Not only did he have movie-star good looks (1 Sam 16:12), but David was one of the most respected and feared warriors in all of Israel. When he was a young boy he ran to the battle to take on Goliath. When he was a young man working to win his bride, he took on a challenge was supposed to lead to his death, and instead he killed twice as many Philistines than the challenge (1 Sam 18:27). And when he was a refugee king with nothing but a band of houligans (1 Sam 22:2) for his “military,” he continued to escape the clutches of Saul and return to Jerusalem in power.
What was his secret sauce?
What made him so successful?
Why is it important we know?
David was so amazingly successful because he wasn’t powerful in himself.
When David was a young boy he was a reject by his brothers (1 Sam 17:28) and was so “set aside” by his family that when the prophet Samuel went to anoint a son in the family as king, his didn’t even invite David (1 Sam 16:1-13). We see this sense of rejection several times when he keeps asking those around him,
“Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” (1 Sam 17:29)
“What have I done and what wrong am I guilty of?” (1 Sam 26:18)
“What have I done…and what have you found against your servant from the day I came to you until now?” (1 Sam 29:8)
You get the sense that David was treated like an annoying gnat and not worth of having a voice, rejected by friends and family alike. But God had a different say. Because he saw David’s heart.
From the time that David was a shepherd, he learned to work hard and fight hard, but he also had a clear sense that the battles were won by the Lord. He knew that the Lord had delivered him time and time again from bears and lions (1 Sam 17:34-37). The repeated battles where he learned trust in the Lord served as the fiery forges of his faith. And when great obstacles came, he could see them through different eyes than everyone else because he knew this: The Lord Delivers.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation–
whom shall” I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life–
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack,
they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear (Ps 27:1-2)
David was a mighty warrior not because he had large armies, powerful weapons, huge horses, and everything right (Ps 33:16-18). He was powerful because he genuinely trustws in the only King who does have have power. It wasn’t the “trust” of hoping then creating back-up plans, it was the trust of “all is in your hands.” I believe you, God.
It was because of this that he could say something so startling:
“though war break out against me, even then will I be confident” (Ps 27:3).
This wasn’t just a nice idea in a peaceful context, this actually did happen time and time again. But war didn’t phase David, because he knew the Lord’s power to deliver. Therefore he did not fear.
What about us?
Everyday there are many circumstances that come against us. Like David these trials are opportunities to forge our faith. And one day or one season or one year or one decade when messy time of our lives, the forging of the daily will yield it’s confidence in the war. We can say of our battles, “though war break out against me, even then will I be confident” (Ps 27:3). Because war WILL break out. And we can battle with everything we know how, but knowing most importantly that the Victory is the Lord’s. No need to fear. No need to worry. We need to remember. We need to trust.
Victory doesn’t come quick. Noe does it look like we always want. But it comes when we trust Him. Perhaps this is why David ends his psalm,
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord. (Ps 27:14)