Out on the hills with God, a canopy of stars by night, a flock of sheep by day – that is how the future king of Israel spent his time. It was not the first time or the last that God chose to shape a leader in a place of obscurity. He learned to love the God of all creation and touch His heart in worship and song. He learned to valiantly protect the flock in his care from dangerous predators. He seemed far from the throne, unaware of the plans that were awaiting him just over the horizon. His life was so obscure that no one even bothered to send for him when the prophet Samuel, revered in the city, arrived to see his seven brothers. Samuel was a man of God who looked at the heart so when David, the youngest, finally arrived he knew he was the one he was supposed to anoint as king.
David was about to face mighty challenges and enemies, but the presence of God, the encouragement of a trusted friend, and the guidance and correction of godly mentors saw him through. Maybe you will find some parallels in your own life.
The known enemy
“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26)
Goliath was the giant, taunting, quintessential enemy. The goal was clear: the enemy had to be annihilated, not placated. Spiritually speaking, we have to confidently and decisively deal with the enemies that can distract us and get us off course. Unfortunately, our enemies are sometimes subtle and enticing. Our old sinful ways are not a warm blanket of comfort, but enemies that will hold us in invisible prisons if we do not ruthlessly deal with them. Like David, we can win because God is with us.
“When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle. ‘Now what have I done?’ said David. ‘Can’t I even speak?’” (1 Samuel 17:28-29)
David’s brother treated him with condescension and anger. He also had to flee from the wrath of King Saul, who tried to have him killed, while keeping a right heart. One of the greatest difficulties for Christians can be dealing with unexpected conflict from family or people of influence in our lives when we choose to serve God. Sometimes we can face opposition when we are doing the right thing, but the goal every time is to keep our hearts and attitudes right toward others.
The trusted friend
Jonathan, the son of Saul, loved David as much as his own life and protected him from the wrath of his father. His friendship was a source of encouragement and strength to David. Do you have friends like that in your life? If you do, value them like gold. Take time to tell them how much you appreciate them. We grow in relationship, not in isolation.
Samuel anointed David as king and protected him from Saul. Later in David’s life, the prophet Nathan corrected David for his sin. Godly mentors are important in our lives because they help us walk into all of the plans that God has for us. They are also willing to correct us when necessary. We need these kinds of relationships, even if we sometimes have to seek them out.