Sunday School Sunday – “Surprising choices of God” – Pr6
May only God’s word be spoken and only God’s word be heard, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – Amen
This morning as you can see is not like a regular Sunday morning
This Sunday is all about the ministry of Sunday School
Now I wanted you all to be at the front like this was a regular Children’s time – but unlike a regular children’s time – you won’t be going down stairs after and today the service has a special focus just for you
I thought sitting on the floor for the whole 90 minutes sermon might be a little uncomfortable
Pews are much better for an hour and a half talk don’t you think?....
Well, don’t worry, even the most polite of your parents won’t sit for 90 minutes – so you won’t have to either
Today I am going to tell you a story – or rather re-tell you a story
It was read today already
Can anyone tell me who the main character was?
There might actually be two or three right answers to this…
Good, just seeing if you were listening before. Now here it is again
Many, many years ago,
In a land far away from here
Lived a King, he started out as a good king, his name was Saul, but he started to think he was something really special – he started to forget who made him King and started to do things the way he wanted and didn’t listen to God anymore
So God told a really smart man – his name was Samuel - a man that people knew was a prophet
Now a prophet is someone that speaks God’s words to others
So God told the prophet Samuel that he didn’t want Saul to be king anymore
Samuel was really sad about this news
He was Saul’s friend and, well, he was sad that Saul wouldn’t be King anymore
But God told Samuel – to get over it
God made his decision, he wasn’t going to change it
So Samuel – stop mopping around!
This is what God told Samuel
God then also spoke to Samuel and said – I need you to do a little job for me
Now when God tells you to do a little job – you can say no…. but you might get swallowed up by a whale if you do
So, God said to Samuel – I need you to listen to me and go to the place I tell you to and I want you to visit with Jesse from Bethlehem and one of his sons, I will choose to be the new King
I want you to anoint him as the future king
So what is the little job that God is asking Samuel to do?
Right - Anoint a future king
Well, again Samuel is a little uncertain about what God is asking him to do
You see Samuel is afraid that Saul will find out why he going away and what he is going to do
And what Samuel is most afraid of – is that Saul is going to … kill him for treason
You see treason is plotting against the king - and basically God is asking Samuel to do exactly that
Well, God is an understanding God – and gives Samuel a cover story
Gives him a something to tell any curious questioners
God instructs Samuel to bring along some special worship material and tell everyone that he is going to have a worship service with the people that he is going to visit
So Samuel sets out on journey to visit the people God has told him to
Now when Samuel gets to where is going, the Elders – the leaders of the community – they are a little afraid themselves
You see, Samuel is a big wig – and he coming to visit them might not be for good reasons – they think they might be in trouble with the King
So they ask Samuel if he has come in peace?
And he says – Yes I have come in peace.
And he tells them that they are to have a special worship service
And he makes sure to tell them that Jesse and his sons need to be there
So the people all get together for a big feast and a special worship service
Samuel, who is a man of God remember – a prophet – gives God’s blessing on everyone
As the night goes on, Samuel makes sure that he is sitting next Jesse
And during the evening he asks if he has any sons
Now in those days if a famous big wig comes to town and asks if you have any sons – it means that he wants to meet them
Jesse of course says Yes, and as is the custom of the land, starting from the oldest – he introduces them to Samuel
“Samuel – I would like to introduce you to Eliab”
Samuel – who is still pretty nervous about this “little job” God has sent him to do, is anxious to get it over and done with
He takes one look at Eliab – he is tall, strong, hansom with intelligent eyes – from all appearances, a born leader – and Samuel thinks “surely this is God’s chosen one”
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.”
So Samuel asks Jesse to introduce his next son
Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel.
But Samuel doesn’t hear God speaking to him and he knows that this is not the one to be chosen
He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.”
Jessie not too sure what that means calls his next son and made Shammah pass by.
Again Samuel says, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.”
Jesse understanding that something special is to happen to one of his son this night, continues with the introductions and one by one made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, so in a sort of beauty pageant way, like American idol – they each walk by Samuel to see if they are selected
One by one Samuel rejects them all – because God doesn’t speak to him
and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these, Are all your sons here?”
Jesse said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.”
So Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.”
Jesse a little surprised, because he didn’t ever think the youngest would ever be part of the banquet, he was the youngest and shortest and well, the custom was that the oldest gets half of everything that is his, and the rest of his sons get what is left, and by the time it gets to number eight – there really isn’t that much left – so he had him taking care of the sheep – didn’t think it was even important for him to come to the banquet.
But he sent for young David and brought him in
Now David was a rough and tumble kind of guy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome.
The Lord spoke to Samuel and said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.”
So 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.
Can you imagine the excitement of the banquet
A special visit from the King Saul’s prophet
A big wig comes to visit and finishes the night by telling all gathered and in front of Jesse and all his seven oldest sons that the youngest – the youngest, the most unlikely of all is chosen from God
And Samuel, the prophet – anoints him with oil
Put oil on his head and something changes with David
From that point on – he is special
So does God choose the oldest, strongest and best looking of Jesse’s sons?
What does God say to Samuel – when he is thinking that Eliab is a sure pick?
Well, here is a little refresher…
“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.”
Now we are going to watch a short clip – watch for the surprise! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEo5bjnJViA
At the beginning – before Paul Potts sang – did you think – did any of the judges think he was going to do anything special?
What did the judges do before he started singing?
That right… they judged Paul Potts by the way he looked - but inside there was something really special waiting to come out…
Does anyone know what this is?
I am sure that all of you have seen one of these. It is called a stethoscope.
Who uses one of these instruments? That's right, a doctor.
And what does the doctor do with it? Right again!
The doctor listens to what is going on inside of our bodies. We might look very healthy on the outside and yet have something very seriously wrong on the inside.
Sometimes a doctor finds something very seriously wrong and has to operate to repair it, or, in some cases, we may need a new heart.
You know, God is in the business of checking hearts too.
The Bible tells us that man looks on outward appearances, but God looks at the heart.
We might look great on the outside and everyone might think that everything is okay in our life. But God isn't worried about how we look on the outside, he is concerned with our hearts. – just as our story today showed
What is God looking for? He is looking for things that might indicate that we have some serious heart problems in our life.
He is looking for things like bitterness, hatred, jealousy, selfishness, pride, and greed.
When we come to church, everything may look great on the outside, but God may look inside and see that our heart isn't right.
When we know that we have heart problems, we need to do what David did when he wrote one of his psalms or songs.
He said, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."
Do you have some things in your heart that shouldn't be there?
I do! Let's ask God to clean it out!
Dear Lord, we know that you can see what is in our heart and we know that there are some things there that shouldn't be there. Create in all of us a clean heart, O God. Amen.