Pursuing Answers to Questions of Faith & Life

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sermon--A Day of Assumptions--1 Samuel 16

A Day of Assumption

Thinking you know God’s Will—God’s Will, Will Surprise You

The act of anticipating, taking up, placing, or
considering something beforehand, or before the proper
time in natural order.

To take for granted, or without proof; to suppose as a
fact; to suppose or take arbitrarily or tentatively.

It’s like we are hard-wired to anticipate and assume things. Sometimes, when someone is asking me a question, sometimes I assume I know what they’re going to ask and try to interrupt them with the answer. Then I have to start over again because my assumption was wrong.

Or consider Thanksgiving—just seeing the turkey sitting in the freezer creates a sense of anticipation—I can already taste the turkey even though it’s still a solid block of flesh.

One of my annoying habits is to try and figure out the plot of a movie and guess where it’s going, what’s going to happen to get there. I make certain assumptions—which sometimes irritates Vicky. But as much as I enjoy trying to figure it out, the best movies are typically the ones where I’m totally wrong.

Today we’re going to see one of those “Days of Assumptions” in the life of Samuel. Where last week we looked at the Influence of Samuel at the Anointing of Saul as King, today we’re going to look at the Assumptions of Samuel in the Anointing of David.

Here’s a brief historical recap. In many ways, the anointing and choosing of Saul is one of Saul’s better days. He was 30 when he became king and he ruled for 42 years. But it didn’t take long for him to get into trouble and lose favor with God. Before one battle, Saul was waiting for Samuel to offer a sacrifice. When Samuel didn’t show up to perform his priestly duties as quickly as Saul believed he would, Saul took matters into his own hand and offered a sacrifice to God.
Despite being unqualified to do so. As a result, the kingdom was pronounced to be taken from him. While he had the kingdom for a long time, 40+ years, God was already on the lookout for the next king. In hearing God’s desire for the next King, Samuel heard that this man would be “a man after his own heart”—13:14. He would be a man who seeks to know God, to please God and to serve God in all he says and does. Samuel knew this man was coming, knew this man was out there to replace Saul. Now after uncertainty, after not liking the decision for a king, Samuel has hope and expectation. He trusts that the man God has in mind will be a tremendous step up for the people. When you know that something or someone new is just around the corner, or that they will soon be arriving, your sense of anticipation builds and speculation abounds. Samuel probably begins to wonder what this new king after his own heart looks like, what type of man is he, what makes him different from Saul, how is he similar? I suspect his mind would begin to fill in a few blanks, make a few assumptions of what this king would look like.

It’s in this context of anticipation that Samuel receives the call of expectation for the new king. All he is told is that he’s to go to Bethlehem and to the family of Jesse where one of Jesse’s sons will be anointed king. Along the way, Samuel makes a lot of assumptions

1. 1 Sam. 16:1-3—Samuel Assumes His Life is in Danger
• Assumes Saul will find out
• Assumes Saul will be angry
• Assumes Saul will try to kill him
• Assumes God hasn’t thought of this possibility
• Assumes God cannot or will not protect him
• Assumes he’d better remind God
• Samuel, the former leader of Israel, now old and mature in his walk with God is much more cautious and nervous about following God.
• Wise and Faithful Samuel didn’t assume that God had a plan—a plan that included worship
• Wise and Faithful Samuel didn’t get all the details of God’s plan.
• God assumed and expected Wise and Faithful Samuel to Follow His directions

2. Assumption of God’s Will—vs. 4-6
• This section also starts off with an assumption—the Elders assumed that Samuel’s motives for coming were hostile or judgmental.

• Samuel—God’s lifelong Prophet, Judge and Leader assumed—“surely the LORD’s Anointed stands before me—vs. 6

• Since the criteria for Saul was his height—Samuel assumed appearance would dictate God’s choice again with one of Jesse’s sons. The last guy was tall—then this guy’s going to be tall too.

• How many times do we do the same thing—God did it this way last time—He brought revival last time, He saved someone last time like this—then He’ll do it again this time. We assume God will work the same way every time because it makes life easier on us, we don’t have to think as hard, we don’t have to seek Him as much.

• And yet Jesus provides the pattern for us to learn from. Every one of His miracles and healings were a little different. There was no cut and dry pattern, no cookie-cutter healing—let you and I only care about the pattern, about the right way of doing it, rather than the walk and the relationship. We must never assume that God will do the same thing over and over again, but assume that what worked last time, what worked last year may not work at all this year.

