1 Samuel 16:1-13 (Part 1) – Jesus Can Make Your Mess Your Message

Posted: February 8, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel

1 Samuel 16:1-13 (Part 1 of 2)
God Selects David as King

Why God called me to the ministry I do not know. It is the mystery of the ages to me. Growing up in parsonages as a kid as my dad moved around with the United Methodist Church (South Carolina Conference) around the state, I knew what the ministry was like. It is not a strange, unknown profession to me. I grew up in it.

My dad was a Methodist minister forever, something like 53 or 54 years. My brother has been a Methodist minister for I believe 35 years now, if I am not mistaken. My uncle Doug was a Methodist minister for like 50 years when he retired. My brother married a Methodist preacher’s daughter. His father-in-law, like my dad and uncle, had been a minister in the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church for 50 plus years when he retired. Both my uncle Doug and my brother’s father-in-law have passed away in the past few years after years of service to the church. My dad is still plugging away – just very much slower than he used to. He is now on the cusp of being 79 years old. My brother will be 57 years old this coming Sunday. All are lifetimers in the ministry. Then there’s me. The black sheep. The accountant. The one who did not go into the family business.

My current senior pastor, Jeff Hickman, when I told him that I had felt the call to go into full-time ministry about 6 or 7 years ago, said that if you can do anything else beside going in the ministry, do it. It is not the job that parishioners think it is. It is not about being that guy in the spotlight. It is about a lot of long hours. It is about unreasonable expectations. It is about caring for people too deeply. It is about seeing the ugly side of people. It is about having to confront people about things that are inconsistent with biblical truth. It is about the burden of wanting to disciple people who often think that they have already arrived at spiritual maturity as if it a destination and not a journey. It is about loving people so much it hurts. It is about being vulnerable and transparent about your flaws and often not getting the same from your flock. It is about giving all you have when all you have is completely wore out and drained. It is, he said, the toughest job that you could ever have (though people think preacher’s have it easier than anybody else). He said if you love of the Lord is greater than all that, if you love seeking out the lost outside these doors and showing them the way to the cross, if you love helping people grow from spiritual babies to maturing Christ followers, then by all means pursue it. Those three reasons can be the only reasons to go into the ministry. If you are looking for an easy job, this ain’t it. If you want to be in the spotlight, there are better ways to gain celebrity. In this job, it’s got to be about loving the Lord so much you can’t do anything else and be comfortable at it.

Why me? I am not some spiritual giant. I am not some dude who accepted Christ as his Savior as a toddler, or a tweener, or even a teenager. I did not accept Christ as my Savior until I was 39 years old. Why me? By outward standards, I am unworthy. I have not served on a church staff other than LifeSong. And I have only done that for six years and much of it as an unpaid, part time staffer. I have a background where divorce it part of it. I have a background where there was so much self-seeking. I lived a life trying to please people to the point I lost my sense of what was right and what was wrong. I lived a life full of stupid mistakes. I lived a life of making whomever was the woman in my life, my god. I lived a life living and dying by others’ approval and not God’s. I lived a life between marriages of trying to party my brains out and chase as much skirt as I could. There is so much that I am ashamed of in my past, even after my salvation at age 39. There were sin strongholds over this walk with Jesus that the Holy Spirit has had to convict me hard with a two-by-four to the head with some of them before I would let them go.

I don’t see myself as a spiritual giant. Even my prayers seem like rambling disjointed run-on sentences to me. When I get finished publicly prayer, I say to myself…Lord, I hope that got all that and that it made sense to them cause it seemed like a bunch of random thoughts stuck together to me. I don’t speak “preacher-speak”. You know those preachers and even other Christians who always seem to have these deep, spiritual comments at times and you go, “Wow, that was good!” I don’t do that kind of thing well. By all appearances, I am not the classic preacher type. Appearances. Appearances. By appearances, I should be disqualified. I am not preacher material. I am like the homely girl that wonders why the most popular guy in school is asking her to the prom. That’s what I feel like when it comes to thinking about why God called me into the ministry.

That’s what I thought of this morning when I read through this passage, 1 Samuel 16:1-13, for the first of two readings and blogs that will result. The thought that by all appearances I really should not be going into the ministry but God does not care about appearances, He cares about the heart and if the heart is right our mess can become our message:

Chapter 16
1 Now the Lord said to Samuel, “You have mourned long enough for Saul. I have rejected him as king of Israel, so fill your flask with olive oil and go to Bethlehem. Find a man named Jesse who lives there, for I have selected one of his sons to be my king.”

2 But Samuel asked, “How can I do that? If Saul hears about it, he will kill me.”

“Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say that you have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. 3 Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you which of his sons to anoint for me.”

4 So Samuel did as the Lord instructed. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town came trembling to meet him. “What’s wrong?” they asked. “Do you come in peace?”

5 “Yes,” Samuel replied. “I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Purify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then Samuel performed the purification rite for Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice, too.

6 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

8 Then Jesse told his son Abinadab to step forward and walk in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen.” 9 Next Jesse summoned Shimea,[a] but Samuel said, “Neither is this the one the Lord has chosen.” 10 In the same way all seven of Jesse’s sons were presented to Samuel. But Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 Then Samuel asked, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse replied. “But he’s out in the fields watching the sheep and goats.”

“Send for him at once,” Samuel said. “We will not sit down to eat until he arrives.”

12 So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.

And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.”

13 So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.

In this passage, we are reminded that Saul was tall and handsome. He was an impressive looking man. Samuel may have been trying to find someone who looked like Saul to be Israel’s next king, but God warned him against judging by appearances alone. When people judge using only outward appearance as their criteria, they may overlook quality individuals who lack the particular physical qualities society currently admires. Appearance does not reveal what people are really like on the inside or what their true value is.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, God judges all of us by our faith and character, not appearances. Because God can see what we are like on the inside of our souls, only He can accurately judge people. Most people spend hours each week maintaining their outward appearance. Should we not do the same to maintain our inward appearance – our character, our morality, our faith. While everyone can see your face, only God knows what you know about you. He knows your true motives. He knows what you are really thinking. He knows the things that you hide from others. He know what you do when no one is looking. He knows the real you not just the façade, the outward appearance that you present to the world.

Do you think that you can’t come to Jesus Christ because you have screwed up too badly or that you have been beaten down by who your family is or what your history is or what your family’s history is? Do you think you are too far gone for Jesus to save you, anoint you as His own? Do think your past life has scarred you too much and that you are too ugly in your soul for Jesus to reclaim?

Let me tell you, if he can reclaim this preacher’s kid at age 39 and work and work and work on him through the Holy Spirit, then Jesus can truly do miracles. The fact that He called me to ministry is a miracle in and of itself when you think how I see myself as so unworthy of it. If He can take a wretch like me and make me desire to want to give Him the glory for what He has done in my life and do it in the ministry, then He can truly reclaim anyone.

What you have done is not too ugly. What you have done is not too scandalous. What you have done is not too shameful…for the power of Jesus’ redemption of your life to make it wondrous and useful to His kingdom. Your ugliness will become beautiful in His redemption. Your mess will become your message.

 

Amen and Amen.

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