Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Story of the Shepherd King


I was recently blessed with the opportunity to attend a Casting Crowns concert in my area (they're a great band; one of my favorites). The lead singer, Mark Hall, said some things that really got me to thinking. In his songs Voice of Truth and Dream For You, he talks about everyone's favorite little shepherd boy.
David, son of Jesse.
Now, if you've spent any time in church, especially as a child, you know the story of David. But you know what? Just in case you don't know, I think I'll tell it anyway. It's a really great story.
~~~
David was, as I said before, a shepherd boy. He watched sheep all day. Alone. In a field.
He sat out there, watched His father's sheep, and sang to His God.
Now, in 1 Samuel 16, we see Samuel (the prophet) coming to the house of Jesse, Samuel's father. Samuel's going to anoint Israel a new king, after God had taken his hand away from Saul. Jesse brings out his sons.
Now Samuel sees the first one. He's a good looking, strong fellow. Perhaps this is the king.
"No," God says.
So Jesse shows Samuel six of his other sons. Each time, God says no.
Finally, Jesse goes to get David from the field and brings him before Samuel. David is the youngest.
Samuel sees that he is indeed a fine boy.
"That's the one," God says.
Samuel anoints him.
This is how we meet the future king of Israel.
Now, here's the story we all know.
In 1 Samuel 17, the Israelites, under their king Saul, are at war with the Philistines.
They pitch their tents across from this other army, ready to get down to business and fight.
Except one thing.
They've got a giant.
Goliath was his name, and this guy was huge. Over nine feet tall.
The Israelites weren't feeling so brave anymore.
Now Goliath looks down on all these little men and starts calling out for someone, anyone to challenge him. "Kill me, and the Philistines will be your servants," he says. No more war. Just a straight up fight between a man and a giant.
How many Israelites took this fellow up on his generous offer?
None.
Saul and all his men were terrified.
For forty days this giant challenged the armies of Israel.
Nothing.
The king even started offering rewards to anyone who would get out there and fight this guy.

Finally, we get a taker.
Anyone remember that little shepherd/harp player/future king?
He had come to see his brothers and heard the giant's taunting.
And David gets it. "Are you going to let this man defy the armies of God?"
David's older brother told him off. "You're not big enough, You're not strong enough. You're just a child."
"Can't I even speak?" David replies. So he goes to see the king.

Fast forward.
Look out on the battle plain.
You see a little Israelite boy, no armor, no proper weapons. Just a sling and five stones.
And you see a giant. Big, overwhelming, shouting, with the best armor and weapons he could get.
Look closer at the boy.
Go ahead, look.
You don't see anything?
Let me tell you, the Living God has got his back.
This is a very, very unfair match.
For the giant.
Now, he doesn't know this.
He taunts the boy. "Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?"
David stands his ground, tightens his grip on his sling, at tells the giant exactly what's going to happen.
The giant comes closer, enraged.
And there goes David, running towards his adversary. He reaches into his bag and pulls out one of the stones. Just like he had done so many times while protecting his father's flock, he loads the sling and whirls it around, letting it fly at the perfect moment.
Look now.
We've got a victorious king and a dead giant.
~~~
Now, there's much more to the story of David than just these two small pieces I've shared with you. There's triumphs and there's failures, but always God is faithful. Truly, God worked something amazing in David's life.
Do you think he ever dreamed it?
Do you think he woke up one morning, thinking "Yup. One day, I'm gonna kill a giant."
"One day I'll be king over all Israel."
"Thousands of years from now people will still be singing my songs."
I don't think he did.
But isn't that the wonder of it?
Our God takes us, when we give our all to Him, and makes us so much more than we could ever dream.
This story isn't about the Shepherd king.
It's about the God of the universe.
It's about God's faithfulness if we will only trust Him.