Harbor Presbyterian - Uptown

The Spirit's Annointing to Bless the City

Blessing a City in Conflict

The Spirit’s Anointing to Bless the City

1Samuel 16:1-23 


Israel’s king had just fallen.  Things were looking bad for Israel—hope was lost.  Saul rejected God—didn’t want to live in relationship with God.  He feared peoples’ opinions and ignored God’s words. 1Sa 15:24   24 Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 

God wanted the king in Israel to connect people to deeper relationship with Him, not lead people away from him.  1Sa 12:14-15 If both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well.  15 But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you and your king. 

Israel had these amazing promises, but they were dashed to bits by the failure of the king.   Samuel is in mourning because he thinks it’s over, there’s no hope.  He is in despair.  God’s hand will be against Israel now no matter what.  Is that how you feel?  Do you feel like you’ve been led down the wrong path?  Like there’s no way to come back?   

With God, there is always hope.  He comes to Samuel and says, “Let’s go.  Saul’s rejection doesn’t mean the end of hope.  This time I’m choosing a king.” 

This is God’s message to all of us today.  If you see a gap between your hope and reality, God is coming today to give you a vision and a hope and the assurance of his power.   

This is what’s motivating our Kick Off Sunday.  We sense the gap here in our city and in ourselves between the way life is and the way it should be.  Yet we see God at work and so we want to do our part to bless San Diego this year.  In this passage, God will speak to us in 3 ways: 

I.   David gets God’s vote and CONNECTS to God’s Spirit (v1-13)

II.   David DEVELOPS in Maturity to live in the disparity between promise and reality (v14-20)

III. While in the disparity, David is RELEASED to serve and bless the city by the power of the Spirit (v21-23) 

  1. CONNECT:  David gets God’s vote and CONNECTS to God’s Spirit (v1-13)

So Samuel goes, and he almost creates another Saul.  V6—Sees Eliab, the firstborn and thinks to choose him. V7—Eliab was the firstborn (17:13); he was good looking, and he was tall.  Saul in 9:2 was described the same way. 

Samuel shows us our own need.  Even the prophet of God needs God’s wisdom.  Dale Ralph Davis, 171-2—There is at least one thing we can seek to do: beware of the impressiveness of external appearances… What we seem to want are the movers and shakers, the aggressive extroverts, the pushers who meet people well and sell the church in a community, who are smooth in the pulpit.  Do we ever ask:  How does he pray?  Does he enjoy being with his wife?  Can he weep? 

Davis, 172—Sometimes Yahweh must save us from our saviors, our self-chosen solutions to kingdom needs or personal dilemmas.  And how often he has. 

So God saves Samuel and Israel.  God looks at the heart, God doesn’t play to our standards.  But God is not into ugly per se.  David is ruddy and handsome.   

You can’t control whether or not you’ve got the world’s definition of success—you can’t change the way you look or your height or your gifts.  But you do have control over where your heart is and who are following.  If your heart is to love God and to serve him, then God will use you! 

David connects with God and he is filled with the Spirit.  We are the same way—when we connect with God, we too are filled with the Spirit.  The way we connect with God to believe in Jesus.  He is the presence of God on earth. 

Every time we renew our faith, the Holy Spirit “comes upon us”(v13).  This is important.  Sometimes you hear this and think “well, it doesn’t feel like the Holy Spirit rushed on me.”   

David is first named after he’s anointed.  Our identity comes from God’s Spirit.  David wasn’t really David until he had the Holy Spirit.  You aren’t really you until you have the Holy Spirit.  You’re not all that you could be until you connect with God and experience life with him.   

David is a shepherd.  Both kings of Israel were shepherds before they were kings.  This is a good skill set for a leader. 

SHARING:  DT—We’d like to see people connect to Christ this year in the areas of Homelessness, East Village, and the Gay and Lesbian community.   
UT—We’d like to see people connect to Christ this year in the areas of Non-Christians coming to our services, in Church Life, and the LGBT community.  We want to have a time of sharing on this subject of Connecting to Christ and his Spirit. 

