Family Christmas: David

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Good morning once again and welcome to this gathering of Hope Bible Fellowship. At this time our children may be dismissed to our children’s worship time out the back doors of the sanctuary. I invite the rest of you to open your Bible to I Samuel chapter 16.
For the last couple of weeks leading up to Christmas Day, we have been investigating the family line of Jesus in a series called Family Christmas. The first week we looked at Rahab who was an outsider and a prostitute, yet there was room in Jesus’ family for her. I stated that if there was room for someone like her then there is room for you in Jesus’ family as well. Last week we looked at Ruth and Boaz and how God used Boaz as a kinsman redeemer to graft an outsider and non-Israelite widow into the family line of Jesus. And this week we look at one of the most famous names we see pop up in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
In the book, “Team of Rivals”, Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote that Abraham Lincoln “has unequalled power to captivate the imagination and to inspire emotion.” Many feel the same about David. There is something about this man said to be a man after God’s own heart that captivates us. In some cases he draws our ire for his behavior in certain situations.
King David of Israel’s life is well documented in scripture with many of its ups and downs. He had some really high highs and some really low, lows. And here he is for us to look at. Now, I want to begin by noting a couple of important items as we enter today.
First, I won’t be covering the entire life of David. I’ll mention some things about his later life but this particular passage is regarding when David was anointed as king though he would not actually get to reign as king for some time afterward.
Secondly, the main thing I want you to understand that goes on in the life of David is that David is never the main character in the story. We need to come to scripture understanding that God is the main character. He’s the hero of the story. It isn’t David and it’s not us. It is possible to really go far afield with our understanding if we come to the Bible with the idea that it’s all about us. For sure, the scriptures do talk about us but we are not the hero of the story. Jesus is the hero of the story, even in the Old Testament. This is key. With that in mind, let’s dive into I Samuel 16:1-13
1 Samuel 16:1–13 ESV
1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” 2 And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears 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 And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare 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 And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated 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 before him.” 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 sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And 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 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.
This is the Word of the Lord. Let’s pray and ask God to help us understand and apply it to our lives.
Let me give you a brief (very brief) history of Israel to bring us up to this point of David being anointed. Years and years before, God had chosen Israel to be his people. There was nothing special about them that made God choose them, but in His sovereign will and way He chose them as His people. Eventually, they end up in captivity in Egypt as slaves to Pharoah and the Egyptians. God raises up a leader for them named Moses, who is His messenger to the people and to Pharoah. God sends ten plagues on the Egyptians until they release the people and send them on their way. God rescues them from the pursuing Egyptian army after Pharoah changes his mind. The people sinned and God decreed that they would wander in the wilderness for forty years before they would enter the Promised Land, the land of Canaan. God gave them the Law of Moses and specific instructions for how to worship Him and sacrifice to atone for sin. All of these events are recounted in the first five books of the Bible. All of this time there was no king in Israel and they were simply led by God.
Then we enter a period of time that we were in last week, the period of judges. There was a cycle that we see repeated over and over in this time. The people would do evil in the sight of the Lord. God would send another nation of oppress the people. The people would cry out to God and God would send a judge to rescue the people. Then they would have peace for a time and the cycle would repeat. Over and over again. The final verse in Judges tells us that
Judges 21:25 ESV
25 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Eventually the Israelites complain because they want a king like all of the other nations around them. They tell Samuel, the prophet, that they want a king. God tells Samuel to warn them about the ways of the king that will reign over them. So he does and they still demand a king. Here’s what it says in chapter 8, verses 19 through 22.
1 Samuel 8:19–22 ESV
19 But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. 22 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey their voice and make them a king.” Samuel then said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”
Samuel is sent by God to anoint a man named Saul as king. He was to be a king to unite and rule Israel under God. This is the king that the people asked for.
Then, as men do, Saul sinned against God. He was rejected by God as king. There’s so much here that it feels like a disservice to the enormity of that statement to buzz by it. A whole sermon could be preached on that alone. But we continue on.
Samuel is in deep distress over Saul. He had been grieving over Saul. God speaks to Samuel and tells him to get up and head for a guy named Jesse and there God will show him who the new king will be.
I want you to see something:

