When The Lord rejected Saul as king of Israel due to his sin and pride by building a monument to himself, He chose a new king. He chose David, the youngest of eight brothers in Bethlehem. Why did He choose this boy? Samuel spoke to Saul about it in 1 Samuel 13:13-14.
And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. For then the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.”
God searched for a man after His own heart. He found that man in David, even when he was still a boy. But what does it mean to be after God’s heart, to have a heart that takes after The Lord? Acts 13:22 reads,
And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’
Paul said that to have a heart like God’s means we will do ALL His will. Doing all of God’s will takes courage, love, trust, and faith. We can look at what God commands and be afraid, be concerned with the how, why, and what ifs, or we can look at God and have courage to love enough to obey. David certainly had those traits. 1 Samuel 16:14-23 describes how David entered Saul’s service.
Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him. And Saul's servants said to him, “Behold now, a harmful spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord now command your servants who are before you to seek out a man who is skillful in playing the lyre, and when the harmful spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well.” So Saul said to his servants, “Provide for me a man who can play well and bring him to me.” One of the young men answered, “Behold, 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.” Therefore Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.” And Jesse took a donkey laden with bread and a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them by David his son to Saul. And David came to Saul and entered his service. And Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor-bearer.And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor in my sight.” And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him.
David was described as a man of valor, war, prudence, good presence, and he was noted to have the Lord with him. David lived a life with evidence of God, the fruit of His Spirit was apparent. People took note of him. He was a man after God’s own heart. The Lord made it so David would enter the king’s service and this boy left his family and devoted himself to the king. David followed God’s command to do as his father Jesse said. He served Saul as if he were serving God. That is part of being after God’s own heart. God loves the world (John 3:16). He is love (1 John 4:8). So serving God means loving and serving people as if we are serving God. Colossians 3:23-24 reminds us of this.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
God wants us to glorify Him through our tangible love to people. David served Saul with that level of passion. He comforted the king with music. The Spirit worked through David and the harmful spirit left Saul in David’s presence because of his faith to obey his Lord.
Can you imagine the courage that took? He had to leave the home he knew and work for the king. The king was a powerful man who could order deaths if not pleased. The people understood that God had placed Saul as king and his word was unquestionable. David was placed in a position of closeness to Saul. But he served him so well that Saul loved him, counted on him, and gave him a promotion to be his armor bearer, no small job. He had to carry the king’s shield into battle! He was responsible for keeping Saul alive during combat.
God’s heart is courageous. He wants us to be courageous as well. He is perfect Love and perfect Love casts out fear. We have nothing to be afraid of. 1 John 4:16-19 reads,
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.We love because he first loved us.
Note that Love serves people freely because we have no fear. Love is perfected in us and gives us confidence, that we have nothing to fear. We do not fear what people may do to us. We do not fear condemnation, death, or Hell. We have Jesus Christ, perfect love being perfected in us. Love enables us to take action. 1 Samuel 17:1-11 in The Message reads,
The Philistines drew up their troops for battle. They deployed them at Socoh in Judah, and set up camp between Socoh and Azekah at Ephes Dammim. Saul and the Israelites came together, camped at Oak Valley, and spread out their troops in battle readiness for the Philistines. The Philistines were on one hill, the Israelites on the opposing hill, with the valley between them.
A giant nearly ten feet tall stepped out from the Philistine line into the open, Goliath from Gath. He had a bronze helmet on his head and was dressed in armor—126 pounds of it! He wore bronze shin guards and carried a bronze sword. His spear was like a fence rail—the spear tip alone weighed over fifteen pounds. His shield bearer walked ahead of him.
Goliath stood there and called out to the Israelite troops, “Why bother using your whole army? Am I not Philistine enough for you? And you’re all committed to Saul, aren’t you? So pick your best fighter and pit him against me. If he gets the upper hand and kills me, the Philistines will all become your slaves. But if I get the upper hand and kill him, you’ll all become our slaves and serve us. I challenge the troops of Israel this day. Give me a man. Let us fight it out together!”
When Saul and his troops heard the Philistine’s challenge, they were terrified and lost all hope.
We are talking about warriors being terrified of fighting this gigantic man. No one would step forward to fight him. David’s eldest three brothers were with Saul at the battle. David was going back and forth between caring for Jesse’s sheep and taking care of Saul. The standoff had lasted forty days. Jesse sent his son to check on his brothers’ safety. 1 Samuel 17:21-27 tells us what happened next.
And Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army. And David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage and ran to the ranks and went and greeted his brothers. As he talked with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.
All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid. And the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel. And the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father's house free in Israel.” And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” And the people answered him in the same way, “So shall it be done to the man who kills him.”
David couldn’t believe that anyone was afraid of Goliath. Why would anyone who serves the One True Living God be afraid of someone who doesn’t have Him and His armies behind him? The army was looking at Goliath. David was looking to God. What situations have you faced where you saw Goliath instead of God? Looking at Goliath can be terrifying. But David didn’t care that the man was ten feet tall, He had God. He had nothing to fear in some dude who didn’t call on the name of The Lord.
David’s oldest brother Eliab was ashamed at his own cowardice but pride made that shame manifest as anger at David. He told David to go back home and take care of the sheep. But David didn’t let his brother’s words hurt him. Instead he convinced Saul to let him fight Goliath. Saul tried to dissuade the young man but he wouldn’t change his mind. 1 Samuel 17:38-44 reads,
Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd's pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.
And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.”
The enemy tried more words to try and discourage David. But David had The Spirit on him and was not going to be discouraged or afraid. He had faith in God to be God. He knew what God could do, and He trusted Him to do it. David didn’t go fight Goliath for his glory but for God’s glory. Verses 45-51 read,
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand.”
When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.
Believer, you have nothing and no one to fear. You have the Lord God. You know who He is and He has given you His heart, His Holy Spirit, Love. You know He is always with you, what do you have to fear? You are free to love, free to act, free to glorify God!