Go Look

Go Look   Sunday  October 22, 2017

1 Samuel 16:1-13; Psalm 51:10-14

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.

Psalm 51

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. 14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.


Samuel is a judge, called by God to serve, as a young boy, in last week’s story. During his lifetime of service, the people of Israel grew weary of the never-ending war with the prior inhabitants of the promised land and so they thought if they could just get a king like all the other nations around them, things would go better. So Samuel, against his better judgment, anointed Saul as the first king of Israel. He was a great warrior and unified the people. However, he displeased the Lord when he began to keep some of the spoils of war for himself. So the Lord sends Samuel, the faithful judge to find a new king. To try and unseat a sitting king could get you killed, so God tells Samuel to make it look like he is going to church and to invite Jesse and his sons along, knowing the next king will come from this family.

God sends Samuel – Go Look.

Yet who Samuel was prepared to look for and who God was looking for were two different things and God knew this before the search even began! Just as we have seen with Jacob and Esau, with Joseph, God doesn’t always choose who we think God will choose. God has different criteria. Think about last week – the calling of Samuel, God chooses a kid. This kind of looking and calling flies in the face of the existing structure of who was in charge, who had power, who was important. God shouldn’t be choosing kids for adult type work. God should be choosing the biggest, the oldest, the most handsome, the strapping warrior. The heir to the father’s name and property and honor and blessing. Yet that is not what God does.

God says to Samuel, “Look but you won’t see what I see, because I see with the heart.” or as we heard in verse 7: “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.” 

God’s calling of David to be king disrupts good order.

God’s calling of David to be king disrupts our expectations.

God’s calling of David defies our best vision, challenges all of our assumptions we make just on what we can see.

Because as is always true about God, there is more than meets the eye. And it has to do with the heart.

What does it mean that God looks on the heart? I mean, David will get into trouble with a capital T. He won’t be a perfect king. And in case you don’t know his story, it’s a good one, It’s a complicated one. He is a successful king but he ends up having an affair with Bathsheba and gets her pregnant and then sends her husband off to the front lines of war to assure that he is killed, thinking the truth of David’s adultery and impregnating a woman will die with the husband.

So did God know that David would go on to covet another man’s wife, commit adultery and murder his lover’s husband? I mean that’s at least 3 of the 10 commandments right there? How could God’s radar be so off?

I don’t know what you think about God having a minute by minute plan of your life mapped out from birth to death. I, my own self, believe not so much in a second by second orchestration of God’s will in my life but more that God is with me each step, never abandoning me, setting loose God’s spirit to guide me even through bad decisions. So I don’t know that God knew David would do those things. But I do believe God knew David’s heart.

God knew David was passionate and creative. He was a singer-songwriter after all. David sang and played for king Saul. God knew David was a lover. God knew David was a sinner. God knew David was not perfect because God created him.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me, prays David.

God is the one who sees our hearts. And my faith tells me that God sees with God’s own heart. I don’t know where else grace comes from but from God’s own heart. It’s a miracle it is given freely to us, isn’t it?

Our vision for grace is limited.

Our vision for church can turn inward pretty quickly, thinking that other folks will do the “going out” for us. Or that church is a once a week kind of thing.

Our vision for our own lives can be limited to cycles of endless comparison. This (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/11/magazine/why-are-more-american-teenagers-than-ever-suffering-from-severe-anxiety.html) New York Times Magazine article from last week talks about the rise of teenage depression and, especially, anxiety in direct relationship to the having of the smart phone. Kids, and let’s be real, adults get caught up in comparing our lives, our selves to the perceived lives of others as we see on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter. Our inner monologues take over, thinking we must not be having as much fun, we’re not as popular or that we’re going to fail at school and not get into a good college and so then that must mean we will fail at all the things.

Samuel is sent by God to call the one who doesn’t look like he fits the part. Samuel is sent by God to call the one we would never see or choose our own selves. Samuel is sent by God to disrupt the assumptions of the day. Samuel is sent by God to be absolutely surprised by who God chooses.

God sees our hearts. God sees with God’s heart. God’s vision is always greater than our own, always calling us into the greatest dreams for our lives, not the ones we see on the internet or in the tragedy of our limited imaginations.

Thank God that God’s vision for the church is for us to be a people that change the warped narrative of unworthiness you might have in your brain for yourself. Thank God that God uses us as church to tell of everyone’s worthiness as a child of God. Thank God we take more than an hour on a Sunday morning to be reminded that we are first and foremost children of God. Thank God we are here to look through God’s vision, through God’s eyes, through God’s heart for us and for the world.

Thank God that God’s vision for you and for me is to love our broken and unused hearts back into beating muscles that shape the whole of our lives.

Thank God that God comes to us in the flesh of Jesus, the ultimate “other” the “outsider” who was an on the run refugee from the very beginning. The one who was rejected by the government. The one who you and I reject in big and small ways in our lives every day by not loving with our whole hearts.

Thank God that God sees with God’s heart and doesn’t leave us the way God found us. God transforms our hearts. God changes our lives. God sees the things in us that we swear are not there.

Go and look, says God. God says this to you and to me. We are called into this holy, every day work of seeing miracles and new life in unexpected places.

Go and look!