Summary: Part one of the "Holding Out for a Hero" series, which examines the life of David and explores the question: "What makes a hero in God’s eyes?"


“Search for the Hero”

As we begin this series on superheroes, I thought it appropriate to examine a recent film that looked at the idea of a superhero in an entertaining and innovative way.

The film is called “Unbreakable,” and it stars Bruce Willis as David Dunn, an seemingly average, everyday guy who, over the course of the film, discovers his not-so-average, not-so-everyday calling.

David Dunn is a hero. Not in the sense of a fireman or a policeman…but a superhero.

“Unbreakable” asks the question, what if superheroes were real? What if someone discovered they had powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men, someone who lived in the real world, not the fictional world of Metropolis or Gotham City.

It’s a fascinating idea.

And it starts…with a train crash. A train crash from which David emerges completely unscathed…the sole survivor.

That train crash sets David on a journey of self-discovery, a journey that changes him from an everyday guy…to a hero.

Until that moment, his life was normal…common…ordinary.

He had marriage difficulties.

He was looking for a new job and a fresh start in life.

He had no reason to suspect that he was any different from anyone else.

He was just another face in the crowd.

Kinda like another David we heard about during our time with the children earlier.

You heard the story as Ann related it to the kids, now I’d like to read it to you as it appears in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel.

(READ 1 Samuel 16)

Picture the scene.

God is looking for someone to be the leader of his people, the king.

So he sends Samuel to a family in Bethlehem of all places, a backwater town in the middle of nowhere.

Still, Samuel goes. After all, God knows what he’s doing, right?

So he comes to the family of a man called Jesse.

And out come seven big, strapping boys. Soldier material. Born leaders, it seems.

Maybe Samuel thinks, “Hmm…God really does know what he’s doing. These guys are incredible!”

He walks up to the oldest son.

Piercing eyes,

Six feet 4

Bulging muscles,

The look of leadership oozing out of every pore…

“This has got to be God’s man!” thinks Samuel.

But just as he’s about to slap the crown on Eliab’s head and call it a day, God speaks to him…

“Hold on, there, Samuel,” God says, “He may look the part, but don’t let that sway you. He’s not the one I’ve chosen, because while you may judge by appearances, I look into a person’s heart.”

And for the other six boys Samuel sees, the story is the same. They may have the looks, but it’s obvious God is looking for something else.

In no time at all, Samuel has checked all seven of them out, but God’s chosen isn’t among them.

So he turns to Jesse.

“This all you got?”

I can see Jesse drawing back, looking sheepish,

“Well…there’s David. My youngest. Nice kid, but well, you know…he’s a kid. He’s out in the fields watching over the sheep.”

Next thing you know Samuel is threatening a hunger strike until David is brought before him.

And the second David shows up, Samuel hears God:

“Yep, that’s him alright.”

Immediately Samuel anoints David’s head with oil, a beautiful and symbolic act that showed he was set apart for special service.

Until that moment, his life was normal…common…ordinary.

He was just another face in the crowd.

But with that act, he begins that journey from being an everyday guy to being…a hero…a king, no less.

You know, in the movies and on TV, it’s usually pretty easy to spot the hero.

He’s the guy in the bright-coloured tights.

The one with Schwarzenegger’s muscles, Stallone’s intensity, 007’s charisma…

But here in the story of David we have a crystal-clear example that, in God’s eyes, all that means, as we say in the States, diddly.

Listen to God’s words to Samuel again:

“The LORD doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions.”

God looked into David’s heart, and saw the qualities he wanted in a leader, a king, a hero for his people.

So just what did he see, anyway?

If God’s criteria is different than the world’s, then what was it in David’s heart that showed God he was the man for the job?

How did God know he would be getting a hero the calibre of James Bond…instead of Austin Powers?

As we look at the person of David, and seek to find out about his “thoughts and intentions,” we’re helped by the simple fact that we know David better, more intimately, than just about any other character in the Old Testament.

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