David, Wild But True
by Rev. Randy Brown
We continue this morning a series that we’re in on the heroes of the faith and what they can teach us about their lives and about our lives and where God wants us to be in our life. We’ve looked at some of the heroes before, we’ve looked at Noah, we’ve looked at Abraham, we’ve looked at Moses, and on the list goes. We’ve learned from each of them, and today I want us to look at one of, perhaps the favorites of the Old Testament heroes, his name is David. He is dressed like a king, he carries himself like a warrior and he is poised for whatever the situation might be that comes his way.
He is like other heroes of the faith, it’s not always been easy for him. He’s had his share of issues, as well as the other heroes, as well as all of you and me, but because he was a man that was after God’s own heart, and that’s the way he was described as we read a moment ago, God looks at the heart. Because of that we can listen carefully to the words that he shares with us throughout his life, for they are as pure as gold, as fine as silver, as white as pearls, and as sweet as honey. They are rich and valuable words.
Let’s hear what King David has to say to us. He wants us to know that from his experience and his experience with God, that he believes that you can overcome any limitation that anybody might put on you. Any of you ever felt like somebody’s put a limitation on you that they’ve told you repeatedly, “You know, you can’t do that. You can’t do this. You can’t do the other.” Well, if we’ll look farther, and we will in just a moment, at David’s life, he was told that over and over again, but yet he wants us to realize that he realized that we don’t have to live under those limitations. We can overcome any limitation that anybody has put on us. He would tell us a lot about the word — potential.
Now potential is an interesting word. A friend of mine describes potential or defines potential as, potential means that you’ve never done it before. It doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it doesn’t mean you won’t do it, it just means you haven’t done it yet. How many of you know somebody with potential? How many of you teachers have a classroom full of students with potential? We all know people with potential, they’ve got the potential to do great things, but they haven’t done it yet. It’s only when potential becomes achievement and ability that potential sees its full force. It’s an interesting word.
There are people in David’s life who never saw his potential to be a king, who never saw his potential to be a warrior. There are even people in David’s life that never even saw his potential to be a shepherd boy, that’s a hard thing for him to live there. We look at his father, his father was a man by the name of Jesse. Jesse didn’t think that his son, David, had the potential to be a king. It’s a bad thing when people don’t believe in you. It’s the worst thing when family doesn’t believe in you.
Now let me tell you, some of you who know me know part of my story. My only brother, older brother, two years older, when he graduated high school he was two years older than me, on Award’s Day every other name that was called was Rusty Brown. Two years later, one time, that was it and I had teachers through the time that said, “Why aren’t you as smart as your brother?” I said, “Why isn’t he as good-looking as me?” But anyway, you know, people sometimes put you down with that potential or think you have a lack of potential. He graduated summa cum laude, I graduated, “Thank you, Lordy,” but, and I had teachers that would do that, but I’ll tell you what I’m most grateful for, my mom and my dad, they never one time compared me to him or him to me. They saw in each of us different kinds of potential to do different things with our lives and that’s the way it’s turned out.
Jesse never thought that David could have the potential to be king. The night before Samuel was to come as the priest and to anoint a new king from Jesse’s sons, I can just imagine how Jesse stayed awake all night thinking about which son would it be that will now inherit the throne and be king of the nation. He could probably sit there and tell you why each son would deserve that honor and deserve taking that responsibility, but not one time did he ever think it would be David.
The next day when Samuel arrived, he calls all the sons in and he has them line up, he tells Samuel, “There you go, there’s what you got to choose from.” For a while it appeared to be Eliab, but God spoke to Samuel’s heart and he said, “No, I don’t want any of those. I want the one with the right heart,” and so they had to go and get David, because David was the choice. He didn’t even get invited to the line-up. He didn’t even get invited to the interview, but God said, “I don’t want any of those seven. I want David. I want David because of this heart.” He was the runt of the litter and God said, “He’s the one I want. He’s the one I want because of his heart.”
1st Samuel 17:32 says, “David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine, your servant will go and fight for him and he would become king.” God wanted David because of his heart. Now, not only did Jesse not see the potential for David to be a king; his brothers didn’t see the potential for him to be a warrior. When it got to the heat of battle at least three of his older brothers went in to the fields, he went to tend Jesse’s sheep. Later Jesse would send him to go and check on his brothers and they didn’t even give him the time of day. I can just imagine as he showed up one of them said to him, “Why aren’t you back there and tending dad’s sheep?” They laughed him off the hillside when he said, “I’ve come to do battle.”
