Today’s Reading: 1 Samuel 16-17
The search for a new king began for Samuel. The Lord sent him to Jesse, telling Samuel that He had selected one of Jesse’s eight sons to be the next king. Taking one look at the oldest son, Samuel immediately thought Eliab would be the Lord’s anointed.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
One by one, Jesse’s sons stood before Samuel and, one by one, Samuel said, “This is not the one the Lord has chosen” (16:8). Jesse finally sent for his youngest son who was out in the fields watching the sheep and goats. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes.
And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.” So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. – 1 Samuel 16:12b-13
I love the humble servant attitude with which David started out his reign. He had just been anointed King and, although God saw his heart, everyone around him continued to define him by his age, appearance and past. Instead of stepping into power, David became the harp player for King Saul. When told about David’s musical talent, Saul was also told that David was a brave warrior, a man of war, and had good judgment – that he was a fine-looking young man, and that the Lord was with him (16:18). But Saul only saw a servant who could meet his own needs.
So David went to Saul and began serving him. Saul loved David very much, and David became his armor bearer (1 Samuel 16:21).
Saul was not the only one who did not see David as a brave warrior and a man of war. When David arrived at the battle against the Philistines to deliver supplies, his brother Eliab asked him, “What are you doing around here anyway? What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of?” (1 Samuel 17:28)
As David was talking with his brothers, the Philistine warrior Goliath came out and began taunting the Israelite soldiers, just as he did every day. “Why are you all coming out to fight? I am the Philistine champion, but you are ONLY the servants of Saul…” (17:8b).
Hearing that the reward for killing Goliath was one of the king’s daughters for a wife and the exemption of the winner’s family from paying taxes, David volunteered to fight Goliath. Saul’s reaction was, “Don’t be ridiculous! There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth” (1 Samuel 17: 28, 33).
David could have announced to all of them in that moment that he was the new King of Israel – that he was God’s anointed one. But, instead of informing them of who he was, he pointed out to them who God is!
“I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats. When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” (17:34-37a).
Seeing the small shepherd boy coming his way, Goliath sneered in contempt saying, “Am I a dog that you come at me with a stick?…Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” (1 Samuel 18:43-44)
David confidently informed Goliath of his own future. “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies – the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!” (17:45-47).
It will help me today to remember that no matter what I face today or tomorrow, this is the Lord’s battle – not mine. Titles are not important, but a humble servant heart is – a heart willing to do whatever God asks me to do today. And it is important that my head remain focused on who God is and not on who I am or on who others say I am. God defines me – no one else. Because when it comes right down to it, it is not about who I am, but about who He is.
You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress.
In his unfailing love, my God will stand with me.
He will let me look down in triumph on all my enemies…
But as for me, I will sing about your power.
Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love.
For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.
O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. – Psalm 59:9-10, 16-17