When David Was Ignored - The Crosswalk Devotional - July 28

There is never a moment where God is not at work at our lives.

Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer

The Crosswalk Devotional

When David Was Ignored
By Rev. Kyle Norman

"But David when back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s sheep at Bethlehem." - 1 Sam. 17:15

The story of David’s battle with Goliath is one of the epic tales of Scripture. We know it well. David defeats Goliath and emerges as one of the heroes of the Bible. From that moment on we read a lot about David. He is described as the person after God’s own heart, the mighty king, a valiant warrior, an inspired poet. In fact, so important is David to God’s work in the world that the Bible mentions him close to one thousand times. But this isn’t the full story.

When we first meet David, he isn’t the strong and mighty warrior. He is but the youngest child of a humble shepherd. His brothers, hansom and mighty, tower over him; they are the ones in whom greatness lies. In fact, in these first stories, David is often overlooked. He is the smallest of the family, and often left to the side. Case in point: When the prophet Samuel comes to anoint the future king, David isn’t even invited to the gathering (1 Samuel 16:11). He is left in the fields to tend the flocks. This happens again when the Philistines attack Israel. While others go forward to battle, to do great things for their families, their nation, and their God, David is left behind with the animals. 

I wonder if David ever felt dismissed or disregarded? There can be so much emphasis placed upon us to make a name for ourselves, to achieve our 15 minutes of fame or to cast an enduring legacy.  With so much emphasis placed on achieving recognition, or popularity, it can sting when we feel left out. 

Do you ever feel like David, stuck in the back-country fields? Do you ever feel ignored, forgotten, insignificant? I know I do. In a world that glamourizes the rich, the powerful, and the successful, I often view myself as less than others. My imperfections stare at me. Other people make the life of faith seem so easy, so effortless, so uncomplicated. I, on the other hand, often struggle in prayer; I have questions about my faith, and at times, God feels distant. If I am being honest, there are times when I feel alone and cast aside; there are times when I question whether God could possibly use someone as small as me.

But this isn’t the full story. It’s not David’s full story, and neither is it ours. The description of David’s life amid the animals is easy to dismiss. We tend to skip over it in favor of where the action lies. Yet it is here, in these silent fields, where God does God’s most important work. This unseen place, where David stands alone is where God prepares David for what he will face. Although David may feel forgotten or ignored, God’s hand moved upon him and within him. 

In fact, it is only because David tended the animals that he was able to defeat Goliath. David says, “When a lion or bear came and carried off the sheep of the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth” (1 Samuel 17:34). Make no mistake, David’s defeat over Goliath does not occur on the battlefield. The victory is won here, in the place of quiet preparation, where God moves unseen. It is in these fields that David is prepared to overcome the gigantic obstacle he will eventually face. 

Intersecting Faith and Life:
There is never a moment where God is not at work at our lives. The Lord never goes on vacation, never takes a leave. As David himself affirms in Psalm 121, the Lord who watches over us never slumbers or sleeps. To realize this biblical fact is to realize that much of the Lord’s work in our lives goes on behind the scenes, in the regular spaces of the day. As we go about our lives, whether it be in the fields, the classrooms, or the workspaces, we do so in the presence of God. What is more, interwoven into each of our lives, is the silent working of God’s hand.

Instead of looking for the mighty act of God in miracles and majesties, how might we enter the normal places of our lives with the daring belief that God is preparing us for something? Where might God be working in you right now?

Perhaps David is the man after God’s own heart, not because he was a mighty king and valiant warrior, but because he allowed the Lord to work in the unseen places of his life. Perhaps it is this vision of David we are called to embrace.  After all, we all face struggles and obstacles. Some may seem small and inconsequential; others may appear like giants before us. The temptation is to feel that we lack the sufficient power and strength to combat all that we face. But this is not the full story. God is with us. God never abandons us nor forgets us. God does not judge us insignificant to his plan. In the quiet spaces our lives, even when we feel forgotten and left to the side, God is equipping us to take part in the working of his Kingdom.

Further reading 

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Tomertu

SWN authorThe Reverend Dr. Kyle Norman is the Rector of St. Paul’s Cathedral, located in Kamloops BC, Canada.  He holds a doctorate in Spiritual formation and is a sought-after writer, speaker, and retreat leader. His writing can be found at Christianity.com, crosswalk.comibelieve.com, Renovare Canada, and many others.  He also maintains his own blog revkylenorman.ca.  He has 20 years of pastoral experience, and his ministry focuses on helping people overcome times of spiritual discouragement.

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