What do you think of when you hear about David (the king of Israel, that is, not your buddy Dave)? We might imagine him taking out Goliath, or being king. We may know him from his writings in the Psalms, or for some of his unwise choices. Experienced Bible readers may recognize him as an ancestor of Jesus.
David was a lot of things, and a quick search suggests that you can find him referenced in about 28 books of the Bible. However, we should remember that David didn’t start out as a king (or even a soldier). In fact, he wasn’t even royalty.
Furthermore, I don’t think that he started out even trying to achieve most of the things that we know him for. His job as a shepherd wasn’t the first step of some 5-year plan to move up the ranks as fast as he could. In fact, as the youngest of his brothers, I’m guessing that if David was a shepherd when he was a kid, he was going to be a shepherd for a while. Even when his three oldest brothers went to war, David was still a shepherd (and apparently a delivery boy; see 1 Samuel 17:12-15).
David didn’t stay there, though. God had chosen him out of obscurity, and – as of 2 Samuel 7 – he was in a palace, ruling over a nation. Even David’s enemies had been taken care of, so he didn’t have to keep fighting to retain his throne.
“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture, from tending the flock, and appointed you ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men on earth.
2 Samuel 7:8-9 NIV
At the end of the passage above, God promises to make David’s name great. Some trivia contests will ask people how many U.S. presidents they can name. Let me ask you this: after Solomon’s reign, how many kings of Israel and Judah could you name? If it’s more than 5 or 6, I’m impressed!
The fact is, whether one is in charge of a country, company, or co-op, being a leader is no guarantee that you’ll be famous, and it’s definitely no guarantee that you’ll be well-known in a good way. Yet today millions of people around the world do know who David was. He is respected and taught by the three monotheistic faiths in the world, and people rightly called Jesus the “son of David”.
However, both David’s current situation and his future reputation weren’t achieved on his own. Yes, God selected him for a good reason (after all, David is described as a man after God’s own heart; see 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22), but David’s success was a blessing from God.
To be clear, if your current role seems routine or even boring, I’m not saying that you’ll be always made king (or queen) of God’s people. However, God can do pretty amazing things with ordinary-looking situations, and He can change history through people – like you and me – whose lives may seem fairly normal.
So, if you’re hoping to hit the big time (maybe becoming rich and famous, so much so that generations to come will remember you for being great) there’s a good chance that you’re going to fail! However, if you are hoping to do exactly what God wants you to do, and become who He made you to be…well, we’ve all got a better chance of that. To get there, though, remember that part of following God’s will is seeking His favor and His plan, even when that means His name becomes famous because of us, rather than our own name.
In any case, though, don’t underestimate God. Maybe we are destined to always do so, since He is more than we can imagine (see Ephesians 3:20-21), but when we tell ourselves (or others) that we’ll never amount to much, that’s kind of a reflection on what we believe He can do. If your best skill is something like fishing, or – like me – you’re really good at loafing around, remember what Jesus did with a few loaves and fishes!
From Sunday School Lesson for June 6, 2021
- The Lookout, June 2021, © 2021 Christian Standard Media.
- Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
- Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete). Matthew Henry. 1706, via BibleGateway.com.