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Seeing Beyond External Appearances and Focusing on the Heart (1 Samuel 16:1-13)

Sermon on 10 December 2023 by Pastor Gaius



We want to make the right choice today. We can choose the godly way rather than the worldly way. We can choose to be spiritually-minded, rather than being carnally-minded.




Saul was a king, who made mistakes. In 1 Samuel 13, Saul did not obey God. He blamed the people who were leaving, and he blamed Samuel for not coming on time  (1 Samuel 13:11-12). He blamed everyone else for his own mistake. Samuel could see the heart of Saul, and rebuked him. God wants a person after His own heart. He identifies them by those who obey Him. Saul rejected God because of pride. And due to Saul’s disobedience, God rejected Saul as king of Israel.


The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” 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?” - 1 Samuel 16:1-4


1. Focus on God

Man and the world are afraid of the powerful. God wanted one of Jesse’s sons to be king, even though Saul was still king. Samuel was afraid Saul would kill him. But Samuel focused on God, and did what the Lord commanded. God wants us to submit to one another, including those less powerful than us, younger than us.


And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.” 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 sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” - 1 Samuel 16:5-10


2. Follow after God

Man and the world see external appearances. But God sees what is inside - mind and heart. Samuel submitted to God’s choices above his. When things do not go our way, do we force our way through? Or do we still follow God?


Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” - 1 Samuel 16:11


3. Faithful to God

Man and the world seek attention. David, the youngest son, was serving alone, away from everyone. David’s heart was right.


And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. - 1 Samuel 16:12-13


David had to wait and go through difficulties. God was with David, supporting him. God’s promises were fulfilled, according to His time and will.




We have external appearances to look after. But beyond that, let us focus on our hearts. Before we focus on ourselves, we focus on God. Then we follow after God, and remain faithful to God. God’s promises are powerful. His kingdom lasts forever.


Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ Of this man's offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. - Acts 13:21-23

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