Twilight Kingdom (2)

The Chosen (1 Samuel 15:1-16:23)

Mar 19, 2024 By: Pastor Joseph LoSardo Topic: Sermon Devotional Series: 1 Samuel: Twilight Kingdom Scripture: 1 Sam. 15:1-16:23

Chapter 15 opens the third of three Acts in the drama of 1 Samuel; the sun is beginning to rise on “Twilight Kingdom.” Having closed the curtain on Saul’s reign with the official record of his exploits in 14:47-52, from this point on, Saul’s fall will serve as the backdrop of David’s rise.

The priority of the human king who serves over Yahweh’s kingdom is that he must obey God. However, just as he had done in chapter 13, King Saul again disobeyed God’s clear instruction. Also as in chapter 13, he shrouded his disobedience in religious terms. Curiously, the exchange of words in verses 13-16 suggests that Saul was oblivious to his sin. Saul seems almost upbeat while Samuel is grieved. Samuel rightly identified Saul’s sin, not as merely a misunderstanding, but as rebellion. Accurately understanding the nature of sin digs beneath the veneer of religious activity. Saul did not obey God’s clear command; this does not amount to merely a different expression of faith, but it is rebellion, arrogance, and idolatry. Samuel does not mince words: “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.” To His great sorrow, God rejected the king whom He had chosen. As Dale Ralph Davis writes, “all the smoke and fat of Gilgal’s altar would never replace the pleasure God could have had from the living sacrifice of Saul’s will.”

In chapter 16, Yahweh sends the prophet Samuel to discover and anoint the man after His heart, saying, “I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons” (16:1). One by one, Jesse brings seven of his sons before the prophet, and for all of them Samuel’s response was, “the Lord has not chosen these” (16:10). With each rejection, God confounded human wisdom and earthly standards, finally settling on the most unlikely son of Jesse. Yahweh could see what man could not – the heart. As He tells Samuel in verse 7, “for the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Yahweh’s choice was unexpected and ironic, as he also turns out to be Saul’s choice! (See 16:17-19.)

Ultimately 1 Samuel 16 directs our hearts and minds to David’s greater Son, rejected by the builders, but chosen by God (Ps 118:22-23). He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him … He was despised and we esteemed him not (Isaiah 53:2-3). Man chooses based on the outward appearance, often missing “the Chosen” by God.