You see, for many years Israel’s future king was nothing but a lowly shepherd boy who tended his father’s sheep. And with 7 elder brothers, who far surpassed him in stature (and quite possibly looks), I have no doubt David’s ego took a beating more than once. Remember the tongue- lashing one of David’s brothers gave him the day he showed up on the battlefield?
Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle (1 Samuel 17:28).”
From those condescending words, it’s quite obvious there was some major sibling rivalry taking place in the Jessie household, and that fact, alone, would send anyone into seclusion. So it’s no surprise that David spent much of his early years out of the earshot of condescending brothers and instead surrounded himself with sheep and fields. Why sheep? Well, why not? Sheep don’t talk back; you know? Sheep don’t tell you how small you are. Sheep don’t remind you of your place. They simply follow their leader. And David was destined for leadership; he just didn’t know it.
However, isolation proved to be good for David, and he willingly settled into his tiny leadership role. Although a youth, David didn’t leave the sheep alone. Like all good shepherds, he slept right beside them and even walked through the valley of the shadow of death with them. His bare hands valiantly killed a bear and lion who threatened the little sheep he had grown to love. It wasn’t long and David was proving himself to be a good protector of those God had entrusted to him.
The shepherd season was designed by God to mature the future king of Israel, and I believe it was meant to test David's heart. One of my favorite scriptures (and I have many) points this truth out perfectly:
But the Lord said to Samuel. “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him (David’s brother); for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
-I Samuel 16:7
Aren’t you glad that God looked passed who David was and saw what he would become? God has a way of doing things outside what we expect, doesn’t He? David never dreamed that he would be chosen to be Israel’s next king, but that man’s sold out heart caught God’s attention- not his looks, not his position in life, but his heart of all things. Would your heart do the same?
During those obscure days of tending sheep, David’s physical strength soared to new levels, but most importantly his heart became knitted with God's heart. His spiritual stature far exceeded his brothers. And that truth was made evident, when God chose David over his brothers.
Today, if you're honest, maybe you feel like David? Are you in a lonely place? Does it feel like you have no real purpose? Have you accepted your ‘lowly’ station in life? If so, don’t get too comfortable. It may be that, like David, God has something much greater in store for you, you just don’t see it yet. Hold on, God is testing your heart too!
As you read today’s Psalm, I pray you discover this timeless truth:
For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
-2 Chronicles 16:9
If, like David, you are purposeful in making God your one and only passion, then I have no doubt the eyes of the Lord are upon you. And, like David, God will strongly support you- because He holds your heart!
With that in mind, here are my God notes from today's Psalm.
- God is righteous (just, right, ethical, judge, ruler, king)
- God sets apart the faithful (Godly) for Himself
- God hears the prayers of His servants
- God makes His servants live in safety!
My Prayer- Psalm 4
You are righteous, just, ethical, a perfect judge, ruler and king! Today, the world needs to understand this, more than ever. Thank you Lord that I can trust You because You have set me apart for Yourself. And I know that You hear every word I speak to You. While the world is in chaos, I can be at peace because You make me live in safety.