He was just a boy, youngest one among eight brothers. He was ruddy with bright eyes & handsome features. He became shepherd boy because his father Jesse had given him a responsibility to keep & tend his sheep. He was tending his father’s sheep wholeheartedly by taking them to green pastures & besides still waters with his rod & staff. As being a shepherd, he experienced about the Lord that He is the shepherd of His people & wrote Psalm 23. And his name was David.
The great prophet of Israel, Samuel invited his father & sons for a sacrifice. The main reason of invitation was to choose the King over Israel from the sons of Jesse as per God’s commandment. Perhaps, his father thought that let David keep his livestock because there will be no need of a ruddy small boy over there. In ancient societies, and even today in remote areas, the weakest members of a family are often the ones assigned to care for the sheep. The shepherds were those who lacked the strength or skill. So Jesse took only seven elder sons of strong physical stature. I think, it was hurting to the little heart of that small & delicate shepherd boy & that might be the reason in one of his Psalm he wrote, “Though my father and mother forsake me, but the Lord will receive me.” (27:10)
I remember well, once Stanly Nelson spoke in Oct. 2nd seminar that, God saw a MAN after His own heart in that small ruddy BOY, who was taking care of his father’s sheep so well to the extent of killing lion & bear to deliver a lamb out of their mouth, so he will take care of His people also. That is the reason when Samuel thought that Eliab the eldest son was surely Lord’s anointed one by looking his strong physic, God said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7. Likewise, Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.”
God exalted David: – When Samuel came to know from Jesse about his youngest son David keeping the sheep, he said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. FOR WE WILL NOT SIT DOWN TILL HE COMES HERE.” The one to whom was not given importance by his own family, God made them wait till he comes. 1 Samuel 16:12,13 It is written that when Lord revealed His chosen one to Samuel, he anointed David with oil in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him from that day forward. Samuel’s selection of David must have shocked & upset them all.
Though it is not written in the Bible who wrote Psalm 92, but by reading, it seems that David has written this Psalm; for it says in v.10- “But my horn You have exalted like a wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil”.
But still Saul was ruling over Israel.
Shepherd to armour-bearer: – After that, David became an armour-bearer of Saul; because an evil spirit tormented Saul, he needed someone who plays well. When he came to know about David from his servant, Saul sent messengers to Jesse to send David. 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 evil spirit 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. (1 Samuel 16:14 to 23)
After becoming an armour-bearer of Saul, David occasionally went to Saul and then returned to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem & humbly obeyed his father even in doing odd jobs. When Jesse asked him to take food for his three elder brothers, who had gone to follow Saul for battle, David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took the things and went as Jesse had commanded him. (1 Sam.17:17, 18, 20) There he came to know about Philistine champion Goliath, so he inquired about him to the men who stood by him.(v.26) But Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” (v.28) Was David careless about his father’s sheep or was he proud or was there any evil thought in his heart? But here we can see that his own brother was jealous about David & not happy with him, may be because of his selection as king by Samuel the prophet. But it did not stop David to go further and kill giant Goliath by the name of Lord God of Israel.
Armour-bearer to captain over army: – As per 1 Samuel 18:2 & 5, from that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war (perhaps over his 3 elder brothers also), and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s officers.
But now even Saul got jealous & angry with David when women danced & sang after men returned from the battle: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” Saul was very angry; this displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with ten thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David. (1 Sam.18:6 to 9) Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from him. By getting jealous & angry on David, what happened to Saul? It is written in v.10 The NEXT DAY an evil spirit came FORCEFULLY on Saul….. He tried to kill David. Jealousy led him to attempt murder the one who was giving him relief by playing his lyre. David escaped twice from his presence. But God made David strong as per v.30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David behaved more wisely than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known. As the time passed by, after Saul’s death, Word of God says in 2 Sam.3:1 that now there was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David. But David grew stronger and stronger, and the house of Saul grew weaker and weaker. Saul’s disobedience & jealousy was not confined to him but it had affected his family also.
He was a God seeking man: – Though he was a mighty warrior & great King but he was humble enough to seek the face of the Lord. Before going to a city or attacking the enemies he was inquiring the Lord whether he should go or attack or not & how! (2 Sam.2:1, 5:18 to 25). Even when there was famine for 3 years during his reign, he sought the face of the Lord for the reason of famine. (2 Sam.21:1) He wrote in Psalm 27:4 “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple.” When Nathan told David about God’s plan for him, that God will be his Father and he shall be His son and that God’s mercy shall not depart from him and his throne shall be established forever; then David went in and sat before the Lord; and he said: “Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far? (2 Sam.7:18) Further he thanked God what He had done for him. 1 Peter 5:6 says that, ‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.’
Finally, as per God’s plan & in His timing, David became king to rule over Israel & he reigned forty years. (2 Sam. 5:1 to 5) Neither schemes of men, nor any power snatched away, what God had assigned for Him. God has made his lot secure. God exalted him not only as King over Israel but he came into the genealogy of Jesus, which he might have never imagined in dream also. Though he committed grave sins & faced severe consequences, still he was the man after God’s own heart. In Revelation 22:16 Jesus has mentioned one of His Name that “I am the Root & Offspring of David”. He wrote many Psalms out of his own difficult experiences which are great encouragement for all of us today.
Psalmist Asaph wrote about David in Psalm 78:70 to 72 that, ‘He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of His people Jacob, of Israel His inheritance. And DAVID SHEPHERDED THEM WITH INTEGRITY OF HEART; WITH A SKILLFUL HAND HE LED THEM.’
Anjali J. Benjamin
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