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A Nobody Nobody Noticed | 1 Samuel 16:1-13


A Nobody Nobody Noticed | 1 Samuel 16:1-13

A few years ago an organization sent out an advertisement to climbers who were interested in setting a new record for climbing the highest point in each of the 50 states within a 100 day period.

A young man named Todd Huston saw the ad and decided that he wanted to try and break the record. Seeking the advice of expert climbers, Todd began to train every day.

The expedition was to begin on April 1, 1994. Everything was on track for the big event up until February.

It was then that the sponsoring organization called Todd and everyone else telling them that the funding for the expedition had fallen through.

The project was cancelled and Todd was devastated. His hopes and dreams, his hard work and effort were apparently wasted. But Todd was so committed, he went to work the next to secure new funding.

He told himself and all of his supporters, “God willing, I’ll find a way to make this happen.” His drive to succeed began to pay off and the money began to pour in.

He called his new project, “Summit America” and on June 1, 1994, Todd’s first climb, Mt. Mckinley, in Alaska began.

One by one the highest point in each state was conquered. All was going well until the 47th climb.

Two days before Todd’s arrival in Oregon, two climbers were killed on Mount Hood.

Everyone advised Todd to forget it, the climb was too dangerous. Todd refused to give in, called a friend to climb with him and soon found himself standing on the summit of mighty mount Hood.

On August 7, 1994, just 66 days after he started, Todd climbed the last peak in Hawaii. His expedition shattered the old climbing record by a whopping 35 days.

But there is one more thing you should know about Todd Huston. One minor detail that made him an unlikely climber.

Thirteen years before Summit American, Todd Huston had his right leg amputated after a boating accident.

But because of his incredible faith in God and a heart full of courage, Todd, a most unlikely climber of mountains, became a champion mountaineer.

Sometimes, the most unlikely ones are able, like Todd to accomplish unlikely feats, achieve the most unlikely goals or fulfill the most unlikely roles.

No one can judge what is in a person’s heart just by looking at them. Those who often appear unpromising are the very nobodies who go on to realize their dreams. For example:

When he was an undergraduate at Princeton University, Malcolm Forbes Sr, the late editor in chief of Forbes Magazine, failed to make the staff of the school newspaper.

In 1944, a young woman named Norma Jean Baker wanted to become a model. But Emmeline Snively, the director of the Blue Book Modeling Agency told her to learn to be a secretary or get married.

Norma Jean didn’t give up on her dream. She went on to become Marilyn Monroe.

History is filled with unlikely characters who overcame many obstacles to fulfill their dreams. Most of the nobodies who go on to grand accomplishments eventually reveal the secret to their triumph:

An indomitable spirit; a determined will; an unwavering heart. Helen Keller once said, “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched but are felt in the heart.”

Today, I am beginning a new sermon series on the life of David and oh what a life it is. In our Scripture Lesson the prophet Samuel was sent by God to anoint a new king.

Samuel was broken hearted. He had wished fervently that the first king, Saul would serve God and be king for many years. But Saul had failed miserably. Listen to the words from the previous chapter:

“The word of the Lord came to Samuel, ‘I regret that I made Saul King, for he has turned his back from following me and has not carried out my commands.”

 Samuel was devastated. The people had demanded a king. The choice had been made. Saul was the perfect candidate as he literally stood head and shoulders above any other man in Israel.

He was the most likely one to be king yet in the end he failed to be a good king. Samuel was instructed by God to set out to Bethlehem with a horn full of oil to anoint a new king from among the sons of Jesse.

As Samuel arrives in the city, he invites Jesse, his household and the Elders of the city to come together in a sacrifice to the Lord.

And in the midst of this act of worship, Jesse’s sons began to parade in front of Samuel much like a model would walk up and down a catwalk.

Jesse’s sons began one by one to walk past Samuel. Samuel listened for God’s instructions as to who was the one.

The first son was Eliab and Samuel muttered to himself, “Surely this must be the next king. He had the build, the looks and the presence. Surely this is the one. This is the new king.”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his outward appearance or his stature for I have rejected him. The Lord does not see as humans see; they focus on the outward appearances, but I look on the heart.”

 You see, it’s not so much how other people see us or size us up that’s important. It’s not even how we see ourselves, either our capabilities or our limitations.

It’s what’s deep within our inner most, truest self—our heart, that’s what God sees. Friends, what is the state of your heart?

Samuel probably looked at Eliab a second time and perhaps a third time and said, “God, are you are sure this isn’t the one?”  Eliab was the most likely candidate but not God’s chosen.

The next son is Abinadab and I’m sure Samuel said, “Wow, this is the next Kobe Bryant. He’s got it all. But God said, that’s not the one.

One by one Jesse’s sons were summoned to pass by Samuel. And with each one, Samuel just knew the right one was standing before he and God.