  1. DEVELOP:  David DEVELOPS in Maturity to live in the disparity between promise and reality (v14-20) 

Ironically, he is elected by Saul himself to come to the court.  Faith would see this as God putting him in place to take over.    You can imagine David’s trip to Saul’s court, visions of people praising him, throwing down palm branches before him.  But he gets there and he’s not the king.  He has to serve the king he’s going to replace. 

Probably tempted to think—wait, this is my job now!  God, you promised me I’d be the king!  I have to wait?  Livign in the gap between promise and reality.  Isn’t this our life so often? 

The gap between promise and reality is an opportunity/designed for maturity. 

David must endure the amazing trial of being anointed but not enthroned.  He has the promise, but must sacrifice his right until God puts him on the throne.   

No sooner does the Spirit touch David than he is catapulted into the disparity—the gap between promise and reality.  David honors the existing king.  Does not try to undermine him.  

    SHARE—this year we’d like to roll out a plan for discipleship to help us grow in the same ways, we’d also like to see DT:  community deepen and our sense of belonging stronger. 
    UT:  us disciple our children and parents, and grow our community groups.

  1. RELEASE:  While in the disparity, David is RELEASED to serve and bless the city by the power of the Spirit (v21-23)

Saul is feeling the effects  of life without God.  Saul rejects God.  God allows Saul to leave him.  Saul experiences the loss of relationship with God.  God sends harmful spirit to show Saul what life will look like lived apart from him. 

Some think here this is some kind of demon, but it doesn’t have to be.  This word can also be defined as a “frame of mind.”  It’s used to describe “a spirit of jealousy,” “a spirit of deep sleep”(Is 29:10), “a spirit of wisdom”(Is 11:2), “a spirit of grace”(Zach 12:10). 

To live without God  never leads to happiness.  God built life to be lived in relationship with him. 

God also provides relief.  He sends David, whose music calms ad soothes Saul’s psyche (v23).  

David doesn’t just make him feel better, but David also is a call to Saul to return to God.  David is a constant, living reminder to Saul to come back to his relationship with God.   

I got an MRI this week.  I thought I could get through it without their head phones, but the noise was just so loud, it was unbearable.  After a few minutes of enduring the noise without the headphones, I told them I was wrong and asked to have them.   

Saul’s life is going down fast.  The noise is getting so loud that he is beginning to lose control.  All he has to do is ask to be taken out.  To come back to the God and admit he was wrong.  God would take him back.  God will take you back too.   

David has been released into the city—into the very court of the king—not to immediately take over, but to be a blessing to Saul, to be a presence from God to return to him.  David will show Saul the path back to a relationship with God.

So he’ll keep Israel from falling apart too.  This looks forward to what lies ahead. 

This is God’s call for his people—to be a blessing to the city

God anoints us for the same thing—to be able to serve the city 

SHARE:  Faith and Work, REST, Mercy Ministry 


We all live in the gap, the disparity between promise and reality.  Please know that when I say that God asks us to live in the gap, to say yes to the gap, that I’m not taking lightly what I’m asking you to do.  I know that for some of you, living in the gap means dealing with incredible pain and suffering—broken relationships, broken homes and health, and broken situations.   

We can do this, we can live in the gap because someone has entered the gap for us.  There is no greater gap in life than the gap between heaven and earth.  The gap that has separated us from God is ultimately what has separated heaven from earth.  And this story of David points to the one who came to bridge that gap.  David points us forward to Jesus Christ, who was chosen to be God’s greater anointed king.  Jesus, being God himself, came down to earth to stand in the gap for us—the gap between our lives as they should be and our lives as they really are.  He came to earth not to rule with a rod of iron, but to serve us and love us and show us the way back to God.   

He served us to the point of death—even the death of the cross.  It was the cross that reached up to heaven and pulled it down to earth.  The cross brought heaven close enough so that we can see it, feel it in our hearts, even sense it.  But it’s still not close enough that we can get there on our own by jumping high enough.  To get there we all need to climb up the cross.  We all have to come to Jesus.   

We can develop in gospel maturity, we can be released to serve the city to close the disparity.  When we come to Jesus, we receive his forgiveness, and then his Spirit to bring more of the promise into reality.

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