AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART
A young shepherd, a fearless warrior, a heart-felt musician, and an ideal king are some of the roles in which David appears in the Bible. There has perhaps been more written in the Bible about David than any other. In general, there are more than sixty accounts of his life in the Old Testament and fifty references to his life in the New Testament. His name appears more than one thousand times in both the Old and New Testament. David has a distinguished and prominent place in Israel's political and military history. But the most famous of his exploits and the rise to his POWER began in his youth at a battle in the Valley of Elah.
His story begins with his birth in the town of Bethlehem in the territory of the tribe of Judah. He was the youngest of eight sons of Jesse. David was a descendent of Boaz and Ruth. His name, David, meant "beloved" and foretold that he would become a man "After God's Own Heart."
"The Lord has sought out for Himself a MAN AFTER HIS OWN HEART, and the Lord has appointed him ruler over His people........."( I Samuel 13: 14)
David spent his early formative years as a shepherd boy. Growing up in a simple way, David was faithful to the tasks of every day life. As a shepherd he spent endless hours of aloneness always alert to predators seeking a meal from one of his flock. It was a constant, monotonous job. No one else appreciated what he did, no one else thanked him for what he did, and no one else probably saw what he did. Many hours of prayful contemplation can take place in this solitude. Certainly one can be drawn closer to God. Perhaps this is how he learned to be a "Man of God." Great accomplishments are born from the perfection of very simple tasks. This could certainly have been true of David.
Secretly, as a youth, David was anointed by the judge and prophet Samuel to be King Saul's successor. David was the Lord's choice.
"Then the Lord God said, Rise and anoint him, he is the one. So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power." (I Samuel 16: 12-13)
David was chosen while young, by the Lord to lead the Israelites. He was brought in from the fields tending sheep. The youngest in his family, not the strongest, the most handsome, but the one with the tender heart. The one AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART! Thus, David began his rise to POWER as a youth under God's protection.
The most famous battle in the Old Testament was not between two armies but between two individual people. The battle was in the Valley of Elah, west of Bethlehem. It was between David and Goliath of Gath. It has been long remembered as the Lord championing the weak. David was but a fair countenanced youth who simply believed in his heart that the Lord was all-powerful. His faith would give this young boy such valor!
"Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; 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)
Goliath was intimidating. He stood almost ten feet tall. His armor alone weighed two hundred pounds! Goliath's strength had to be incomprehensible. He had been challenging the Israelite army for forty days without anyone accepting his challenge. The forty-first day of Goliath's entreaty he was accepted for battle. This was the first day in which David entered the camp and the very first time he saw Goliath. He accepted the challenge unhesitatingly. The others had seen Goliath for forty days and were still consumed with fear. David saw him and in an instant resolved in his heart to conquer the giant IN THE NAME OF THE LORD GOD OF HOSTS!
David in his simple garments, a sling, his staff, and five smooth stones from a brook defeated the Philistine giant. He withstood the reasoning of the flesh, refused Saul's armor, and instead put on the breastplate of righteousness and helmet of salvation.
"And David put his hand into his bag and took from it one stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on the forehead, and the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him, but there was no sword in David's hand." (I Samuel 17: 49-50)
God magnified His name through weakness, a sling and stone defeated two hundred pounds of armor. God and His mystical spiritual POWERS were with David. How the earth must have trembled from the fall of such a mighty and fierce warrior as Goliath! While the earth may have shook, we can rest assured that David's faith did not. David had become the real "Giant!"
There are many lessons for the young adult in this story. The first is the humbleness of David. He fought Goliath for God. He did not do it to impress anyone; he did not do it for the Israelite army. He did not do it for his brothers. David did not do it out of anger against Goliath or the Philistine army. David did not do it for himself and his honor. David fought for the Lord only.
The second lesson is to place your trust in the Lord. You do not have to wear someone else's armor. God will EMPOWER us to battle our enemies. Weapons and skills are nothing without faith in the Lord our God. The only Giant in David's life was the Lord. No matter how powerful the giant was, David believed the Lord was all-powerful. If we focus on the odds against us we only represent ourselves not the Lord. Man looks at the face, the Lord God looks at the heart. We need only to allow God's presence in our lives to conquer challenges.
The last lesson to examine is David's diligence. His courage was learned alone before the Almighty. As a shepherd tending sheep alone with nature he had practiced contentment, obscurity, and solitude. His character was established and went unapplauded. He had killed lions and bears. Most likely, David did not boast of his bravery as we only read of it while he is exclaiming His faith in God when King Saul confronted him in connection with fighting Goliath. He probably had not told this to another soul. His life by others standards was uneventful and unexciting. Yet this simple, uncomplicated character led him to battle a giant. While the Israelite army faced Goliath with their own strength producing fear and worry, David faced Goliath with the Living God. One's own strength allows for persistent fear, negative peer pressure, and worries within. God's strength cannot only cause giants to fall but leads to integrity and honor!
There is no confusion in life when the battle belongs to the Lord! Your Goliath is your Goliath. No one else can fight your battles for you. You must learn to trust in God. David brought Goliath down with the first stone. In school, within crowds, or with a single friend always preserve your faith. Reach for your five smooth stones and sling and have confidence in the Lord. David grew up unknown, unseen, and pleasing in the sight of the Lord God. Nothing was more significant to him than the Father. What POWER came from such a young warrior!
As you slay your "Goliaths" I hope to hear your shouts of JOY! May the Lord of Hosts be with you all!