Last week we looked at the part Samuel played within David’s life. He was the tool that God used to anoint David as Israel’s next king. If you haven’t read that post yet, click here.
Nobody saw David anointing coming, literally nobody. Not Samuel, not David himself and not even his own father. Usually your parents see the world in their children – well, it wasn’t quite the case here.
Jesse had shown Samuel each of his sons with great pride, fully expectant for any one of them to be God’s chosen ones. But he forgot about his youngest, David. When Samuel asked if there was anyone else, Jesse seemed confused.
1 Samuel 16:11 – “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.”
In other words, Jesse is saying that David wasn’t even invited to the gathering.
David’s older brothers were the most likely candidates. They were strong and had experience within the military. David was simply a shepherd boy.
What nobody realised was what God hadn’t made him a shepherd boy for any old reason. He was training David in the pastures every single day.
It was through his shepherding days that David learned how to single-handedly defeat predators and protect his flock. It was through spending every day in the quiet fields that he learned about the powerful presence of the Lord.
You know one of the most famous Psalms in the Bible?
Psalm 23:1-4 (Passion Translation) – The Lord is my Best Friend and my Shepherd. I always have more than enough. He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss. That’s where he restore and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure, and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honour to his name. Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace.
David would never have written this Psalm if it wasn’t for the many years he spent as a Shepherd.
2 Samuel 7:8 – “Now then, tell my servant David, ‘this is what the Lord Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel.’”
There was a 20 year gap between his anointing and him actually becoming king. In that time God refined him even more, preparing him for the throne.
He was called to work in Saul’s service, playing the harp to him whenever he had a fearful spell (1 Samuel 16:14-23). People could easily glimpse over this part of David’s life, wondering why God was taking so long with David’s inevitable kingship.
But I don’t think it was a coincidence that he was placed within the king’s palace. I think God specifically positioned him there so that he could be exposed to the nuts and bolts of governing, and to learn the art of leadership before it was his own time to step up.
This was also the time that David wrote songs of praise to God, most of which are now neatly tucked away in the book of Psalms.
It’s so easy to underestimate where we are in life right now. To think that our part-time jobs are meaningless and a waste of time. Or to think that you’re in a dead-end place and there’s no way your future could have anything big in store.
The biggest and best lesson that we can take from David’s life is that God is always purposeful in His positioning. Wherever you are right now with whatever you’re doing is all part of His plan. Don’t underestimate it, even if everyone else is.