I. Samuel obeyed and went.

The prophets kind of get superhero status in our minds sometimes but they were just men. They were fallible sinners just like you and me but who were used mightily by God. Samuel was in grief over what had gone on with Saul and how the king that he had anointed had fallen so far from the Lord. But when God spoke, he got up and headed out. His grief would not deter him from living obediently to what God had commanded him to do. He feared Saul because Saul was only faithful to himself. Who could tell what Saul would do if he found out Samuel was coming for the purpose of anointing a new king.
Friends, how many times in our lives do we let our fear or our circumstances keep us from being obedient to what God has called us to do. God hasn’t called you to go and anoint another king in place of the one you’re scared of. He’s called you to read his Word, to love Him, to do the things He commands and too often we are too scared of the world around us or our own discomfort or too preoccupied with ourselves that we disobey what has clearly been commanded us by God. If that’s you today, repent of your sin and turn towards God. He offers forgiveness in Jesus Christ alone.
Samuel belonged to the Lord and though he was afraid, he went. God gave him more information about the plan. He needed to go to offer a sacrifice anyway so God uses that official occasion for a way to get Samuel in front of Jesse and his sons to anoint one of them as king. God tells Samuel that He will show him which one of Jesse’s sons it will be.
So Samuel gets to Bethlehem and gets Jesse’s sons in front of him. But there is a problem.

II. Man only sees what is visible.

Eliab is the oldest so of course, he steps up first. Samuel even thinks that this has got to be the guy. But God says no. Then the next comes up and it’s not him either.
1 Samuel 16:10 ESV
10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.”
Samuel asks Jesse if these are all of his sons and Jesse says there’s the younest still but he’s with the sheep. Samuel tells him to send for this youngest and they aren’t going to sit down till he comes.
At this point, try to imagine you’re there. The tallest, the strongest looking son have not been chosen. The ones that you would look at and think, that’s king material right there. Saul was a tall, manly kind of guy. One would assume that pattern might hold for the next king. Isn’t that how we choose? We look for the guy who has the best haircut or the snappy dresser. We look for the guy who has the money or the one who is successful by the world’s standards. We look at what we can see.
ILLUSTRATION: I love it every year for the NFL draft. Someone always goes back and pulls up the draft image of Tom Brady. He wasn’t highly touted or expected to do big things in the league. In the pic he just looks like a mildly out of shape sort of guy. Nothing special about him really. But then he goes on to becomes the greatest quarterback to ever play the game of football.
Back to our passage, the youngest son of Jesse shows up finally. His name is David. The scripture says he was ruddy, had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. Wiersbe wrote that “had an election been held in Israel to choose a replacement for King Saul, it’s not likely that the people would have chosen David, but he was God’s first choice.” There were some unusual things about David that made him an unexpected choice humanly speaking, for a king.
David’s city of Bethlehem. From Ramah Samuel would have had to pass by Saul’s headquarters and the elders of the city knew of their estrangement.
David’s family. He was the youngest. The Hebrew word that is translated “youngest” can also carry the connotation of “the tiniest” or “the smallest.” One commentator refers to him as the “runt king.”
David’s occupation. Shepherds did not have great reputations. They were in the fields for long periods of time and would have potentially been considered unclean. In the New Testament times we find them as some what social rejects. Not where you think your next king is going to come from.
David’s appearance. He was “ruddy”. It’s possible that his hair had a red tint to it or that he was fairer complected than others. He was handsome with beautiful eyes. The idea here is that he didn’t have that warrior king look about him.
But God was about to show that even though man sees the visible, the Lord God sees the heart.

