Summary: A message on patience in waiting on God.


1 Samuel 16:1-13

INTRO: He is the second-string quarterback on his junior high football team. She is a housewife who substitutes for teachers at the elementary school down the street. The nurse has her beeper clipped to her blue jeans as she shops for groceries. The vice-president is surrounded by those who protect him as he boards the plane.

Who are they? They are a part of the world of people who are waiting in the wings. They are doing one thing now, but they stand ready to step forward and assume another task if called on.

The writer of 1 Samuel could have entitled the sixteenth chapter of his book “Waiting in the Wings.” In that chapter he revealed to us a discouraged prophet who had begun to think that God’s plan for His people was going to unravel. Saul, the king of Israel, had become so consumed by his own selfish desires that he had made himself useless to God in directing that nation toward its destiny. But God had not finished. He revealed to His prophet that He had people waiting in the wings to carry on His work. David, the shepherd boy, was called to step from the shadows and become His shepherd king. This young man’s experience can teach us some things about those whom God may call from the wings for His service.


When Samuel went to Bethlehem under God’s direction, he knew that the purpose of the trip was to anoint the person God had chosen to be the next king of Israel. When he arrived at the home of Jesse, Samuel saw the outstanding appearance of Eliab, the oldest son of Jesse. Samuel immediately declared, “Surely, the Lord’s anointed is before him” (v. 6). But God quickly reminded Samuel that He was not looking for biceps, bushy hair, or bright eyes. God was looking for a special kind of heart--one which was open and sensitive to Him (v. 7).

Many people have the educational background, the financial expertise, or other abilities to make valuable contributions to some task. Such gifts are indeed important and should be cultivated. Some of us may not have such tangible abilities or the resources for fully developing them. But each of us does have the opportunity to give our hearts to close communion with our Lord. The wisdom and sensitivity to divine direction that can be received only through an intimate relationship with Him is what God often needs most from someone waiting in the wings.


The foundation for our effective use by our Lord in days to come should be laid in the present. Alone on the hillside with the sheep, David nurtured a relationship with God which made him keenly aware of the presence, nature, and high purposes of God. The beautiful twenty-third Psalm is an example of how important his shepherding experiences were in forming his heart for God. When the time came and God needed someone like David to come forth, David was ready. He had prepared himself while he was waiting in the wings.

You and I do not know all the things that God may call on us to do. Some responsibilities may seem insignificant in the eyes of others, but they may have eternal consequences. The calling of David challenges us to always be preparing our hearts so that we will be ready if our Lord calls us to step from the wings into some task.

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