The Israelites were living in their land, each tribe on their piece of the promise. But they wanted to be a real nation like all the other nations. And having a king seemed to be a good start. Never mind, they already had a king—a God-King.
So, Samuel, the last of the judges and the first prophet, chose Saul, from the tribe of Benjamin, to be their first king. He was handsome and tall and stood far above the rest; he looked like a king.
And the LORD came upon him.
Saul was a real king reigning over a real nation.
After success against the land-hungry Philistines, Saul became shrouded in jealousy and all of its ugly. Paranoia was his companion. Rage his trademark. And God’s spirit left him. Left him dark and dangerous but still on the throne.
That Obed. That Ruth. That Boaz. That Rahab. In the little town of Bethlehem, in Judah. That Judah.
God saw David, the youngest son of Jesse, the son of Obed. The son of Ruth and Boaz. And Boaz, the son of Rahab and Salmon.
Obeying the LORD, the judge-prophet Samuel went to Jesse’s house in Bethlehem to find a king. Jesse offered each of his sons as an option, but Samuel withheld the oil.
“Are there any others?” Samuel asked Jesse.
Jesse sent for David. Upon David’s return, Jesse put him before Samuel.
Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.1 SAMUEL 16:13
As Samuel poured the oil upon David’s head, the LORD also poured out His Spirit upon him. Oil upon his head; God’s Spirit upon his life. And in that Spirit, David walked.
But Saul held on to the crown with the hands of a crazed madman. Fifteen years would come and go before David would formally reign as king of Israel. Fifteen years, a new king in the making.
Upon the death of a darkened King Saul, David became king of Judah. Seven and half years later, at thirty, he wore the crown of all Israel.
As a warrior king, David claimed the city of Jerusalem and made it Israel’s capital. He brought the Ark of the LORD to Jerusalem and danced shamelessly with great abandon. To top off his celebration, he ate dates and raisin cakes; he wasn’t all warrior.
David’s world was at peace. All was calm. God’s promise to Abraham felt complete. Israel was a great nation, like the stars in the sky, shining for all other nations to see. All was bright.
Hope shone brightly.
Can you imagine? The scope of God’s love for His people? His love for you? The lengths He was willing to go?
Except for Noah, thus far, God has chosen all the wrong people to be part of His story! Abraham was an idolater when God chose him. Jacob was a conman. Judah made terrible decisions that harmed other people. Tamar was desperately deceitful. Rahab was a harlot. (It amazes me that people get hung up on her lying. Really?) Ruth was a pagan widow. David was the runt of a litter of eight.
And yet, God chose them all to move His story forward, to be hinges on which this story turned.
So, what excuse do any of us have when God calls us to be a part? Because that’s what our life here on earth is: an opportunity to be a small part of God’s story. His much bigger story.
Some of us are called to pivotal, world-changing roles. But some of us may be just names in a long line of begottens. That used to bother me. But if the most significant thing I ever do is beget someone, who begets someone, who begets someone God uses powerfully, that’s fine with me. I’m going to trust that God knows best. And does best.
Father, Your ways are not my ways, for they are much greater than I could ever understand. Your eyes stretched out over eternity past to eternity future, and You saw. You leaned in and bent down. You drew people far from You and watched them grow into whom You meant them to be.
This story You’ve written is so tightly scripted. No one but You could have penned it. You chose characters too far, too young, too broken, and too used, and invited them to be a part of Your incredible story of hope that began in the garden. Father, may I always have the eyes to see others as You see them. I am so grateful that You have chosen me to have a tiny little part of Your grand story. Amen.
Christmas Eve is one week from today. Don’t panic. There isn’t one thing I want to add to your To-Do List. As part of our worship today, let’s simply be.
Be kind. Be loving. Be faithful. Be gentle. Be self-controlled. Be joyful. Be peaceful. Be patient.
With your words. With your actions. With your thoughts.
Toward others. And yourself. Friends, we are loved by the Creator of the universe. Let’s live loved.