(All verses from Complete Jewish Bible – because I just discovered the version and love it’s simple translation)
David was God’s blue eyed boy, loved beyond measure and declared to be a man after His own heart.
There are so many lessons to draw from the life of David. I was reading Chapters 16-18 of 1 Samuel and these thoughts outlined below were playing in my head.
I was reading smoothly and nodding my head and taking notes until I got to 1 Samuel 17:55 and had to retrace my sight to chapter 16. I’ll tell you why. Chapter 17:55 happened just after David had taken Goliath’s head clean off. We hear Saul asking his army’s commander if he knew who David’s father was.
When Sha’ul saw David go out to fight the P’lishti, he said to Avner, the army’s commander, “Avner, whose son is this boy?” “By your life, O king,” Avner replied, “I don’t know.” The king said, “Find out whose son this boy is.”
Sh’mu’el Alef (1 Sa) 17:55-56 CJB
Hold on there. I backtracked to chapter 16 just to be sure. Now, remember that an evil spirit had been tormenting King Saul and by the counsel of his court, he had sent for David to soothe his spirit by playing the lyre. And this had been going on for a while. Every time he was afflicted, David would get his anointed fingers on the instrument and calm the King down.
Yet, the King did not know whose son he was. Despite sending an order to Jesse to release his son and telling Jesse (Yishai) that he was pleased with David, he still had to ask after the battle, ‘Whose son is this boy?’
So Sha’ul sent messengers to Yishai saying, “Send me David your son, who is out with the sheep.” Yishai took a donkey, loaded it with bread, a bottle of wine and a kid, and sent them with David his son to Sha’ul. David came to Sha’ul and presented himself to him. Sha’ul took a great liking to him and made him his armor-bearer. Sha’ul sent a message to Yishai: “Please let David stay in my service, because I’m pleased with him.”
Sh’mu’el Alef (1 Sa) 16:19-22 CJB
Have you ever had a boss like that? There are times it feels like you are invincible regardless of how hard you work or how committed you are to your task. It feels like everyone just enjoys the fruit of your labor without recognizing that you were the one who did it.
It is obvious that David, a man after God’s heart, was also in that position as well. The king ‘said’ he was pleased with him but didn’t even remember his name.
This article takes a look at lessons we can learn and apply from David’s journey, leading up to his boss’s need to ask the question – ‘Whose son is this boy?’
Commitment to your craft.
The talent you groom and use is what will make a way for you. We cannot debate the grace of God in David’s life because you might ask, of all the possible musicians in Israel with its twelve tribes, how was David singled out to play for the King? But it wasn’t about the grace or favor of God alone. David could play. He played for his sheep when he had no human there to listen to him. He played for an audience that only accepted praise from a true heart – God. For someone that had made God happy with his skill, who was a mere mortal king?
Too often, we draw our motivation from validation and end up dumping what we should groom because we aren’t yet good at it. David’s story tells us to continue. Keep playing. There is a king, an economy, a sector, a boss being afflicted for the sake of that skill. And when it is needed, you need to be ready.
Talent, skill and timeliness are not enough.
One of the young men answered, “Here, I’ve seen one of the sons of Yishai the Beit-Lachmi who knows how to play. He’s a brave soldier, he can fight, he chooses his words carefully and he’s pleasant-looking. Besides, Adonai is with him.”
Sh’mu’el Alef (1 Sa) 16:18 CJB
Did you see that? His counselors asked for a man that could play the lyre but David’s recommendation letter also said he had characteristics that was suitable for a king’s court.
I could use myself as an example. I am a writer. But I’m hardly on time and in tune with my decision to write everyday. I need to work on my discipline and maybe, create more realistic timelines.
Now that’s a soft one. Have you ever met people who are so talented and good at what they do but you feel like crap around them? Your character and attitude to work also matters tremendously. Apart from your immediate talent, what complementary skills are you learning?
Are you wise with your words? Your emotions? How do you present yourself to people?
And most importantly, do you recognize that God is with you?
Your talent is for the benefit of your purpose and not your ego.
So it was that whenever the [evil] spirit from God came over Sha’ul, David would take the lyre and play it, with the result that Sha’ul would find relief and feel better, as the evil spirit left him.
Sh’mu’el Alef (1 Sa) 16:23 CJB
In hindsight, it’s interesting that Saul forgot David’s name when he found relief by the works of his hand. I once made a post on Instagram saying that it wasn’t David’s skill that soothed Saul’s spirit but the spirit of God upon him. Isn’t it fascinating that David was summoned after Samuel anointed him?
David could have known that the King had more pressing matters than remembering his name but he played the lyre every time it was needed. I can imagine him comparing those moments to playing for his sheep. He was so used to and focused on the beauty of his music that he did not care about what would make him popular.
Can someone tell that to the musicians today? Especially those running from the truth of the word, mixing it up to make it ‘look good’ and acceptable. But the gospel is already good. And getting people to accept it is not your job.
