Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Heroes of Faith - David - Part 1

The story of David one of the favourites for young boys, it tells the story of how a Shepard boy gets anointed king, slays a giant, plays the harp for his king, gets chased by his king in an attempt to get rid of him, develops a group of followers behind him, becomes king, then sees his family try to kill him. It’s the story of one of the greatest men of the bible, it tells of his strengths, faults, failings and how he honours God through his life. This series looks at David from my standing point, what I’ve learned from this man of faith, from the story of the bible that talks about him and how he related to those around him and to God.

The Underdog
We first meet David in Samuel 16 and this is the focus of this study.

Samuel has been called by God to go and anoint a new king to take leadership in Israel. This is because the king who he had anointed, Saul, had turned his back on God. Saul had started off strong, God had shown that he was his chosen in a series of signs (Read 1 Samuel 9 for the whole of this story), all he needed to do was follow God and honour him, but he had failed to follow Gods commands. But Saul fails to do so, Instead of waiting for Samuel at the battlefield, he made a burned offering up to God. Rather than waiting and following the command of Gods prophet and the desires of God, he gave up an offering to God out of his own will. The punishment was that he would lose control of Israel and his kingdom would not be established for all time.

So this and other actions would seal Saul’s fate, Saul’s faith in God was weak, he never trusted in God, he cared more about what others thought about him, than the fact that God had chosen him for the task of leading Israel, Gods people.

So Saul is rejected and Samuel goes on a search for a new leader, he is sent to the town of Bethlehem to Jesse by God. So Samuel goes to Bethlehem to the house of Jesse. Now Jesse lays out seven of his sons in front of Samuel and Samuel goes from oldest to youngest. The oldest Eliab is a strong strapping handsome lad and Samuel thinks to himself “surely this is Gods choice”, God, always the being of bluntness returns a reply “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things that man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart”

The same thing happens for the six other sons, Samuel is confused, a little bit disenchanted and wondering whether God is playing a game. He then clicks and thinks outside the box, he asks “are these all of your sons?

No there is one other, the youngest, David.

Samuel asks for him to be brought. David comes, he is only a boy, the youngest of the family, not the pick for King?

Then the LORD says “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.”

So God chooses the underdog, the youngest of a large family, David, who was not even invited to the first inspection.

This is something that God seems to be into doing, choosing someone to do his work who seems to be the least choice or the most undesirable choice the one who is too young (David and Timothy), exiled slaves (Daniel), a prostitute (Rahab), a fugitive (Moses) a concubine of a king (Esther), a Murderer of Christs followers (Saul) – Gods choices for those who he uses to do his will on earth are earth shattering, they destroy our preconceptions of who is chosen and why they are chosen, he uses those who are broken damaged vessels. He uses the underdog to do his will, shaping them, changing them and using them for just the right time.

This goes back to an idea earlier in the passage, where God says to Samuel:, “do not consider his appearance or his height… …. The Lord does not look at the things that man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” This will be a point that we come back to further in this series on David. As we go through this journey on David we find that the name he is given by God is the “man after Gods own heart.” God early on sees the potential for greatness in this young boy, a scrawny boy who is that last one picked, but will turn into a great leader and man of God. Why is he a man after Gods own heart. Well in Hebrews 11 it describes that it was by faith that David would become all that he was. David had faith, unlike Saul, in God to shape him into a leader of a nation. David trusted in God, and trusted in the promises of God, he prayed to him and gave God the praise that he deserved. He had a sincere relationship with the God of the heavens, we can see this in the psalms that he wrote to God, he had a depth and understanding of God that I am jealous of. He realised that he was chosen, called to be a man of God, he was Chosen to change the world, chosen to administer justice and rule uprightly over his people, being both a military ruler but a spiritual example for his people.

So as we go through this journey we will try to look at the aspects of what faith is, what it really means have faith in God, what this means, why it changes us, how it changes us and what it means for the meaning of life , our identity, our destiny and our spirituality. We will continue on this journey in a couple of days, within the context of David the Giant killer.

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