Highly Unlikely

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings: 1Samuel 15-16; Luke 10:25-42

“Take a heifer with you,” the Lord replied, “and say, ‘I have come to make a sacrifice to the Lord.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will make clear to you what you should do. You will anoint for me the person I point out to you.”

Samuel did what the Lord instructed. When he came to Bethlehem, the city elders came to meet him. They were shaking with fear. “Do you come in peace?” they asked.

“Yes,” Samuel answered. “I’ve come to make a sacrifice to the Lord. Now make yourselves holy, then come with me to the sacrifice.” Samuel made Jesse and his sons holy and invited them to the sacrifice as well.

When they arrived, Samuel looked at Eliab and thought, That must be the Lord’s anointed right in front.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Have no regard for his appearance or stature, because I haven’t selected him. God doesn’t look at things like humans do. Humans see only what is visible to the eyes, but the Lord sees into the heart.”

Next Jesse called for Abinadab, who presented himself to Samuel, but he said, “The Lord hasn’t chosen this one either.” So Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, “No, the Lord hasn’t chosen this one.” 10 Jesse presented seven of his sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord hasn’t picked any of these.” 11 Then Samuel asked Jesse, “Is that all of your boys?”

“There is still the youngest one,” Jesse answered, “but he’s out keeping the sheep.”

“Send for him,” Samuel told Jesse, “because we can’t proceed until he gets here.”

12 So Jesse sent and brought him in. He was reddish brown, had beautiful eyes, and was good-looking. The Lord said, “That’s the one. Go anoint him.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him right there in front of his brothers. The Lord’s spirit came over David from that point forward.

Then Samuel left and went to Ramah. (1 Samuel 16:2c-13, Common English Bible)

My new car? That car pictured above? Highly unlikely!!! I might dream of such but it just isn’t very likely to happen.

Do you know what else is highly unlikely? The whole scenario laid out above from 1 Samuel.

If you stop and think about it, who among us would have drawn up this plot twist from our lesson today? Our king selection wouldn’t have come from some shepherd family. Shepherds were just about the lowest rung on the Israelite social ladder and yet a king would come from a shepherd family. Even if they were a high brow shepherd family, and there is no indication that such would be the case, but even if they were, they would just be the highest ranking or a very low ranking set of people.

Who would we pick? We would be much more likely to select someone to replace Saul from Saul’s own court. They would have to be someone far more ambitious to come to power than they were loyal to Saul. Still, it could be done.

It could be done but it still presents its own set of problems. If you found someone to replace Saul who craved power over loyalty, they are going to want immediate power. God was willing to wait, God needed to wait. Again, it is timing we most likely wouldn’t choose. After all, Saul has been disobedient. He needs to go. It’s time for him to go. Wait around to see a new king grow up. Well, that’s highly unlikely.

Then there is the place. Who would ever decide to anoint a king in a backwater little town like Bethlehem with no one around? We would probably want to anoint the new king during halftime of the Super Bowl or something. Something with a huge audience present and something with an even larger audience on television. There is a new Sheriff, OK, there is a new King in town and we want the world to know about it.  Highly unlikely.

And on top of all that, there was the exact person Samuel, acting on God’s behalf, chooses. This guy was beyond highly unlikely. His family things him so unlikely, he wasn’t even invited to the party. While everyone is out hoping to be the new king, David is out watching the sheep. After Samuel rejects all the other brothers and asks if there are any more, that young David enters the scene. Highly unlikely.

Instead of a shepherd boy, most of us would have chosen a man. Instead of Bethlehem we would have at least gone to Jerusalem. Instead of a king ready to assume leadership like we would have chosen God picks a king that both he and the Israelites would have to wait to come to power. Highly unlikely.

What we would see as highly unlikely was exactly the course of action God decided to follow. Saul would remain in power for now. God would wait. God would wait for David, Israel’s greatest king to become a man responsible enough to reign over God’s people Israel. Saul hadn’t worked out well. God would see to it, Israel’s second king would be a better choice than the first, even if that would seem highly unlikely.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


Spirita Spiro (Esperanza for "Spirit's Breath) is rather new in my life. But the blog is not. I began writing a blog several years ago. It lived under the title, "The Pastor Ponders." Over the years I have tried several different names and "The Pastor Ponders" always seemed to fit best. I am trying again with Spirita Spiro. For 27 years I was a full-time pastor in the United Methodist Church. This year, August 2018, I semi-retired (I can't actually retire quite yet) and began teaching social studies. It is something I have always wanted to do and if I was going to do this, I needed to make it sooner rather than later. So, I made the move. I thought with the career change there also needed to be a name change to the blog and other things, such as spiritual direction. Spirita Spiro is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 27 years as a full-time United Methodist pastor. Most recently I served as pastor of First United Methodist Church in Sweeny, Texas. I have also served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

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