Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Insignificant David

Today's passage:  I Samuel 16:1-13
     "And he said, Peaceably:  I am come to sacrifice unto the LORD:  sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.  And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice."
     I have a question.  God calls Samuel to go to Bethlehem to anoint the next king.  Samuel fears for his life, because if Saul discovers his errand, he will kill him.  This tells me that Saul was never truly repentant at the end of the last chapter, or he would have accepted God's consequences for his behavior.  For him to interfere with Samuel on this, means he had not accepted God's punishment.  That is not my question. 
     When Samuel arrives in Bethlehem, the townspeople are fearful.  They want to know if Samuel has come in peace.  My guess is, Samuel had been known to be Saul's mouthpiece, and Saul had not exactly been an easy king.  The last verse of Chapter 14 says that whenever Saul saw a strong or valiant man, he would recruit him for his battles.  Perhaps the Bethlehemites are concerned that Samuel has been sent for this mission, to scout the town for future soldiers.  But this is not my question either.
David Plays the Lyre--taken from the Standard Bible Story Reader, Book One
by Lillie A. Faris, illustrated by O.A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland,
The Standard Publishing Company, 1927
     Samuel assures the people that he has come to sacrifice to the Lord.  This has been his habit in the past, to go from town to town and offer sacrifices.  Samuel presents himself to Jesse, asks them to do their ritual cleansing before offering to the Lord.  Jesse and seven of his sons prepare for this time.  Okay, here is the question.  And I know the obvious answer, but it still doesn't make sense to me.  Why doesn't Jesse call David to the sacrifice?  I mean, I know somebody has to tend to the sheep, but where do they put them overnight?  Surely they have a sheepfold.  Isn't Jesse concerned about the spiritual well-being of his youngest son?  How often had Samuel come to town to offer sacrifices to the Lord?  And if David was always the one to tend to the sheep, how many times had he missed this event?  Maybe this is the first and only time Samuel had come to Bethlehem for this.  That would make it even more significant, which should lead Jesse to call in his youngest son.  Did he just overlook the fact that David wasn't there, until Samuel asks if all the boys are present?  Was Jesse just old and tired and didn't notice things as he formerly did?  That could be, but David has seven older brothers who could have summoned him.  I'm wondering if there is a reason David was deliberately left out.  I don't think the fact that he was tending the sheep is enough of a reason for him to be left out of this worship time.  David doesn't have a clue what is going on up in the town, until someone fetches him and brings him to Samuel.  Was this just God's way of further emphasizing that this young man, who obviously was of no account to anyone, that they couldn't even remember to call him from the fields, is the man God selected?  God had His eye on David. 
Every hymn David sang while leading the sheep to pasture, every prayer David said while allowing the sheep to graze, every harp praise offered up while watching for bears and lions, was noticed by God.  David might have felt unimportant doing these little things, but he did them to the best of his ability, and even though he didn't get to worship God in the usual way, by being called to sacrifice, he still worshipped God.  David's worship was real.  It wasn't ritualistic, it wasn't a list of do's and don'ts.  It was heartfelt.  It was genuine.  I think that we all could take a page from David's worship book.  We all could learn to sit quietly and wait on God.  This is not to say we should abandon church and sit in a field as our Sunday worship.  No, but when we are in church, instead of thinking about the grocery list, or the week's schedule, or the lunch menu, intently listening to what God is saying through the speaker.  When we are not in church, studying God's Book.  Singing to him while we are doing our chores, taking a time to pray quietly to Him, and then waiting for a few minutes for an answer.  Memorizing His Word and meditating upon it.  I think David should have been in "church", but he wasn't really given that option.  Nobody told him that "church" was taking place.  Yet, David's worship was still noticed.  It was noticed because this was something David did daily, not just on occasion.  It wasn't a ritual that David followed, it was a love for God, that I don't think his brothers shared.  God could see this in David's heart, and that is why He selected him to be the next king. 
     What is my worship like?  I go to God's House, because that is what God expects of me, and that is where I will learn and grow and serve, but what about when I am not in His House?  Every other day of the week, is my worship genuine?  Is there worship at all?  I should give God praise every day, not just on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night.  This is why David's worship was so special, it was every day of the week.  God sees me.  Of the billions of people on this earth, and He hears my every prayer, He sees my daily work as worship to Him.  Wiping the table, sweeping the floor, dusting the bookshelves are all acts of worship when I include Him in the process.  The good thing about those chores are that they only take my hands, my heart and mind can be occupied listening to Godly music, memorizing and quoting Scripture, praying for people.  David had all day to think about God, because in his alone time watching the sheep, it only took his hands.  His heart and mind could be occupied elsewhere, and his daily activities became acts of worship to the Lord.  And God noticed him.  When I feel insignificant, when you feel insignificant, remember that God notices everything.  He doesn't miss your dedication to your job.  He doesn't overlook the time you take to make sure things are done right.  He doesn't forget the prayer you said, or the worship you gave him.  He may not make you a king, but you will have a reward, even if it is just that small nudge from the Holy Spirit inside that says, "You did a good job today.  Be proud.  God loves you and He noticed that." 
     Thank You, God, for making me feel so special.  Thank You that wiping down toilets is just as special to You as planning a missionary banquet.  Thank you that changing out bulletin boards is just as important to You as speaking at a conference.  You get all the glory in all of those tasks and nothing we do for You goes unnoticed.

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