Everyone has expectations and most everyone is free about telling others about their expectations. In some instances this is very helpful, such as when ordering something, hiring someone to do a job or working together on a team. Other times it can be quite harmful, like when you push your expectations of what someone should be on them and it doesn’t fit with what they want to be or who God wants them to be. Join me in this journey through 1 Samuel as we see the greatness to be had by the one who places their trust in no one or nothing else than God. Follow me through the Scriptures as we see it is only God’s expectations that are wrapped in His possibilities and assurance that really matter. Man will surely fail you and will often cause you to stumble and fall.
“And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him. Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls 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 all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands (I Samuel 17:39, 45-47).
In I Samuel 17 we find a familiar story. David, a young shepherd boy, is the youngest of eight children. He was an unlikely choice to fight a giant, let alone a Philistine giant named Goliath. In fact, everyone overlooked David and never even imagined David could fight the giant let alone expect him to win. The Bible tells us that David was young and leads us to believe he may have even been quite little for his age. It goes on to tell us that he had ruddy hair and basically depicts him to be unremarkable in his looks or mannerisms. In fact, the account in I Samuel 17 even shows us that his brothers not only never expected David to be able to fight and beat Goliath, but they suspected his motive for even being on the scene was somehow wrong and naughty. The Bible in I Samuel 17, tells of the influence of expectations and the power of belief. The story unfolds as follows.
The Philistines were gathered together for battle with Saul and the men of Israel and the Philistines had a champion warrior in their camp named Goliath. He was huge and protected with great armor from head to toe and equipped with mighty instruments of war. He boasted and bragged and badgered the men of Israel. He even told the men of Israel that if you fight me and kill me, then the Philistines will be your servants. His strength matched his size and his reputation struck fear in the hearts of all who came near to him ……… all except for one, little David.
David was a shepherd, a young lad who tended to the small herd of sheep his family had. This particular day, captured in Scripture, gives us a clear glimpse into David, who he was and what he did. David appears to be scrawny and anything but heroic in nature. You see, his father Jesse asked David to get some parched corn, bread and cheese and to take it his brothers and find out how they were doing. David, being obedient, did just that but made sure his sheep were cared for and that his responsibilities were covered. When he arrived at the battleground, his eldest brother accused him of coming to see the action and being irresponsible. David was thoroughly confused because he was there being obedient. Time would tell that it wasn’t just obedience to his earthly father, but to His Heavenly Father as well.
As the men of Israel discussed the bragging and the taunting being done by Goliath, David heard all of it. David was outraged. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God,” spoke little David. As people heard the words that David spoke, people began to tell Saul, the commander of the army. Saul then sent for little David.
David told Saul that no one should be afraid because of the giant Goliath. He volunteered to fight this mighty man of war. Saul was torn because something about David made it seem like David could do this, but Saul knew that David was just a little boy, had no experience, wasn’t much in stature and no real training in battle. Saul could not help himself. He reminded little David of all he wasn’t and all he couldn’t do, but little David, wiser than his years and strong in faith, let Saul know what he had done previously while guarding his sheep. He explained that he had smote a lion and a bear with his bare hands. Well, he immediately gave credit where credit was due. He told Saul that the Lord had delivered him out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear and He would once again deliver him, only this time, it would be from the hand of the giant.
Saul, being desperate and with nowhere else to turn, reluctantly agreed to let little David fight the Philistine. So, once again focusing on what David could not do and what David did not have, Saul draped him in things of the world and forced his belief in manmade protection upon David as he put a helmet, a coat of mail and a great big sword on David. All of this was meant for a man. It did not fit little David. So, David knowing in whom to rely and on what to trust threw off the armor that didn’t fit, refused to rely on what he couldn’t trust and spoke, perhaps, one of the greatest truths in Scripture, “I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them.”
He then took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had clutched to his side; and with his sling in his hand he drew near to the Philistine. But, David wasn’t alone. As always, little David spoke in faith and with confidence, “Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand.” So, David prevailed over the Philistine.”
It is a simple story with great truths. These truths, if learned and embraced, can change our lives for the good forever. Let’s take a look at what we can learn from little David in this account in I Samuel 17.
First, David was eager, willing and ready for action. Sometimes, we have encountered lots of trouble, faced much heartache and endured much turmoil. Unfortunately, many of us have let these circumstances and events in our lives; bring us down stealing our joy and robbing us of our victory. Not little David, by his own account we see he faced many difficulties, but regardless, little David was on the move, ready to spring into action and kept himself ready. The Bible tells us that “greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world,” I John 4:4. The Bible also says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Secondly, David was responsible. The importance of this is simple. We know that David could be trusted with his actions because the Scriptures give us enough information to conclude that David was not reckless, chasing after every whim and folly. David made sure his duties and responsibilities were taken care of before he went off to meet his brothers on the battleground. So often people say they are doing what the Lord has said and then it ends disastrously. We know full well that God does not call us where He doesn’t lead us, nor send us where He doesn’t provide (Philippians4:13, 19 and Jeremiah 29:11). Make sure you have discussed your plans with the Lord and that you are acting under His command. “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths,” Proverbs 3:6.
Thirdly, don’t always believe what people tell you. You have to trust what the Lord tells you and rely upon Him and His Word. People kept overlooking David and telling him He wasn’t the one for the job. They kept explaining to him why he couldn’t do it. “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help, “ Psalm 121:1. “And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice (John 10:4). “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28).
Fourthly, don’t focus on what you can’t do. Everyone was looking at what David couldn’t do or didn’t have. All those around him were explaining all the reasons why he could not do the job. They complained about his youth (lack of experience, lack of knowledge), his lack of strength (wasn’t built right for the job) and even tried to use his active nature against him by falsely accusing his motives. But, nothing stopped David. He knew the Lord was with Him and He knew what He was supposed to do. David looked at what he could do. His focus was on His Lord and all he could do in His strength. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:13, 19).
Finally, stand in the truth. John 14:6 says, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” “Only fear the LORD, and serve Him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things He hath done for you” (I Samuel 12:24). Walking in His ways is following truth. By following truth you cannot fail!
Little David shows us many things. These are but a few. But, rest assuredly, if you continue to focus on the things you cannot do, you will never get anything done. Focusing on what you cannot do is a clear indication that you are operating out of your own strength. We serve a God that can. Therefore, we can when God is in it!