechism – What does Messiah mean? God’s anointed King.

Discussion – What did God see in David’s heart? What does God see in your heart?

Prayer – O Lord, You are the discerner of hearts, you look beneath our outward appearance and see your image in each of us. Banish in us the blindness that prevents us from recognizing truth, so we may see the world through your eyes and with the compassion of Jesus Christ who redeems us. Amen.

Advertisements

Year A – Epiphany 4 – Psalm 15

Psalms 15 – A Psalm of David. 1 O LORD, who may abide in your tent? Who may dwell on your holy hill?   2 Those who walk blamelessly, and do what is right, and speak the truth from their heart; 3 who do not slander with their tongue, and do no evil to their friends, nor take up a reproach against their neighbors; 4 in whose eyes the wicked are despised, but who honor those who fear the LORD; who stand by their oath even to their hurt; 5 who do not lend money at interest, and do not take a bribe against the innocent. Those who do these things shall never be moved.

Listen to Version of this Psalm (from the Reformation)

Background – This Psalm asks for and answers the qualifications to enter into the Divine presence. It is important to place this Psalm in biblical history. This is a Psalm of David and was first used in the unique Tabernacle of David (1 Chr. 16). David set up this tent/tabernacle for the Ark of the Covenant, after the fall of the Mosiac Tabernacle at Shiloh (with High Priest Eli’s family). It was also before Solomon’s temple. Three important matters stand out about the Tabernacle of David in contrast to the previous Mosaic Tabernacle. 1) Unlike the Mosaic Tabernacle, the Ark was not hidden behind a veil or curtain. Worshipers were “before” the Ark which was in the “middle of the tent” (2Sam. 6:17 NET, 1Chr. 16:4). 2) Unlike the Mosaic Tabernacle, the worshipers included Gentiles along with Jews, namely Obed-Edom the Gittite (1Chr. 16:5, 2Kgs 6:10-11). 3) Unlike the Mosaic Tabernacle in which there were no songs of praise, worship at the Davidic Tabernacle emphasized praise with musical instruments, rather than animal sacrifice. Such animal sacrifices were still happening at Gibeon (1 Chr. 16:39) in a different worship structure which carried on Mosaic sacrifices.

Insight – The Tabernacle of David foreshadowed the new covenant era (Acts 15) when worshipers would come before God without sacrificial animal representatives. Of course the animals were always meant to signify people ascending before God, cleansed and transformed. But this would happen finally through the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ. Now His people are to come before Him in the purity of faith, repentantly, and humbly (Mic. 6:8) and without the need of bloody sacrifices. We are to be living sacrifices.

Discussion – What are some of the qualifications in Psalm 15 for entering into God’s presence? How would you translate them into your experience today?

Prayer – Almighty and Holy Father, we are sinners who have violated your commands, but we plead with you through the work of Christ to accept us before you, cleansing us from our sins and granting us repentance from every evil. Strengthen us in being faithful to your law through Christ our Lord. Amen.