Get Real           1 Samuel 16:1-13         April 3, 2011
Ten to fifteen years ago, a popular retort for young people was: "Get Real!" Don’t fool yourself and try to fool me. Do what you say and say what you do. Get Real. This trend continued to the point that almost anything you said, someone would respond, Get Real.
How does one "Get Real"(if one isn’t being real)? What is the really real reality?

In today’s text, God reminded Samuel that the divine perception of reality differs significantly from our limited human view.
In the words that Sherlock Holmes is often quoted: "My dear Watson, you see, but you do not observe."

How many of us are "seeing" but not really "observing" because we aren't seeing from a spiritual perspective?
When Samuel stopped using just his eyes/ and relied instead on the spirit of God, he immediately "saw" that the "ruddy," shepherd-son of Jesse offered the spiritual strength and leadership that Israel would need from its next king.

It is time for us all to start using our "spiritual eyes." It is time to heed the advice to Get Real about our faith, Get Real about life, and Get Real about death. It's time to believe what we believe.
In order for us to "Get Real," we must first "Get Spiritual."

What do we even know about "Spirit"? What do we know about "living in the Spirit"? Do you trust the divine Spirit’s dynamic within you?
Scripture repeatedly tells how God can use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Ordinary people like Moses, who couldn't talk before people; ordinary people like the twelve disciples, none of them rich, or famous, or studied - just twelve common men with uncommon faith.
(And) if you read the Bible with an eye toward whom God chooses, you will see over and over again that God has let the gospel hang by a thread, committing the future to insignificant people, unnamed and unknown in many cases, but ordinary, not outlandish, in their talents. There’s something to be said about the ordinary.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, For consider your calling, bros. & sisters, not many among you were wise according to the world’s standards, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong. 1 Cor.1:26, 27
 Look at the young David, a scrawny adolescent chosen to replace the handsome and charismatic Saul. But David's obedience to God's word, his faith in God's presence in his life, and his humility before God when he failed, established him as Israel's greatest ruler. (1991)
What does getting real have to do with Samuel and David? To Get Real you have to Get Spiritual, which means to see with spiritual eyes. Samuel thought Eliab; the tall, handsome son of Jesse would be the one. Jesse thought it would be one of the others he presented to Samuel.
Bible scholars tell us that verse 7 records a viewpoint almost unique to Jewish thought in antiquity - that beauty and goodness are not automatically equated. In other ancient cultures, those graced with physical beauty were assumed to hold a special place in the divine favor. Eliab was most pleasing to look upon; a tall, striking hunk of manhood who’s very bearing suggested kingship.
But the Lord dismisses Eliab and pointedly rejects those very qualities Samuel targeted as "good." Using a whole different set of standards, God proclaims to Samuel: "The Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart" (v.7).
Young David is not present at this special occasion. David was not even considered. Maybe he was too young. But, Samuel knew none of the others were it. Verse 11: Samuel finally learned to see with spiritual eyes, he asked "Are all your sons here?" (v.11).
Jesse's response demeans his eighth son: He is "the youngest," the one left "keeping the sheep" when the rest are invited to an important sacrificial ceremony.
Samuel immediately demands that this eighth son not only be brought to him for consideration, but he further elevates this boy's importance by refusing to begin any of the feasting rituals until he is brought in. The one who had been uninvited is now treated as the long-awaited guest of honor. This is how God sees us, you and me.
In verse 12, the boy is brought in and receives a surprisingly detailed physical description. Having already been told he is young, we are now told David is "ruddy," has "beautiful eyes" and is "handsome."
While it may at first appear that this description flies in the face of the Lord's earlier pronouncement (v.7) about physical appearance, a closer examination of these physical attributes is revealing. "Ruddiness" was a characteristic coupled with pale, milky skin.
In both Lamentations (4:7) and the Song of Songs (5:10), ruddy skin and translucent whiteness are combined to describe great, yet delicate beauty. Combined with David's "beautiful eyes" these traits made him strikingly "handsome" - but hardly the candidate for a strong king for a troubled country.
In short, he probably looked like a delicate, gentle youth, or a weakling. We read later that the Philistine Goliath found David's fragile beauty a matter for contempt and dismissal (1 Samuel 17:42). Among Jesse's eight sons, there was no less likely a candidate to take on the warrior-king Saul than the young, ruddy David.
The Lord's message to Samuel, however, is unequivocal - "This is the one" (v.12). With no hesitation, therefore, Samuel anoints David - although only in the presence of his immediate family. He would later be anointed by the elders of Israel. The act of anointing with oil is a ritual that establishes a covenantal relationship between the partners. The one who anoints pledges support to the one who is anointed.
“God was looking for a leader with heart. Heart was not the center of emotions for the ancients, although it was included. Heart was the center of one’s being: emotion, intelligence, discernment, wisdom, commitment, and character were all elements of heart—perhaps what we call soul. “  (Donald P. Olsen in Feasting on the Word)
“…the beauty of one’s heart, the loveliness of one’s soul surpasses its physical container and is often seen through its portal to the world: one’s eyes. “ Donald P. Olsen
Get real. Get spiritual.
How often do we fail to see in life the wonder and mystery that is there because we do not appreciate the ordinary? Do not miss the wonder because of the average. Do not let the miraculous skip you by because of the common, for God has put wonder in the ordinary.
There is perhaps no writer better known to readers of Christian books in England or America than William Barclay. He has written more than 50 books, many of them commentaries on the Bible. In his autobiography entitled Testament of Faith (1975), he admits his ordinariness and untidiness:
"I am no theologian," he confesses. "I have an essentially second-class mind. . . It is the simple truth that I never had an original thought in my life. In all the books I have written I have explained and expounded other men's ideas." (William Barclay: A Spiritual Autobiography (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1975), 27, 21.) Yet, Barclay’s genius was in taking complex, scholarly, theological ideas and writing about them in every-day language so the person in the pew could easily understand.
God works behind the scenes. What about you? Can you trust the Spirit of God this morning? Can you believe that the invisible is more real than the visible? That the ordinary hides the extraordinary? Can you believe that what is most real about you is not your physical body, but your soul? Amen.
  July 2021  
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