Have you ever been laughed at knowing that you’re going to do what you’re supposed to do and somebody just laughed at you? They didn’t give you a chance. I think they laughed him off that hillside as he got ready to face the battle with Goliath. They saw him as an errand boy, but he was a man on a mission. Then King Saul, King Saul, didn’t see the potential in him where he could be a champion. King Saul heard that somebody was willing to go to battle for the army and he sent for him, and lo and behold here comes David. David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine, for your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against the Philistine and fight him, you are only a young man,” and he has been a warrior since his youth.
Saul did not see that David had the right potential. He didn’t think he’d fit in. What Saul did was he gave David his armor, well, it fit him about like Goliath’s armor would have fit him. It just didn’t fit, but Saul wanted David to fight the battle his way, he (David) couldn’t do that because he wasn’t gifted like Saul, he was gifted like David.
I have a good friend that affectionately, and hear me when I say that word affectionately, affectionately refers to his wife as, If-I’s you. Now I know what you’re thinking, “What in the world?” Well, every time they’re getting ready to go somewhere or every time he gets ready to do something she says, “Tony, if I was you; I’d do this…” so he’s nicknamed her If-I’s you – if I was you. Well, I think that’s probably a good nickname for Saul, because Saul said to David, “If I was you, I’d wear this armor. If I was you, I’d fight like this,” but David couldn’t fight like that, he was merely a youth, but he had gifts and abilities that could help him in the battle. He can’t fight Saul’s way, he has to fight his way. He has to fight with his gifts and his potential.
What if ... When I thought of potential I thought of Brooke and I thought of Dana, and they play the organ and direct the choir, they do a beautiful job. They do it like anybody else, does it? Because they’re not gifted like anybody else, but aren’t you glad they do it their way? They do it their way. They do it the way they’re gifted. When it comes to fighting the battles of life, David knew he had to fight it his way, and you and I have to face our battles the way we’ve been gifted. He didn’t need another Saul. He needed David to win the battle. Go with your giftedness when you have to go into battle.
Jesse didn’t see him as a king, his brothers didn’t see him as a warrior, Saul didn’t see him as a champion, and lastly, Goliath didn’t even see him as a worthy opponent. To add insult to injury Goliath said, “I’m not even going to give you a proper burial,” he said, “When I get through with you I’m going to feed you to the birds of the air.” Goliath didn’t even see him as an opponent of any potential, it would have been easy for David to get discouraged. Sometimes it’s easy for us to get discouraged too.
The measure of a person can be found in what it takes to discourage them. David faced great opposition and whenever he was told, “You don’t have what it takes,” he never listened, he knew that God had given him great potential. He knew that he did not have to live off of the limitation or under the limitations of other people. He refused the limitations that people put on him and he fought the battle, and we know he won the battle. He was a shepherd boy who became a king. Limitations didn’t limit him, and limitations won’t limit us unless we let them. Nobody thought he had potential, but he became king and he did so by God’s strength and by not letting people put limits on him, and God will help you do the same thing.
Be yourself. Don’t try to be somebody else’s David. Fight the good fight in the way you’ve been gifted. He can only fight like David, he couldn’t fight like Saul. You and I, sometimes we have that tendency to say, “Well, if I was you I’d do this,” and we listen to advice, but listen to God’s advice first: God doesn’t hold you responsible for what you don’t have. God doesn’t hold you responsible for and accountable for things He didn’t give you. What did David have? He had a slingshot and a pretty good aim, that was what he was responsible for. We have to take what we’ve been given, what we’re responsible for and use it to the best of our ability and our resources.
You know when we take those limitations off of us the victory comes, but not only the victory for us, but our victories can influence a whole lot of other people. Look at this battle, when the victory was won and David was victorious, so was the whole nation. One person doing what God called him to do can make a difference in a lot of lives. Don’t live with limitations that people put on you. Realize God’s potential for your life, that’s what David would tell us and that’s what the book says and the book never lies.