In the end, each son was rejected by God. Out of all the likely candidates to be king, not one was chosen.  Samuel must have been exhausted. He must have thought that God was being a bit too particular but the search continued.

Samuel turns to Jesse and says, “The Lord has not chosen any of them. Are these all your sons?” 

 Jesse said, “Well,… there is one more, the youngest, little David. But he’s just a shepherd. You wouldn’t want to waste your time with him. Little David.”

 I can relate to David. I can remember growing up being known as Little Dan because my cousin who lived a half mile away and was 5 years older was known as Big Dan.

To this day, my family still calls me Little Dan. And you’d think I’d have earned some respect as a minister and Moderator of the Presbytery.

But my most humiliating moment came several years ago when I stopped in to see my 96 year old grandmother in Meadville, Pa. At the time she had a memory that was a bit suspect.

When I walked in the room she looked at me and said, “Who are you?” I said, “I’m your daughter Carol’s third son.”

“Oh”,  she said, “ Carol and Bud!” I said, “That’s right, Carol and Bud.”  “Well,” she said, “What’s your name?”

 And to help her remember I said, “I’m Little (hand motions)…..and she said, “Jack Horner who sat in a corner!!!!”

 Little David. Send for him at once, Samuel said. We will not sit down to eat until he arrives. Finally, they brought in this wiry little fellow with hay seed all in his hair, a young boy with a handsome face and beautiful eyes.

The Lord said to Samuel, “That’s the one! Rise up and anoint him!”  And in disbelief and shock, Samuel takes his flask of oil and anoints the shepherd boy, King of Israel.

From that day forward, David was empowered by the Spirit of God to achieve God’s purposes. The most unlikely one ironically became God’s chosen one.

Friends, in this story I find three practical observations for us as Christians.

First, God’s solutions are often strange and simple so be open. Oftentimes, we try and make God complex and complicated.

And amid all the complications with Saul and the throne, God simply said to Samuel, “Go to Bethlehem to the house of Jesse, I’ve got a simple answer, a young boy with a heart of gold.”

 Sometimes God’s will is carried out by a simple command to follow him. Second, God’s promotions are usually sudden and surprising so be ready.

At the time you least expect it, God will raise you up. God will bring a mate into your life. God will direct you to a new position.

Trust him. Friends, God is always watching us to see if we will be faithful in the little things. David was a faithful Shepherd guarding his sheep like the Secret Service guarding the president.

Friends, are you faithful in the little things or when no one’s looking? If you are then God will lift you up like David to a higher calling so be ready.

Finally, God’s selections are always sovereign and sure so be available. That applies to choosing a mate as well as losing a mate.

It applies to being moved from one place to another even though you believed you’d be there forever.

It also applies to those God appoints to fill the shoes of another.

How easy it is to second guess God’s selections. We need to remind ourselves that God’s selections are sovereign and sure. God is scanning the world looking for faithful people willing to go wherever he sends them.

Friends, are you ready for God’s call? You may not know it but the year 1809 was a very good year. Of course those who were alive that year didn’t know it.

Only history tells the story. Those who were living in 1809 were focused on Napoleon who was marching across Austria like a fire across a Kansas wheat field.

As hamlets, villages and cities fell into his grip, people began to wonder if all the world would someday fall into his hands. However, during that same period of time, thousands of babies were born in Britain and America.

But who cared about babies and bottles and cribs and cradles while Napoleon was marching across Austria.

Well, someone should have cared because in 1809 William Gladstone was born in Liverpool. Alfred Tennyson began his life in Lincolnshire, Oliver Wendell Holmes cried out for the first time in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A few miles away in Boston, Edgar Allan Poe began his brief and tragic sojourn on earth. And in a little log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky, an illiterate laborer and his wife named their newborn son, Abraham Lincoln.

And a baby girl named Christine Smith was born in rural Scotland. She would go on to be an author, missionary and teacher in the tribes of Australia.

The lives of these statesmen, writers and thinkers would mark the genesis of an era. But nobody cared about those nobodies while Napoleon was marching through Austria.

The strange thing is that today history buffs can name only one battle that Napoleon fought in that country.

But there is not a life of a person alive today that has not been touched in some way by the lives of those people I’ve just named.

Friends, if you and I had been Jews living in the year 1020 BC the same could have been said of us. All of our attention would have been focused on a big man named Saul, the first king of Israel.

He was taking the country by storm. Meanwhile, a nobody was keeping the sheep for his father on the Judaen hillsides near the hamlet of Bethlehem.

A young boy named David whom nobody noticed…..nobody except God. Amen



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Pastor Daniel writes and posts a weekly newsletter that keeps members and friends of the congregation up-to-date. His earlier newsletters are also online, so if you missed something, check those past editions.

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