Summary: How can I have a heart like David’s rather than like Saul’s? Let’s learn what the Holy Spirit does as he works in our hearts through Baptism and God’s promises. A. The Lord’s not fooled by outward appearance B. The Lord’s Spirit changes us to the core

Text: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

Theme: God Knows Your Heart

A. The Lord’s not fooled by outward appearance

B. The Lord’s Spirit changes us at the core

Season: Epiphany 1

Date: January 10, 2010

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Holy Spirit works in our heart through these words recorded in 1 Samuel

"The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve for Saul? I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and go. I’m sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem, for I have provided a king for me from among his sons."

"Samuel said, "How can I go? Saul will hear and kill me."

"The LORD said, "Take a heifer along with you and say, ’I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ You will invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will reveal to you what to do. You will anoint for me the one which I tell you."

"Samuel did what the LORD had said and went to Bethlehem. The elders of the town trembled to meet him and asked, "Do you come in peace?"

"He said, "I come in peace to sacrifice to the LORD. Sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice." He sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

"It happened that when he came he saw Eliab, and he said, "Oh! The LORD’S anointed stands before the LORD."

"But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance, at his tall stature, since I have rejected him. It’s not what man sees, for man looks at what’s visible, but the LORD looks at the heart."

"Then Jesse summoned Abinadab and had him pass by in front of Samuel. He said, "Neither has the LORD chosen this one." Then Jesse had Shammah pass by. He said, "Neither has the LORD chosen this one." Jesse had his seven sons pass by before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, "The LORD has not chosen any of these."

"Then Samuel said to Jesse, "Is this the full number of your boys?"

"He said, "There’s still the youngest left over. But see, he’s shepherding the sheep."

"Samuel said to Jesse, "Send and bring him. For we will not gather round [the table] until he comes here."

"He sent and brought him. He was ruddy with beautiful eyes and a good appearance. The LORD said, "Get up. Anoint him, for he is the one." Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. The Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. Samuel got up and went to Ramah." (1 Samuel 16:1-13)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

"Let’s get at the heart of the matter here." What do people mean when they say that? That means much more than, "Let’s see how it feels," doesn’t it? The heart is the center, the essence, what it’s all about inside and out, what makes it go. The opposite of getting at the heart is just brushing over the matter, skimming the surface, glancing at outward appearances.

Isn’t that the contrast the Lord makes in the text when he says, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)? He’s not contrasting head and heart, as if feelings were more important than ideas. Rather he’s contrasting what the eye can see on the outside with what is truly inside you. The heart, the way the Bible uses that word, focuses on the mind as well as the emotions. In fact, in Biblical language if the writer wanted to emphasize emotions, he wouldn’t use the word for heart but rather the word for kidneys or bowels. The heart is the real you, the inner you. It’s your thoughts and mind, your feelings and emotion, your will and drive. It’s the full you, the real you.

That’s the "you" which the Lord sees. We can put on appearances. We can play to the eyes of others. We can fool them for better or for worse. But the Lord sees the heart of the matter. He knows the real you. He knows your heart. That’s what we want to think about this morning as the Holy Spirit leads us to reflect on the lives of Saul and of David.

A. The Lord’s not fooled by outward appearance

1. How did King Saul fall away from the Lord?

First of all King Saul. He had started out as a good king, humble and magnanimous. Do you remember how it came about before Saul had become king? While he and a servant were outlooking for his father’s donkey, Samuel anointed Saul to be the first king of Israel. Yet when Israel gathered to chose him as king, Saul went and hid among the baggage. Who was he to lead the Lord’s people? Some troublemakers despised him, but he kept silent.

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