First Thoughts on 1 Samuel 16:1-13 (Narrative Lectionary)

Samuel anoints David, Dura Europos, Syria, 3rd century AD (Public Domain)

In preparing to preach on 1 Samuel 16:1-13 this week, I am stopped in my tracks by a line in verse 1: “Fill your horn with oil and set out.”

It is such a simple command, yet so demanding, and with so much promise. I’m wondering what it would mean for me to fill my horn with oil before I set out every day.

It would mean that I expect to encounter God on my journey.

It would mean that I am prepared to bless the people I meet in the name of God.

It would mean that I am willing to risk upsetting the powers for the sake of participating in God’s work in the world.

It would mean that I am willing to venture outside of comfortable spaces.

It would mean that I will strive to look not on outer appearances, but on the heart.

There is a lot to wrestle with this week, both with this text in particular and with the story of King David more broadly. I don’t know where the Spirit will take the sermon as a whole. But this command from God to Samuel is something that I will hold onto for my own life and ministry. I take it as encouragement to set out every day with a horn full of oil and a commitment to paying attention to God’s leading, wherever it might take me.


You can read the sermon manuscript (or get linked to a podcast version of the sermon) here.

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