III. The Lord God sees the heart.

Saul had been the prototypical king. He was tall and strong. But God looks at the character and the posture of the heart. God knew that Saul’s heart was focused on himself. But David, as his actions in the following chapters show, had a heart that belonged to the Lord.
David is called a man after God’s own heart. Where does this come from? After Saul had offered an unlawful sacrifice in I Samuel 13:13-14 we find this:
1 Samuel 13:13–14 ESV
13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
This is referenced in Acts 13:22 when Paul is preaching in Antioch.
Acts 13:22 ESV
22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’
But what does it mean that he was a man after God’s own heart? It means that in all things the character and posture of his heart was toward God and toward obeying the commands of God. That does not mean he was perfect. We know from David’s sin with Bathsheba that he was in fact, a sinner like us. But his heart was postured toward God and when he was called out on his sin, he repented. A few years ago I read this in Tabletalk magazine:
“This David was a man after God’s own heart not because he was perfect but because he was sensitive to the Holy Spirit and knew to repent when he had sinned.”
“Men and women after God’s own heart are sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit and strive not to quench Him as He convicts us of sin and guides us in righteousness. One of the best ways to be sensitive to the Spirit is to study His inspired Word that we might hear Him when He calls. We can also pray and join a church where members and elders alike will encourage us in holiness and even rebuke us for sin, if that becomes necessary.”
The outcome was that God even worked through David’s sinful choices to advance his kingdom and ultimately bring about the birth of Jesus Christ. The next person in the genealogy of Christ after David is Solomon who was the son of David and by then his wife Bathsheba.
Conclusion and call for response:
As we land this plane today, I want to give you three points of application and challenge as we celebrate this season of Christmas.
1. God was extraordinary through the ordinary and got glory because of it.
When someone who has all of the humanly speaking traits of being able to do something great does it, they can often take the credit for themselves. But when someone whose heart is the Lord’s is empowered to do something that they recognize they can not do without the Lord, He gets the glory for it. The challenge is that you would give God the glory for all that He calls and empowers you to do.
2. God made David extraordinary as a shepherd, warrior, and as king. God empowered His anointed one. He didn’t find someone who had all the strength and ability. He used someone willing and available and equipped and empowered him. God is calling you. He won’t wait till you feel like you have got what it takes. Saul thought he had everything he needed to do the job. You must admit that you can’t do it without the Lord and then you’re ready to begin. Rely on Him. Trust Him. He will equip you to obey the commands of scripture. So study His inspired Word and then trust that He will empower you through His Spirit to accomplish what He has called you to do in it.
3. Jesus was the ultimate ordinary-extraordinary.
The people wanted a king. God promised an ultimate Messiah who would save the people from their sins, which was their real problem. Their problem wasn’t that they needed a human king. Their problem was that they needed an eternal King. They needed their hearts changed. They needed their sin forgiven once and for all and to be reconciled to God for all eternity. No mere human could accomplish this. Their sin, our sin separated us from God.
Enter Jesus at the incarnation. God became man. The promised Messiah would not enter the scene on a war horse coming to defeat Rome and all oppressors of the people but he would enter though the womb of a virgin girl. He would be laid in a manger and grow up the adopted son of a common man. He would look ordinary. There was nothing in outward appearance to attract you to Him. Yet He was extraordinary. He was all God and all man. The perfect God-man. God with us. Emmanuel. He dwelled among us through the mundane stuff of life. Then He willingly and obediently gave His perfect life on the cross in our place. The very wrath of God was due us and our sin. We earned that one. And yet He took our punishment on the cross in our place. That’s the story of Christmas. The God Man who came and lived to die and rise again to prove that He is God and the sacrifice had been accepted. And because of this, ordinary people like you and me can have relationship with the Creator of the Universe. He is our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and our Prince of Peace. So repent of your sin and believe this good news! And go tell it on the mountain, in the coffee shop, at school, at work, and everywhere else that Jesus Christ is Lord!
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