Reflections: Monday of Quinquagesima

Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 16:1-13

Daily Lectionary: Job 31:1-12, 33-40; John 9:24-41

Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. (1 Samuel 16:13)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Lord rejected Saul from being king over Israel. He tells Samuel to stop mourning him. He tells Samuel to anoint David. And the Spirit of the LORD remained on David from that day forward. David commits adultery and murder. Why David and not Saul? Why some and not others?  

It’s part of the song Hannah sings over Samuel when he is still an infant. “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail” (1 Samuel 2:9). It’s in the word “wicked.” Wicked doesn’t mean “naughty.” It means “unbelieving.” David is a sinner, the same as Saul is. Maybe worse. David, when confronted with God’s Word, clung to it in repentance. The Law worked contrition. The Gospel worked hope. Saul, when confronted with God’s Word, ran and turned further inward on himself to avoid it. 

Faith isn’t a measurement of obedience. It’s the gift given by God through the means of hearing His Word. It’s the trust given by the God who makes alive what sin would destroy. David heard the Word, and by the power of the Spirit, clung to it in faith as a sinner redeemed, and was guarded unto eternal life, even from himself. God speaks Law and Gospel to you. Both are good gifts for you to hear. Sinners hear Law and Gospel and say, “Amen.” The wicked close their ears.  

It’s our nature to avoid pain. Which also means it’s in our nature to avoid the sting of the Law. God doesn’t give the Law to reject us, though. He didn’t will Saul’s fall. It’s in our nature to assume that the Law is bad and must come from a bad God. The Law is a good gift from God that interjects and pulls us away from the war we wage against God. He gives us His Law because the parts of us that flee from Him and His promises need to die. Sin needs to be brought to nothing on the Cross. Old Adam needs to drown so that the new man may arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever. Hear and believe that your sins, though many, are blotted out. Jesus has died for you. You are baptized, and in this faith God will guard and keep you forever. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Its light of holiness imparts The knowledge of our sinful hearts That we may see our lost estate And turn from sin before too late. (“The Law of God Is Good and Wise” LSB 579, st.2)

-Rev. Harrison Goodman is content executive for Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Discover new insights from each line of the Psalms in Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer. Read, repeat, and return to the Lord as you walk through all 150 Psalms. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.