The Lord Poured Out His Spirit On You to Serve Him!

January 9, 2022

Pastor Gunnar Ledermann

1 Samuel 16:1-13

1 Samuel 16:1-13

1 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? 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.”

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

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 to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate.”

4 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?”

5 Samuel replied, “Yes, in peace; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come to the sacrifice with me.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.”

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

8 Then Jesse called Abinadab and had him pass in front of Samuel. But Samuel said, “The Lord has not chosen this one either.” 9 Jesse then had Shammah pass by, but Samuel said, “Nor has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse had seven of his sons pass before Samuel, but Samuel said to him, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

One day a man’s horse ran away, and the people of his town said, “This is bad.” Then, the man’s horse came back bringing nine other wild horses with it, and the people of his town said, “This is good.” The man’s son began to train the horses causing him to break his leg, and the people of his town said, “This is bad.” Then, the country the man lived in went to war and his son was allowed to stay home because he had a broken leg, and the people of his town said, “This is good.” After listening to the people of his town attempt to understand whether the things in his life were good or bad, the man told them to stop. It was clear that the people had no idea how to properly assess the things happening in his life.

The Old Testament prophet Samuel acted like the people of the man’s town when it came to choosing the next king of Israel. Samuel was the last leader of Israel before they had a king. When it was time for a new leader, he put his sons in charge of Israel, but they were wicked and failed, so the people asked for a king. Israel wanted a king to be like the other nations. They did not trust in God to lead them any longer. So, God allowed Samuel to appoint a man named Saul as king over Israel. Saul was able to defend Israel from its enemies, but his heart quickly turned away from God to serve his own selfish agenda. Since Saul rejected God, God told Samuel that he would appoint a new king over Israel.

In 1 Samuel 16, God told Samuel to go to a man named Jesse from Bethlehem to anoint one of his sons as the new king. When Samuel saw Jesse’s firstborn son, a strong tall man, Samuel thought he must be the one God had chosen to serve as the new king, but he was not. Then, Jesse’s other sons appeared before Samuel, but each was rejected. Jesse had seven of his sons come to Samuel, but each was rejected. 11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” When the youngest son arrived, Samuel might have thought God was play a cruel game with him. The sons Samuel raised failed as leaders for Israel, the first King of Israel Samuel anointed had failed, and now seven sons who looked like good choices for leaders were rejected. Samuel was standing and looking down at the youngest son, eighth in line to the family inheritance, and he did not see a King of Israel.

God does not choose people to serve him based on human standards. When the youngest son arrived, God told Samuel to anoint him as the next King of Israel. The boy was the last one Samuel or anyone else would have chosen as king. God had picked the most unlikely of Jesse’s sons to be the next king, and the boy’s name was David. In 1 Samuel 16, we read, 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height… The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. God was not playing a cruel game with Samuel; he was teaching him.

It is very difficult for you to do what Lord said in 1 Samuel 16, 7… “the Lord looks at the heart.” I do not mean it is difficult for you to look at another person’s heart because you need a medical degree and expensive piece of medical equipment. It is difficult because God is talking about a person’s faith and trust in God. You cannot see the faith and trust a person has in their heart for God. You can only ‘look at their heart’ based on what they say and how they live, which can be deceiving. A person may seem to do lots of good, but with the wrong motivation. While another person may not have many good accomplishments as society measures them because their heart is after accomplishments for God. The only heart you must be able to look at then is your own. Looking into your own heart, you see the reason why you struggle to serve God.

Like Samuel, you struggle to serve God because you look at the outer appearance. Whether consciously or subconsciously, you look at yourself and say, “I am not gifted to serve God.” The devil’s lies, the rebellious world and your sinful heart are turning your eyes away from the truth. It is true that you inherited sin from your parents and your sinful nature still lives inside of you causing you to sin, as Paul wrote in Romans 7, 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. When you look at your life, you see the sins, the things you hate that you do, but that is not all that you are. It is like the town’s people who thought they knew whether the things happening to the man in their town were good or bad. Or like Samuel believing he knew which of Jesse’s sons would make a good king. When you only look at what you were and the sins that comes from your sinful nature, and not what God has made you, then you struggle to serve God because you are rejecting the full freeing forgiveness Jesus gave for you and not looking at the new heart that he gave you.

God gave you a new heart to serve him. In Luke 3, we read about Jesus’ baptism, 21 “When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” Jesus’ baptism began his public ministry. The Holy Spirit anointed him, and the Father spoke his approval from heaven. When someone like a king was anointed in the Old Testament, they often poured oil over their head to mark them as the one selected for their unique position. Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit visibly so that the people would see he was the chosen one. No one else had the Holy Spirit take the form of a dove at their baptism, nor did they have the Father speak from heaven his approval of a good, perfect and sinless life. You have been connected to Jesus, the anointed one, through your baptism. In Titus 3, we read, 4 “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” Through your baptism, you were washed clean of your sins and reborn to a new life of service to God. You have been given a new heart, one filled with faith. God says that you have no record of sin, and you are a citizen of heaven through Jesus’ death and resurrection. This is the heart God has given you to serve him. These are the eyes he wants you to see yourself with, eyes of faith that see yourself for what Jesus has done for you.

God does not use you because of your appearance; God uses you because of the Holy Spirit he poured out on your heart. It was God’s grace that chose you, not something you did. God chose to save you and fill you with his Spirit, and now he has work for you to do as we hear in Ephesians 2, 8 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” You are who God wants to serve him. You are more than your relationship status, job, physical or mental health, or any other worldly standard you or others want to measure you by. In 1 Peter 2 we read, 9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” God chose each of you and made you a king or queen. You are royalty, able to approach God and bring his grace to others. And if you do not feel that way or the world, people in your life tell you otherwise, they are wrong. God says you are kings and queens, equal heirs of eternal life. There is no hierarchy or first in line to the throne. You are all equal. And if your own thoughts or the world does not think God saying you are kings and queens is worth anything, remember God is God. He created the entire universe in six days. What has anyone in your life done in the last six days? What have we as a world of almost eight billion people accomplished in the last six days? We are nowhere close to God. We are barely keeping this planet going. By God’s grace, your baptism, your Savior Jesus and the Holy Spirit, you are God’s people called to serve him.

            The people of the man’s town thought they knew whether the things happening in his life were good or bad, but they had no idea. In Ephesians 4, we read, 11 “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” God places pastors and teachers in the church to remind his people of who there are through Jesus. As a church, we are using the term Personal Member Ministry to describe this equipping of God’s people. Personal Member Ministry seeks to help you discover what God has planned for you service to him and others. At the end of January, we are going to have the first of many similar workshops where you will spend time in the Word of God to discover your spiritual gifts, and how to use them in your life, with your family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, social media contacts, brothers and sisters in Christ, community and this congregation. Stop getting lost in the worldly, outer, sinful view of yourself. Return to what God has done for you through Jesus to free you from that false view. God has saved you and continues to forgive your sins, and God has poured out his Holy Spirit on you to serve him. As unlikely as David, God has made you Kings and Queens in his Kingdom. God has plans for you to fight against sin. God has plans for you to serve him as his baptized people because the Lord poured out his Spirit on you to serve him. Amen.

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