Lessons from David

As I mentioned last week, the life of King David provides some remarkable lessons for people of faith today. This will not be an exhaustive series (there’s much more that can be learned from David than what we are able to cover here), but I do want to highlight some of the most important ones.

Today I want to talk about a lesson that the Bible teaches over and over again: God uses unlikely candidates to accomplish His will.

After King Saul disobeyed God, God send His prophet Samuel to anoint a new king for Israel from the sons of Jesse the Bethlehemite. Samuel goes to Bethlehem and Jesse brings his sons out, one by one, for Samuel to see. When Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son, comes out, Samuel was impressed; apparently this man looked like a king:

“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” (1 Samuel 16.7)

Samuel sees Jesse’s seven oldest sons, but God rejects them all as king.

Apparently, the thought of David—the baby, the shepherd boy—being the one God was interested in hadn’t even entered Jesse’s mind, because he wasn’t even there; he was out with the sheep. So Jesses sends for him, and sure enough, David is the one God chooses, and the one Samuel anoints to be the next king of Israel.

David goes on to defeat Goliath, become a mighty warrior, and as King, leads Israel in many successful military campaigns, but if it had been left up to Samuel, David would’ve just stayed in the field with the sheep.

For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

God spoke these words in reference to David, but they don’t just apply to him. The fact is that God can use anyone, no matter what they look like on the outside, to further His will. In fact, God has almost always used men and women from unimpressive circumstances on the outside to accomplish His goals:

  • Moses was a murderer and an exile, a man who was apparently afraid to even speak in public. And yet, with God’s help, Moses stood up to Pharaoh, likely the most powerful man in the world at that time, freed the children of Israel, and then led them in their trek through the wilderness.
  • Rahab was a lowly prostitute, but she hid the Israelite spies and was pivotal in the Israelites’ great victory over the walled city of Jericho, and thus, their occupation of the land of Canaan.
  • Esther certainly looked impressive on the outside: in fact, she became queen only because she had won a beauty contest. But she had no political aspirations and was afraid to even speak to the king, but God used her to save the Jewish people.
  • Peter was an uneducated (probably), coarse fisherman who, even despite spending a lot of time with Jesus, just seemed to mess up all the time. He was always sticking his foot in his mouth, and deserted Jesus when things got touch. But on the Day of Pentecost when the Church was established, Peter preached the first gospel sermon and 3,000 were added to the Church.
  • Paul was present at the stoning of Stephen. He persecuted Christians and threw them in jail, and would later refer to himself as the chief of sinners. But God used Paul to speak the gospel message to countless Gentiles, and Paul became the greatest missionary the world has ever known.

The examples go on and on, but the principle remains the same: God uses unlikely candidates to accomplish His will. This was true with David, it was true throughout the Bible, and it is true today.

You might see yourself as lacking talent or ability, but God sees you as someone who He can use to accomplish great things for His Kingdom:

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2.10)

That verse seems pretty clear to me. No matter what you think about yourself or what you think your shortcomings are, God designed you to be useful! There are things that you can do (and maybe that only you can do) for His cause!

God uses unlikely candidates to accomplish His will!