Summary: part 2 of series Facing Your Giants, the credit for the idea comes from Max Lucado’s book by the same title. This deals with how God uses those whom we see as unusable. David was the runt of the litter, God used him for great things.
1972 was a bittersweet year for me. I graduated from High School (YAY), I had a good part in the school musical (YAY). I remember these times with great fondness, there were also the bad times. I had tried out for a semi-pro theatre group, I thought I had a great audition and really wowed them with my rendition of “If I were Rich Man.” That evening while sitting at the dinner table, I anxiously awaited the phone call. I expected the call before dinner, after dinner I stared at the phone like a dog at a bone, hoping the casting director would call and tell me I got the part. I sat at the edge of the couch, my friends wanted to go out to the beach, I could not go, I was waiting for that phone call. Late evening, everyone had gone to bed, the phone sat there silent, painfully silent.
In the grand scheme of things, not getting the part in that musical does not seem very big, at that time I could not see the grand scheme, and it was a big deal, many I went to school with tried out for that play, how could I face them and tell them I didn’t get called?
You know the feeling of not getting that call. Not getting that job, not getting the call from a boy or girl you are hoping to go out with, not getting into that school or that club. We have phrases like “left holding the bag,” or “left at the altar,” or “left out in the cold.” How about “he is out taking care of the sheep.” That is what was said about David.
His story did not begin on the battlefield with Goliath, but on the hillsides of Bethlehem watching his father’s sheep as the silver haired prophet of Israel comes down a narrow trail. Samuel is God’s chosen priest, prophet and Judge of Israel. His mother is Hannah, he was mentored by Eli, and when Eli’s son turned from God, Samuel stepped up. When Israel needed spiritual focus, Samuel provided it, and when Israel wanted a king, he anointed Saul.
Tall Saul, Strong Saul, rejected Saul. Saul had gone mad, his heart grows harder, he isn’t the king he used to be, in God’s eyes he isn’t king anymore. READ 1 Sam 16:1
Israel in 1000 B.C. is in a bad way. Joshua and Moses are history class heroes. Israel has gone through about 3000 years of spiritual winter, the faith of the people has frozen. “In those days Israel had no king and everyone did as he saw fit.”
Corruption fueled disruption, immorality sired brutality, the people wanted a king and instead of saving the ship, Saul sunk it. The Philistines were warring, bloodthirsty giant breeding people who monopolized iron and blacksmithing. They were grizzlies and the Israelites were salmons. In fact Israel had two swords, one owned by Saul and the other owned by his son Jonathan. Corruption from within, danger from without, Saul was weak, the nation was weaker. What would God do? He did what no one ever imagined. He issued a surprise invitation to the “nobody” from “nowheresville.”
Sometimes this happens in the church. There is dissention within, anger without, and the people cry out for a new preacher. He just doesn’t inspire me anymore, his ways are old news, or he tries to change our traditions too much, lets get rid of him and get a new one, after all they are a dime a dozen.
God sends Samuel to Redeye, Minnesota, maybe Sawgrass, Mississippi, no? Maybe Paw Paw WV? Well Bethlehem in that day equaled the Red Eye, Sawgrass, Paw Paw’s of the world. Bethlehem was a sleepy village in the foothills of Israel. Bethlehem sits about 2000 feet above the Med, looking down on gentle green hills that flatten out for pasture outside of Jerusalem. Jesus issued first cry beneath the Bethlehem sky. About a thousand years before there would be a special babe in a manger, Samuel, pulling heifer along enters the village.
His visit turns heads, prophets don’t normally come to Bethlehem. He arrives at the house of Jesse. Who is Jesse’s grandmother? Who was Jesse’s great grandmother?
What happens next is like the Westminister Kennel Club. Samuel examines each of the sons of Jesse like the judges at the Kennel Club examined the dogs. More than once Samuel is ready to award the blue ribbon, but God stops him. Sometimes churches go through this when looking for a new preacher, they line them up, give them the once over, like they were buying a car.
Eliab, the oldest, logical choice, village cassanova, wavy hair, strong features, piano keyed smile. WRONG
ABinadab, GQ model, Italian suit, alligator skinned shoes, jet-black oiled hair, classy king with all the bling-bling. WRONG