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Summary: Epiphany 1(C) - The Lord anoints his servant with his divine choice and with his Holy Spirit.

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THE LORD ANOINTS HIS SERVANT

1 Samuel 16:1-13 - January 8, 2006 - Epiphany 1

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Dear Fellow-Redeemed and Friends in Christ:

What is in your heart this morning? Verse 7 of today’s text states the Lord looks at our heart. Maybe in our heart there are those things we don’t want anyone to know about or to see or to hear. For sometimes in our hearts are those deep, dark things that ought not be brought out into the light. When Jesus came in the New Testament and talked to the scribes and Pharisees, he reminded them it wasn’t their outward appearance that mattered. From their hearts came evil thoughts, murders, adulteries and every evil. Even though at times we too harbor secret, sinful things in our hearts, our hearts have been changed and our lives have been changed. When God made us his believers then the Lord poured out his Spirit on us. When the Holy Spirit came to dwell in us, everything changed.

We heard about this in our second lesson (Acts 16:25-34). The jailer at Philippi was responsible to make sure the prisoners did not escape. He did not care about their welfare. An earthquake shook the prison. But the prisoners stayed put, they did not leave. When the Lord worked on the jailer’s heart, he was baptized. His life changed immediately. The jailer brought the prisoners home, cleaned them up, and made a meal for them because of the joy of faith in his heart. God is able to do such great things. God does great things for us. The prophet Ezekiel wrote: "I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them. I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 11:19). Today, the Lord has given us a heart of flesh to hear his word. Today, we are reminded in our text:

THE LORD ANOINTS HIS SERVANT(S). God does this

I. With divine choice and

II. With the Holy Spirit

I. WITH DIVINE CHOICE

This was an important time in the history of the children of Israel when things were going to change. Saul had been chosen by God to be the first king of Israel. Saul was coming to the end of his rule. Saul had forgotten about God until God had to reject Saul, as king. There was going to be a new king. Our text begins: "The LORD said to Samuel, "How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel?" Samuel was the prophet of the Lord. He was the one who had anointed Saul as the first king. There was great celebration and rejoicing at the Lord’s choice of Saul.

God says to Samuel: Saul has been rejected. “Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king." Samuel knows that Saul, even though he has been rejected and his kingship is coming to an end, is still the king. Samuel says to the Lord: "How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me." Samuel was concerned. The Lord gives Samuel his assurance. "The Lord said, ’Take a heifer with you and say, "I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.’" The Lord was going to make his choice of whom Samuel would anoint. Here, the Lord says to Samuel, "I will provide the next king for you. I will also protect you and preserve you on your way to Bethlehem."

We are told in the next verse: "Samuel did what the LORD said. When he arrived at Bethlehem, the elders of the town trembled when they met him. They asked, ’Do you come in peace?’" Even though Saul was king, Samuel was the Lord’s prophet. The Lord’s prophet, when it came to pronounce the Lord’s judgment, was more powerful than the king. The Lord spoke directly to God’s prophet. From time to time Samuel had pronounced the Lord’s judgments against kings and kingdoms. These kings had come to a great fall. No one could withstand God’s righteous judgment. So Samuel comes to Bethlehem and the elders ask, "Are we the next town to face the Lord’s punishment?" They are scared what judgment the Lord might pronounce against them through his prophet. "Samuel replied, ’Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.’" Consecrate is to "make holy" or "make ready."

Next we are told: "Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice." Samuel knows that one of Jesse’s sons is to be chosen as the next king. Our text continues: "When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ’Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.’" The Lord said, "No." He explains why: "The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." The Lord knows what is in the heart, and the Lord always looks at the heart of each person. Eliab, the oldest, was not to be the next king. Man only can see the outside and does not know what is in the heart.

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