In this chapter, we are introduced to David. Saul, the current king of Israel, has been rejected by God because of his disobedience, and so God sends Samuel to anoint a new king. Samuel arrives at the home of Jesse. Jesse, by all accounts was well-off, but hardly the sort of family you’d come to looking for a new king. Nonetheless, Samuel considers each of Jesse’s fully-grown sons, dismissing each one until he finally asks Jesse to send for his son David.
Imagine for a moment what David must have been thinking! Based on the word for “youth” in Hebrew, David would have been as young as 10 and no older than 15 when Samuel anointed him as king. As the youngest in the family, he would have probably been expected to serve one of his older brothers the rest of his life. He believed that he would spend the rest of his life out in a field tending sheep.
And then, this boy with no future who isn’t old enough to shave, is suddenly told that God has chosen him to be the new king of Israel. In a moment, everything David thought was certain about his life was turned upside down. He had been preparing for a career of… sitting in a field all day watching sheep. Now he is supposed to become king? He didn’t know the first thing about being a king! The only skills he had were playing the lyre and slinging stones. In a flash, David discovered that God has some grand plan for his life, and he has no idea what to do about it.
While God doesn’t call each of us to be king, we have more in common with David than we might expect. God has a plan for each of us - a mission He has equipped and chosen us to do. As Christians, we are citizens in His kingdom, put on earth to serve our true King until he comes or we are called home. We might be chosen as missionaries to far-flung lands, or called to teach. Some of us will be craftsmen, and others doctors, accountants, delivery workers or salesmen. Regardless of the profession, all of us ultimately serve Him with the gifts and duties we are given.
Like David, some of you are just discovering what God has planned for your lives and are anxious. Maybe you are still unsure what you’ll be called to and are eager (and a little terrified) to discover what it is. Perhaps you know the calling, but have no idea how to prepare for it - your future as a [fill in the blank] seems as radically different from your life now as being king felt to a young shepherd.
David undoubtedly felt that same anxiety, but the second half of the chapter gives both him and us some reassurance. When King Saul suddenly falls ill, it turns out that David’s years playing a harp in the fields is exactly the skill he needed. Soon, he is at the king’s side every day - learning how to do the job as he watches King Saul.
This passage reminds us that when God calls us to do something, He also provides what we need. Who would have imagined that harp playing and being good with a sling would have been exactly the skills David needed to prepare for a life of politics? And yet, God used the unusual to prepare a way.
How are you preparing for the calling God has placed on your life? What are you doing to ensure that, whatever God has planned for you, you’ll be ready? Are you anxious about the future and what God has in store? Talk to Him today about your concerns and your fears. Ask Him to prepare you for what He has planned.