1 Sam 16: 17-23
So Saul said to his attendants, ‘Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.’
One of the servants answered, ‘I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the Lord is with him.’
Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, ‘Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.’ So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.
David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armour-bearers. Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, ‘Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.’
Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
I remember in the months leading up to the birth of our little boy, we spent so much time getting prepared for his imminent arrival. Between buying prams, cots, nappies, clothes and other things that I had no idea the purpose of – the most important thing seemed to be that 'the bag' was packed. I'd never heard of 'the bag' before everyone started asking, "Is the bag packed?" This, apparently, was the bag which contained everything my wife would need to bring to the hospital once she went into labour.
When something is about to be birthed there’s preparation, there’s gestation. You don’t get pregnant on Monday and have the baby on Tuesday. There’s time for it to grow and develop into it’s fullness.
It’s the same in God’s Kingdom. He plants something in us – a dream, a prophetic word, a calling for the future - but then He gives it time to grow, to gestate, so that when it’s fully birthed it’s able to survive and be sustained.
We see this with David. We’ve already said that even after David was anointed to be King, Saul continued to reign on the throne for almost 20 more years. What do you think David did during this time?
Well, the first thing he did was go back and keep looking after his dad’s sheep. We read that in verse 19. When Saul sends for David, where is he? He’s with the sheep. He returned to the ordinary mundaneness of everyday life. Can you imagine how difficult that must have been? You’re going to be King – but not yet – so go back to being a nobody again.
One thing I have discovered is that God is never in as big a hurry as I am. God is never in a rush. He is always more concerned with who you are than with what you do. He cares more about your heart than your hands. God will take as long as He needs.
And so David is anointed as King – but first of all God has to prepare David for all that lies ahead.
There’s always a season of preparation. In fact I would say that God is always preparing us for something. In God’s Kingdom there’s no such thing as an overnight success. There’s always a process, there’s always a period of preparation, where God works in your life backstage before He brings you out in front of the curtain.
Where do we see this in David’s life?
First of all, David was a shepherd – he looked after his father’s sheep. But one day he would move from shepherding sheep to shepherding God’s people.
Sheep are stubborn, they are stupid and they get themselves into all sorts of messes – they just wander off and get lost. Just like people do. God’s people keep wandering away from Him, keep getting into a mess. And David as King would seek to look after them and guide them.
As a shepherd David also had to protect the sheep from lions and bears – he had to be brave and learn how to fight. As King of Israel, David would have to protect God’s people, He would have to lead the army and show courage against Israel’s enemies. We see that in the next chapter when he goes and faces Goliath. He says, "The same God who looked after me against the bear and the lion, will look after me now."
So God prepared David in his role as a shepherd looking after sheep.
But he also prepared him in the gifts and abilities He had given David with music.
For years David had sat on the hillside playing his harp and singing to God. He probably thought it was no big deal. It’s just a harp. No one hardly ever heard him, but day by he kept practising and kept getting better and better. Little did he know that it was this musical ability that would bring him to the palace.
God is at work on your behalf, in places and at times that you may never know about. God is sovereign, nothing or no one is outside of His control – if He has something He wants done He will move things to make it happen. And He wants young David in the palace so He can see what a King does.
On a side note: David’s reputation was obviously greater than he thought it was. More people had noticed him than he realised. That could well be true for you today.
God has put some things in your life that right now to you may seem like no big deal – but one day God will use those things as part of His purposes and plans.
Nothing is wasted with God. The gifts and abilities you have, the experiences you have had, even pain and heartache you have gone through, the mundane and seemingly unimportant things of your life, the people you have met, the places you have been – none of it is wasted with God. Nothing is too ordinary. God can use them all. Let me say – even the messes you have got yourself into – God can even use those things.
As David sat on the hillside with his sheep, he carried only two things with him – his sling and his harp – two very ordinary, simple things – but little did he know that it would be these two very things that God would use to move him towards the throne.
You may look at your life and think:
I’m just a.....Student / Mum / Housewife / Factory worker / 18 year old / Grandfather or Grandmother / Widow.
You may think:
- I’m not really gifted.
- I’m so ordinary.
- I’m not talented.
- I have nothing much to offer anyone.
Let me tell you – whoever you are and whatever you have – God can take it and use it for His glory. Like I said – that even includes your pain. In fact it is often in the areas of suffering or pain that God uses most. Don’t discount anything – don’t write anything off. God wastes nothing.
God has more ahead for you. He has places He wants to use you and lives He wants to touch through you.
There’s no unemployment or early retirement in the Kingdom of God. If you are breathing God has purposes and plans for your life.
There’s some of us who have promises from God, who have maybe received prophetic words about what God has planned for our future. I heard one pastor say it this way: When God gives you a promise He goes into your future, sees who you can be, and comes back to the present and gives you a word to help you get there. I love that. God sees who we can be in the future and he gives us prophecies and promises to spur us on and help us get there. I have prophecies I received 25 years ago which I’m waiting to see come into fulfilment.
So what about now? What do we do in the in between time between God giving us the promise and it actually coming to fulfilment?
We do what David did- we get on with whatever is in front of us and we are faithful in whatever God has given us to do today.
It may seem ordinary, boring and mundane – but God is using it in preparation for other things in the future. He is using it to form depth and character and integrity and faithfulness into your life.
That’s what David did – He’s anointed King, but goes back to looking after the sheep, he goes back to playing his harp – and when the time is right – God sends people to find David to move him into the next stage of his destiny.
As it says in Prov 18:16:
“A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great.”
David didn’t have to advertise, he didn’t have to shout about what he could do, he didn’t have to manipulate and cajole. He just had to be faithful in what was in front of him – and when the time was right – God found him and moved him on.
Nothing is wasted with God. What you’re doing at the minute in life may seem mundane, it may seem unimportant, it may seem unappreciated. But remember what God says: He doesn’t look at the things that man looks at. We look at the outside but God looks much deeper. Like David, that ordinary everyday life you are living may one day be seen as much more important than you ever realised.