Posted by: genelnicholsblog | November 18, 2012

back to the pasture

It was one of the favorite Bible stories of my Sunday school years.  I even loved the little song that we sang.

Only a boy named David
Only a little sling …
And the sling went round and round …

There are those who believe it is the greatest Bible story ever. But reading it again (as an adult this time) I saw the story in a whole new light.  David had been relegated back to shepherd boy – from court musician to the king’s armor bearer … back to shepherd.  He must have been so disappointed.  A young man of 19 who thought he was going to experience the excitement of the battlefield only to be sent back to the lonely pasture with the silent sheep.  But God’s timing and placement is always perfect because David needed a little bit more training.  It was during this time that David killed a bear and a lion with not much more than his bare hands.

I Samuel 17:34-37 (NIV)
But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.  Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Grabbing a wild animal by its hair?! God was teaching this young man courage, confidence and warfare. But the most important principle learned was that God would give the victory. In situations most perilous, God would give the victory.  In impossible predicaments, God would give the victory.  When the odds were all against him, God would give the victory.   When the giant, Goliath, blasphemed the name of David’s God, he was unafraid.  And when the two of them had a shouting match on the battlefield, David answered all the questions for Goliath.  Keith Kaynor, in his book When God Chooses, imagines the conversation going something like this:

WHY?       Your daily ranting is actually an offense to my God.
WHO?       I will slay you.
WHAT?     Complete victory
HOW?       Not by human might, but by the power of my God.
WHEN?      Now
WHERE?    Here

David had gathered 5 stones, but it took only one.  We truly can do all things through Christ; He strengthens us beyond human understanding.  Even if we have to go back to the pasture, when we thought we would be traveling with the king!  Maybe we’re still in training – we just don’t know it yet.  I love this Bible story!

I get chills when I read I Samuel 17:45-47 as David tells Goliath what he is going to do and why.  This is undeniably one of the greatest military victories in history – a combination of man and God.  David practicing countless hours with his sling as he fought boredom out in the pasture, and then God enabling his servant with the power behind that little sling.  Great spiritual victories come from a scenario like this.  Keith Kaynor says, “If a believer can totally explain his successes, there isn’t much God in them!”  And who wants limitations like that?!

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