The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ And invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.” Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. (1 Samuel 16:1-5)
1. Saul stands in for the old Adam, our sinful flesh. We want our old self to reign over us, like a king, but God has rejected the old Adam. He has replaced him with the new Adam, Jesus Christ.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:12-14)
2. We are to go to Bethlehem to find our new Adam. God has provided us with a new king, a king of righteousness, there.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)
3. Our sin, our old Adam, will attempt with all its might to keep us from turning to and serving the new Adam. Our flesh will war against our spirit. The evil in us will attempt to destroy the good that Christ is working there.
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. (Matthew 2:16)
4. To crucify the flesh and turn from our sins toward the one who saved us is to be imitators of God, as beloved children. We walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
The whole Bible, old and new testaments, screams at us, "be reconciled to God." Reject Saul, the old Adam, the flesh. Travel to Bethlehem, find the new Adam, Christ. Resist temptation. Be obedient. Offer up yourselves as a living sacrifice to the God who made you. The Father draws us to Bethlehem. The Son meets us. The Spirit breaks us. Repent. Be forgiven.