“And David had success in all his undertakings for the Lord was with him.” (1 Samuel. 18:14)
Power to Succeed
What difference does it make, anyway?
We know the story of David the shepherd boy who would become king, but we quickly place it within the “familiar but ancient” file that has little bearing on our present-day circumstances. Sure, sure. God used the youngest boy from an obscure family to knock down a giant taunting the nation of Israel. With a slim chance of victory and the aid of a sling and a stone, he toppled Goliath and made headlines across the land. Bravo for him, but of what significance is it to us as we navigate adversity or super-sized piles of taxing responsibilities?
David’s choices present us with a template of how to thrive as we trudge through the expanse of ordinary tasks at hand or the outlandish challenges in our path. Before he ever faced that infamous foe, David had an encounter with the Living God who infused him with the power to succeed. After Samuel the prophet anointed David with oil in the presence of his older, stronger brothers, we learn “And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward” (1 Samuel 16:13). God’s Spirit was the source of David accomplishing the impossible.
It was obvious to those who saw him afterward that David was transformed. One of Saul’s servants described the young man this way: “I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a man of good presence, and the LORD is with him” (I Samuel 16:18).
God made an incredible investment in David, poured his Spirit on him, gave him victory in battle, and elevated him above the men of his time. David’s choices later give us clues as to why the Lord would identify him as “a man after my heart, who will do my will” (Acts 13:22). His dynamic relationship with the Lord was evidenced in an all-out pursuit of God.
During their famous encounter, David declared the source of his strength to Goliath: “The Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand” (1Samuel 17:47). In other battles which he had to face, he continued to abide by this belief by seeking the guidance of the Lord Almighty. When notified that the Philistines were robbing the threshing floors, David didn’t rest on his last round of successes and charge into the fray expecting a victorious outcome. We read that first “David inquired of the LORD” (1 Samuel 23:2). After God gave him the go-ahead but his decision was second-guessed by his fearful men, “Then David inquired of the LORD again. And the LORD answered him” (1 Samuel 23:4).
His dynamic relationship with the Lord was evidenced in an all-out pursuit of God.
Much later in his life, David continued his steady pursuit of God. “Now there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the LORD” (2 Samuel 21:1). Though his failures were enormous, David pursued God’s heart and moved ahead after moving toward God and asking for his divine intervention.
The psalms are textbook for David’s intimate relationship with the Lord. “I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words. Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Savior of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand” (Psalm 17:6-7). “I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken” (Psalm 16:7-8). In hundreds of other verses, we hear a similar refrain.
David the shepherd boy, David the King, David the man after God’s own heart trains our hearts to have a vibrant encounter with God and to seek the Lord persistently as we, too, wrestle giant-sized obstacles with only sling-shot supplies in hand.
Father, may we follow David’s example and be men and women whose hearts are wholly devoted to you, who seek you continually, who ask for your guidance and wait patiently for your clear direction.
Elizabeth Karram Mitchell