David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down.
(1 Samuel 17:45-46a NIV)
Thanks be to the Lord for all those experiences we find ourselves having, those moments of sharing and public service, which we had not budgeted or planned for, but in which we participated through the mediation or consideration of others, most often subjects far removed from us. Young David enters the biblical scene first for his warlike qualities rather than for his well-known musical abilities. In fact, when King Saul found himself experiencing an uneasiness of soul due to a strong disturbance caused by an "evil spirit" (1 Samuel 16), a servant suggested a young boy who could play for him: one of the sons of Isaiah, a good player, but also a strong man, valiant, good-looking, and above all, the LORD was with him (v. 18). David is chosen because he is preceded by his own testimony. Beyond the speaking of others, I believe it is always the Spirit who proposes and disposes "as he wills."
Although he was a "strong and valiant" man, however, he was excluded from the battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 17). Perhaps he was reputed to be just a performer. Perhaps someone reputed that he was not mature enough. Preconceptions and prejudices... For forty days continuous threats came from Goliat, who demanded a one-to-one confrontation. The number forty has a strongly representative value, it is mentioned in various situations and in all of them it represents a difficulty to be faced and the change that follows. It was after forty days and forty nights that Isai sent David to the battle site to bring provisions to his brothers. Once there, he was shaken upon hearing Goliath's threatening words toward the king and his army. After forty days the Spirit awakened someone so that they would change the events, for if we are not able to make room for the human resources available to us He is not a man like us.
A spiritual work is not recognizable to everyone, and the first opponents are often family members. David's brother was not enthusiastic about his descent into the field, indeed he insulted him by accusing him of pride and malice (v. 28). Yet he who is impelled by the hand of God no one can stop. Saul, learning that there was one willing to fight against the Philistine, called him and asked for an explanation (v. 32). To see God's kingdom advance we must offer ourselves and not hide. Jesus himself urged us to traffic in talents and not hide them. Saul sought to protect the boy's life, just as any good servant would do today toward the ranks of those prepared to serve the LORD. Indeed, he stripped himself of his authority and gave it to him (v. 32). This, however, proved too great: we cannot put on the clothes or name of others, but must always be ourselves, for otherwise we run the risk of appearing false. Instead, the boy undressed, took his staff and, going to the river there, picked up five stones. The stones picked up represent ability, possibility and potential in serving. They are not all useful to us at the same time, but we will use them throughout our lives alternately all of them, depending on the situation.
Once on the field Goliath scorned him. In the same way it happens to us to be despised when we are full of desire, resources and strength, and the enemy thus tries to annihilate what God wants to use. David had the peculiarity of his reddish hair; this made him different from others. While the enemy uses our differences to make us feel inferior, the Lord uses them as a distinguishing feature and as our peculiar strength. He knows how to take what others despise to show His wisdom. David did not react to the scorn, but responded with the words of the opening verse. He who cares to serve God does not do so in order to receive acclaim and riches, but has in his eyes and heart the One he serves, the Most High God. After the battle, Saul asks David for the particulars of the family. This is also often the case in God's work, where many servants miss out on knowing those who serve thoroughly. In spite of this, our choice is to serve the Lord and attend to the advancement of His kingdom; this must be our one and only interest and not to be known and praised by other human beings.
Weekly Bible Reading
September 19, Ecclesiastes 1-3; 2 Corinthians 11:16-33
September 20, Ecclesiastes 4-6; 2 Corintians 12
September 21, Ecclesiastes 7-9; 2 Corinthians 13
September 22, Ecclesiastes 10-12; Galatians 1
September 23, Songs of Solomon 1-3; Galatians 2
September 24, Songs of Solomon 4-5; Galatians 3
September 25, Songs of Solomon 6-8; Galatians 4