By Allen White
“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."
Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you." Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.
"I cannot go in these," he said to Saul, "because I am not used to them." So he took them off. 1 Samuel 17:37-39
Who would have thought that the skills David gained by herding sheep would equip him to face Goliath? But, it wasn’t the actual skill that brought about his victories; it was the Lord that delivered him. Defeating the lion gave confidence that the Lord would also help him defeat the bear. Defeating them both gave him confidence to face the giant.
David’s core value was trusting in God. His greatest asset was his faith in God. While David did plenty to wreck his life, his heart was ultimately in the right place (1 Samuel 13:14). That’s not to say that the end justifies the means. David suffered much because of the sins he committed and due to the actions of his children.
To prepare David for battle, Saul attempted to impose something on David that didn’t suit him. Saul’s armor was the wrong size. Saul was a kingly-looking man (1 Samuel 9:2). David was quite ordinary. In fact, the Lord had convince David’s own father through the prophet Samuel that David was the right choice (1 Samuel 16:7).
The armor wasn’t the only ill-fitting thing. What worked for Saul wasn’t going to work for David. In fact, trusting in armor and carrying such a heavy burden would only inhibit what God had called David to do. David once again had to trust God to deliver him rather than trust in Saul’s armor to protect him. He had to rely on how God would use him rather than duplicating how God used Saul.
A Hasidic tale sums this up well. Rabbi Zusya, when he was an old man, said, “In the coming world, they will not ask me: ‘Why were you not Moses?’ They will ask me; ‘Why were you not Zusya?’” (Source: Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer).
Every believer is gifted and called to ministry. For most it’s not a vocational calling. Some of us have the privilege of serving in full-time ministry, but all of us have a ministry. I shouldn’t go about ministry the way that you do, and vice versa.
Like David, our efforts shouldn’t be applied to pretending to be like Saul. Our question is: Why are you not [your name here]?
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