I will be out of the office this week so I am sending this out early.
May your time lingering in Lent be blessed. May the Lord be with you as you look into your own heart. Know that you have been chosen, along with David, to be part of the lineage and family of Jesus.
May you find comfort and peace and strength and grace this day.
1 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.
The choosing of David is a powerful account in the Old Testament. The people wanted a king. God wanted to relate to the people more directly. The people persisted. God relented. Saul was anointed. Saul ended up poorly. God chooses David to take Saul’s place. Samuel pays a visit to Jesse the Bethlehemite.
While Samuel was visiting all of the sons (save one) of Jesse passed by. I get visions of a fashion runway in Paris (although the clothes might have been a tad more rustic and the smells not quite so flowery). Samuel has in mind his favorite, Eliab. Perhaps Jesse, if he is tracking with all that is going on, has his favorite as well. Who will be the next Israeli Idol? After all of the “performances” none of the contestants have been chosen. Samuel asks Jesse if one has been missed. Out comes David who was handsome and ruddy and had beautiful eyes. Odd that these features get mentioned since the Lord already said to Samuel that appearance and height don’t matter for the Lord looks on the heart. David ends up “winning” the prize. David is anointed as king. The Holy Spirit comes upon him mightily from that day forward.
David’s life certainly wasn’t smooth sailing from that point on. Saul tried to kill him on occasion. David had great victories (in battle, with Goliath, etc.) and outstanding moral failures (Bathsheba, killing off Uriah to get said Bathsheba as his own, etc.). But regardless of his successes or his failures the Holy Spirit persisted in David. It stirred him to song and poetry (notice how many psalms are attributed to David) and certainly gave him courage and fortitude throughout his career as king and his lifetime.
You have been brought before the Lord as much as David if you have been baptized. When you got to the font you were anointed and brought into the family of God. The Holy Spirit has come into your life mightily. The resident Holy Spirit is no guarantee of smooth sailing. People may come after you. You may have glorious accomplishments. You may have moral failings that would rival David’s darkest moments. But regardless of what you do or do not the Holy Spirit persists in you. It can stir you to song and poetry and can certainly give you courage and fortitude as you make your way through this life.
God has looked at you and at your heart. And God says, this is my beloved son; this is my beloved daughter—with this one I am well pleased. God chooses us first, before we can earn or spurn God’s love. God continues to choose us even if we stray—particularly if we stray. The 1 sheep that is saved at the risk of the 99 should be an encouragement to us that God will never leave nor forsake us. You have been sealed and anointed with the Holy Spirit—that doesn’t wipe off.
Rise and serve God this day with an encouraged and a peaceful heart. You are the one God has chosen.
God shape us into your people. Thank you for choosing us. Help us find ways to continue to choose you throughout this day and our whole lives. Amen.