Saturday, March 19, 2011

1 Samuel 16-18

These are some of my most favorite stories.  Perhaps it is because his name and mine are the same.  I think that one of the beautiful things about names is that if we tell the stories it gives our children something to live up to.  I think the stories of Hannah, Mary, Sarah, David, Joshua, Levi and so many more are wonderful names that are filled with meaning, but I is the beginning of the story about a man after God's own heart.....a man named David who becomes one of the leading characters of the Old Testament.

God asks Samuel, "how long will you mourn Saul?"  God has chosen another and while there is a time to mourn, there is also a time to pick up and move one.  God has a plan and the moral failure of one man will not keep God from accomplishing his purpose.  Mourn the dead but do not allow your mourning to prevent you from walking faithfully in God's desires for your life.

God sends Samuel to the house of David to anoint this new one that God has preordained to be the King of Israel.  Each of Jesse's sons are presented, they are tall and handsome, strong and well equipped to be regal men, but God does not look on the outward appearance.....he searches the heart, the inward being.  Jesse asks, "is there another?"  And, of course there is.  David, the 8th and youngest, is summoned from the fields where he is shepherding the family flock.  Remember that being a shepherd is a servant's job, but God has used this shepherding experience to prepare David for that which lies ahead.  How many of the psalms do you suppose were formed in David's heart as he cared for the flock?  Certainly the 23rd Psalm that opens with, "the Lord is my Shepherd."  How about the 90th, "O Lord you are my dwelling place." Or 80, "Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel." Or 42 which begins, "as the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs for thee."

Samuel anoints David and the Spirit of the Lord descends upon him.  this is a sign of the Holy Spirit present in David much like the tongues of fire at Pentecost were to the disciples and the descending dove was to Jesus at his baptism.

David's shepherding skills were quite useful in his tussle with Goliath.  Goliath is a descendant from Gad who were descended from the Anakim, a tribe of giants.  The measurements given us indicate that he was over 9 feet tall and that his weapons and armor weighed 150 to 200 pounds.  He was a very large and powerful man and he struck terror in the minds and hearts of the Israelites.  But David knew that this was not a battle between men....this was God's battle and he was fully equipped.  Had been since his days in the wilderness protecting those that had been placed in his charge.  He rejected the armor and weapons of another and used the gifts that God had given him.  That is a good reminder to us, we are each gifted in a variety of ways.  Use your gifts and do not covet those of another.  God has prepared you for such a time as this to do great deeds that will glorify him and cause the kingdom of heaven to come near at hand.  A smooth stone in the sling and a shot that he had made a 1000 times as he protected the sheep and the rest is history.  Goliath fell, the Philistines fled and David becomes a who remains humble and gives glory to God.  Always remember that humility is a mark of the Christian.  "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."  (Proverbs 3:34)

Another thing to remember about this incident is that God has used a young person to bring him honor and glory.  God uses youth.  Be faithful.  Practice your skills.  Honor God in all that you do and he will raise you up and bless you as he blesses others through your faithfulness.

Jonathon and David become great friends, true friends.  There is not jealousy.  They seek to build each other up.  They honor one another and seek the best for one another.  Their relationship is a good model for us about how we are to treat one another. 

God is seeking others, at this very moment, who will serve as his humble servants.  He is seeking those who will be faithful shepherds.  he is seeking those who will be faithful in little places, doing little things that he might prepare them to one day do great things.  Our prayer should be that Faith will be a place where humility, faithfulness and encouragement are practiced in ways that lead others to become the next generation of Davids and Jonathons (don't forget to extrapolate that to mean great women of faith as well.)

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