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Have you ever felt under-appreciated and unloved? Have ever felt as though your faithful work has gone largely unnoticed in life? If so, then you’re in good company. David, one of the Bible’s most significant people, felt that way at times. Yet the Bible called him a man after God’s own heart. David wasn’t perfect. He was a man who sinned. But when he sinned, he realized it and repented.
The New Testament mentions David more than anyone else of the Old Testament. Without question, he was the greatest king in Israel’s history. He was fearless in battle. He had great wisdom as a leader – without peer, really. Yet he had a tender heart. He was a poet and a musician. He was a man’s man on one hand, but on the other hand, he was sensitive and had a heart finely attuned to God.
David was in the family line of Jesus. In fact, during Jesus’ public ministry, people called him the “Son of David.” But when we stop and look at David’s origins, we find that he was the most unexpected man ever to ascend the throne.
If ever there was a man after man’s own heart, it was Saul, the first king of Israel. He was tall. He was charismatic. He came from a great family. And he was strikingly handsome. Saul started out well, but then he began to self-destruct. So God rejected Saul from being king and handpicked David as his replacement. It almost seems as though God said to the people of Israel, “All right, you wanted a king? I gave you a man after your own heart. Now it’s my turn. I’m going to show you what I’m looking for in a man.”
Because God’s selection of David was so unexpected, we should pay careful attention. In God’s choosing David, he is showing us what kind of person he is looking for. What kind of person will God use?
God uses ordinary people. Isn’t that good news? David, in many ways, was the very opposite of King Saul. Saul came from a home where he was loved. David, on the other hand, apparently came from a home where he was neglected and even disliked. Saul was the most handsome man in Israel. David was a good-looking guy, too, but he was an ordinary shepherd boy. Saul was attractive on the outside, but inside he was vain, shallow and devoid of true integrity. In contrast, David had a deep spiritual life and an intense devotion to God.
Why does God go out of his way to choose ordinary people to be used by him? Here’s the short answer: so that he can get the glory. If God chose only the most brilliant, the most handsome, the most beautiful and the most talented, we would say, “Of course He would choose them! Just look at them!” God doesn’t necessarily skip people because they are talented or handsome or beautiful, but maybe because they are too proud or don’t make themselves available to him. The apostle Paul had this to say about God’s calling:
“Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.” (1 Corinthians 1:26–28 NLT)
God raises up his own men and his own women to confound the world and show that it is him at work. It is him changing lives. This gives hope to the so-called “ordinary” and often overlooked.
God uses truly spiritual people. These aren’t holier-than-thou types, but genuinely spiritual people. The most spiritual people I have ever met have always been very down to earth. I have also found that the most godly people are also the most fun. They are the most real. They are the most straightforward, honest and quick to admit their own shortcomings. (I think that is a virtue, not a flaw.)
If you want insight into David’s spiritual life, just read his psalms. David was a musician, and a lot of his psalms originally were set to music. We know from his writing that David had a deep hunger for God and a commitment to do what was right. David’s heart was focused, not fickle. He was meditative, yet brave and courageous.
God uses faithful people. David was a faithful man. At the time he was anointed by Samuel to be Israel’s next king, his job was watching sheep. Sheep are not the most interesting animals on the face of the earth to watch. Maybe David was sitting around, watching his sheep, and thinking, They are not the smartest animals, but I love them. They really need me because if I don’t come through for them and defend them, they will be leg of lamb. Maybe he looked around at his flock of sheep and thought, The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. … David didn’t know it, but God was getting him ready. This is how God always works. He preps us. He gets us in shape for what is yet to come. Meanwhile, we need to be faithful with what God has set before us. Then God will show us what to do next.
God uses people who are bold and courageous. There is a time for faithfulness, humility and, of course, the spiritual life. But when doors of opportunity open, they must be seized, and David did that. He was ready to go for it. In fact, he volunteered to face Goliath in battle, and we know the rest of that story.
Know this: Those who are rejected by men often become beloved of God. David was beloved of God. Likewise, you have a Heavenly Father who has always loved you.