Our Great Cloud of Witnesses: David
Just about anyone who knows the stories of the Bible knows at least some of the story of David. It’s likely the story of David and Goliath. But as we’ve said before, when we look at biblical characters too often all we see is their successful triumphs and not their abysmal failures. You can read his history in the Bible books of I & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles.
David is known for his successes:
The story of David and Goliath
The greatest King of Israel
Responsible for uniting Judah and Israel
A man after God’s own heart.
The author of just over half of our psalms (76 of the 150)
He was the small kid in the family
He wasn’t respected by his brothers
He struggled with lust
He committed adultery
He committed murder
We forget what we forget about a lot of biblical characters, they are like us!
When Israel was looking for a King to be like the other nations around them, God gave them exactly what they were looking for. He found a man who was tall, (stood head and shoulders above everyone else), strong, and well…kingly.
You would have thought they would have realized what his heart was like when they were looking for a King and they found him hiding in the baggage.
When Samuel was told to go up to the house of Jesse to annoint a King he went, and we read a little bit about his encounter in .
6 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” 7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
It’s not a surprise that we would think at that someone that is tall, and physically strong, would be a good King - after all, they are supposed to protect us. In those days the King rode out into battle leading their troops. You’d want someone that was imposing and of whom the sight of would cause the enemy to recoil in fear.
David was good looking, ruddy probably meaning he had reddish skin (perhaps from being the fields all day).
He was handsome, and had beautiful eyes.
But good looks are not going to help you win any battle. The story of David and Goliath really is more than the little guy taking on the behemoth. It’s about God.
43 And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
I Sam 17:
That final verse speaks volumes about the type of person David was. It wasn’t about him, it was about God. It wasn’t about his personal desires or dignity, it was about God’s.
To continue in our motif of running a lap wit our great heroes of the Old Testament, what would David say to us for encouragement?
Keep the proper perspective.
David saw Goliath, a man that by all biblical accounts could slam dunk a basketball without his feet ever leaving the ground (think about that!), and his response was very different than those of the Israelite army, including his brothers. They saw Goliath and thought, “I can’t win”; David saw Goliath and said, “I can’t miss!”
David understood that it wasn’t just the nation of Israel Goliath was insulting, it was God himself!
Don’t try to be someone else
Think of all the ways that people tried to have David fit into their mold.
- He wasn’t what Samuel thought to look for in a king,
- his brothers thought of him as the shepherd boy,
- Saul when he heard David was going to fight Goliath tried to get him to do it his way and wear his armor.
When your respond to God’s call remember God is not calling your best imitation of Mother Theresa, or Billy Graham, or Esther, or Saul, or David, God is calling you. God is calling you with all your gifts, talents, skills, achievements, successes, and all your weaknesses, shortfalls, blind spots, and failures. God is calling you.
Remember, others are watching.
When David went out to face Goliath, the Israelite army had been cowering in fear for days. Both the Philistines and the Israelites looked upon Goliath as a foregone conclusion. He would win, and the Israelites would lose. Why else would they draw up for battle day after day, have Goliath taunt the Israelites, and no battle take place?
But when David goes out and gains victory, not only did it change the view of the Philistines, the the Israelites as well.
As you and I face the day to day battle of living in faith, let’s:
Keep the proper perspective - God is in control
Don’t try to be someone else - God has called you.
Remember others are watching - God uses your witness.