• Eliab was the oldest, the most obvious, the safest choice, the logical choice. Samuel assumed the social norms like the oldest son rule would control and dictate things to God.

• One thing I learn from this about Samuel is that he wasn’t in control of the situation, nor did he know the mind of God like he was the last time in his younger days when Saul was made king. Last time, Samuel was in control—this time, Samuel was just as in the dark as David. God was still trying to teach, still trying to Grow Samuel—to make him more dependent on God even after all these years, rather than the smug—“I’ve got God all figured out. Samuel’s assumptions caused more confusion.

• We do the same thing he did every time we judge a book by it’s cover, a person by their clothes, when we judge a preacher on TV by the size of their crowd or their smile rather than on their theological content—rather than the Word of God. Our assumptions get us in trouble, especially in our walk with God. Our assumptions often lead to disappointment. We think we have God all figured out and then He doesn’t do what we think He should—a prayer gets a “No” and feels unanswered—something doesn’t happen that we think should happen—that leaves us frustrated and mistrustful—but what we’re really saying in those moments is that we believe as if God is accountable to you and me—as if He should take His cues from us. But that is the height of arrogance and foolishness.

God was doing a whole lot more than just choosing a new king. He was teaching an important truth to one of His older and most successful prophets. Don’t think you’ve got Me all figured out—don’t assume you know what I’m doing, or what I’m planning, or who I’m going to use. And if God will teach that lesson to Samuel—He will do it to you and me—no matter how old we are, no matter how long you’ve been a Christian.

• Don’t assume you see the same things the LORD sees. Don’t assume you know more than God knows. Don’t assume how God will use someone, don’t assume you know better whether something is right or wrong in a situation.

• Our tendency is to assume that if something happens the way we want it to, the way we expected to, if it fulfills our expectations, wants or desires, then it must be from God, God must be pleased or He must be blessing what we’re doing. That’s not always the case—we shouldn’t presume to know what God is doing—we shouldn’t presume to take a step without His approval. Too often we take a step for the sake of stepping and the assume and expect God to bless our step.

• God reveals How He chooses—vs. 7—He looks at the heart—our perspective is on the tangible, the visible, the here and now—God sees the more valuable, God sees the more real, the more eternal—the heart, the spirit. When God decides things in this manner, then we get to experience of the…

3. Surprise of God’s Will
• When Samuel says--Are these all the sons you have?—vs. 11a—it’s clear that Samuel is a little shaken, he’s confused. His understanding, his confidence in God is gone—He doesn’t understand at this point—I’m supposed to choose one of Jesse’s sons, right?

• Samuel may not understand it, but God does. In this moment, Samuel is only left with obedience—trusting God to lead him.

• There is still the youngest vs. 11b, which could also be translated “smallest”—ironic description to Saul and his tall borther Eliab——I can see Samuel in that moment totally surprised—that can’t be right—

• When Samuel says—“We will not sit down”—more than just Hurry Up—I believe it is also a reflection of the phrase—“Oh, I gotta see this” It even creates a sense of excitement in Samuel—if none of these guys are the right choice I wonder what kind of man the youngest is.

And then David arrives. He’s young, he’s not very big—but he’s handsome. Samuel immediately is told that this is the guy God has chosen.—Rise and anoint him, Samuel is told.

• God’s will doesn’t fit Samuel’s assumptions. Contrast to 1 Cor. 1—God chooses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise.

• It is often the unscheduled moments, conversations and events that have the greatest impact and are the most memorable. That’s why I cringe when I hear parents talk only about quality time with their kids—as if quality time is scheduled and can be manufactured. Real quality time, quality moments, quality conversations occur in the midst of quantity time, when you aren’t necessarily trying to make something happen.

God’s will surprises us. He is the God of the Interruptions—He is the God of the unexpected—He looks at the heart, He looks at motive, everything.
Don’t presume to know the mind of God.
Assume God’s will is going to surprise us.

• Even why you are here today. He knows exactly how He wants to use you for His glory. He knows exactly when you are ready to embrace Him in Jeus Christ.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this..... It is great. So helpful to me and my ministry.

I pray that God will bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Very nice. This is a useful interpretation of the chapter that gets us away from the moralisms of many interpreters.

Kelly Reed said...

Thanks! I'm glad you were blessed from it. Just wondering what you mean by "moralisms"--any examples of people using this passage or something else?

Anonymous said...

This is so on time for this season, in the body of Christ. thank you for this post and it helped me with my study and lesson to present to others. subject "Be careful how you Handle me. Greater is in me.