Don’t get caught up in an hunger for recognition that you miss the purpose of the talent. Once pride sets in, abuse becomes inevitable.
Mind your business but please, know what your business is.
In the corporate environment, if you don’t want stress, you’re advised to mind your own business. And I know that this is necessary; if not, you will just be taking on other people’s jobs without extra pay.
But you now ask yourself, what is your business really? Will you stand back and watch your colleagues make a mistake that could cost your company a fortune and probably cost you your job?
David was on a break from playing for Saul and his father gave him supplies to deliver to his brothers in the army. He could have done just that and paid no attention to the situation around him. But he didn’t. He was conscious. He got curious. He asked questions.
Are you the type of person that plugs off from everything happening in the office that has not affected you directly? You need to be conscious of your environment, conscious of the problems and if you’ve been building your skill, conscious of how to connect your talent to solve the problems.
Of all the questions David asked, one thing was key to him. It wasn’t about the reward. It wasn’t about the fame. It wasn’t about self respect. David just had a hard time accepting that someone was insulting the name of the Lord.
David said to the men standing with him, “What reward will be given to the man who kills this P’lishti and removes this disgrace from Isra’el? Who is this uncircumcised P’lishti anyway, that he challenges the armies of the living God?”
Sh’mu’el Alef (1 Sa) 17:26 CJB
The name of the Lord was his business. And he wasn’t about to let a heathen get away with challenging his God. He took action based on all he knew about God.
Know what you are doing
Pastor Paul Adefarasin would hit continually on the meaning of the word ‘know’. It wasn’t just about hearing about something or understanding what it means. ‘Know’ as used in most parts of the bible is experiential knowledge.
A good example is when the bible says that a man ‘knew’ his wife and she conceived. You already know that this was more than knowing that she liked eating berries.
After Saul called David to himself, he decided to give him a go at the Philistine. I’m sure Saul had chucked him up as collateral damage in his mind.
There are some tasks like that in the office where it feels like you are being thrown in the path of a moving train. But you also know that your success on that impossible like job would be a turning point in your career.
This situation with Goliath was like that. But in this case, David had no thought of failure. He knew who he was and what he was doing.
David answered Sha’ul, “Your servant used to guard his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear would come and grab a lamb from the flock, I would go after it, hit it, and snatch the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned on me, I would catch it by the jaw, smack it and kill it. Your servant has defeated both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised P’lishti will be like one of them, because he has challenged the armies of the living God.” Then David said, “ Adonai , who rescued me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will rescue me from the paw of this P’lishti!” Sha’ul said to David, “Go; may Adonai be with you.”
Sh’mu’el Alef (1 Sa) 17:34-37 CJB
He said, “I have been tested and I came through. I know how and why I came. It was the Lord on my side. And that hasn’t changed. Especially in the face of this man challenging my God. God will deliver him into my hands, just like He did the lion and the bear.”
There is something delicious about confidence. Looking back at the men I’ve ever had a thing for, confidence was one of the key things what had them going for me. It may have been false and merely bloated ego from having a complex but confidence is dangerously attractive.
Now imagine that born out of real substance, out of the truth of God’s word and work. That was David. It wasn’t a matter of showing bravado because it is an ingredient of success. It was born out of knowing who your God is and who you are in Him!
It is born out of practice and conscious relationship. It is born out of a burning desire backed by action.
David knew what he was doing.
You have to know what you are doing and this comes by experiential learning. Go for it and by all good means, get it.
Fight with an armor you know.
Saul had agreed to the fight. It was time to move. So he gave David the best armor in the land – his own. This armor had taken Saul to battles and brought him back victorious. Many soldiers may have coveted that armor or something like it but David felt like an alien in it.
David buckled his sword on his armor and tried to walk, but he wasn’t used to such equipment. David said to Sha’ul, “I can’t move wearing these things, because I’m not used to them.” So David took them off.
Sh’mu’el Alef (1 Sa) 17:39 CJB
He said, ‘I am not used to them’. Simple. You don’t have to sit in oga’s chair to do the work you should do. You don’t have to carry natural hair to be certified as an artistic mind, neither do you have to look shoddy. Stop wishing you had this person’s talent or that person’s good looks. Stop trying to be the best you by using the best of another person.
Know the armor that is yours and use that to your advantage. This may not be a hard and fast rule. It also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn new things. It only means you have to work with Knowledge. If writing works better for you than public speaking, learn public speaking but stop comparing yourself in vain to someone who’s not only got the natural flair but practiced for years.
Get on the big stage with what you have experimented with, what you trust. Until you know it, use it and trust it, it may not be wise to fight new giants with it.
The way I see it, David was conscious of who he was in God, what his talents were and he put them to work even when no one took notice. And then, the day came when he seized an opportunity using all he had learned and the King had to ask,
‘Whose son is this boy?’
David was a man like you. Loved by God. What are you doing with this privilege and favor?