At one point in his life, King Saul had been used of the Lord to accomplish great things. Yet, these verses find the king living through desperate days. Because of Saul’s rebellion, God removed His Spirit from the king and allowed an evil spirit to torment him. Saul was gripped by depression, v. 23, and violent mood swings, 1 Sam. 18:8-12; 19:9-10. In an effort to help their master, Saul’s servants suggested that he find someone who was skilled on the harp. It was thought that music might calm the spirit of King Saul, v. 16. It has been said that, “music hath charms to soothe the savage beast,” and apparently it worked with Saul, v. 23. It is against this backdrop of depression, madness and spiritual tragedy that David is once again thrust onto the stage.
While David had already been anointed to be the next king of Israel; Saul was allowed to occupy the throne until his successor was fully trained. God even used the madness of King Saul to help train the young shepherd boy for his future role as king of Israel. In fact, God used four very specialized tools to train young David for his role as the king of Israel. David probably would have never chosen these four tools for himself, but they were used of God to prepare him for the work that lay ahead. God’s use of these four tools in the life of David reveals to us How God Builds A King.
Agostino d’ Antonio, a sculptor of Florence, Italy, wrought diligently but unsuccessfully on a large piece of marble. “I can do nothing with it,” he finally said. Other sculptors, too, worked with the piece of marble, but they, too, gave up the task. The stone was discarded. It lay on a rubbish heap for forty years.
Out strolling one day, Michelangelo saw the stone and the latent possibilities in it. It was brought to his studio. He began to work on it. Ultimately, his vision and work were crowned with success. From that seemingly worthless stone was carved one of the world’s masterpieces of sculpture—”David!”
I am interested in this today because it is these same four tools that God uses when He seeks to train us. You see, God did not save us to leave us as He found us. He saved us to change us, 2 Cor. 5:17. Specifically, He saved us to transform us into the image of His Son, into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 8:28; Eph. 4:11-13. To accomplish this, God uses certain tools in your life and mine. These tools are perfectly suited to the work of transformation. Let’s take a few minutes this evening to look into these verses and observe the tools God uses as He seeks to build Himself a king. I want to preach on the subject: How God Builds A King
First in verse 19 GOD USES THE TOOL OF SOLITUDE
It was on the lonely hills of Judea, with a flock of sheep for his companions; the starry sky as his cathedral and the vast expanse of nature as his classroom that David learned some of the most valuable and basic lessons of life. He learned how to be alone with God and with himself. Away from the distractions and noise of others,
- David learned how to hear the voice of God.
- David learned how to commune with God.
- David learned how to worship the Lord.
- David learned how to be at peace with himself. There is no value that can be placed on those kinds of lessons. They are priceless!
Of course, many in our day have no idea what its like to be alone with God. It seems they have trouble being alone. They cannot survive without noise, without activity and without the company of others. I would suggest to you that if you have trouble being alone with yourself that you probably have some issues with your inner life that need to be dealt with. Jesus Christ sought time to be alone with His Father.
Mark 1:35, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”
Luke 4:42, “And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them.”
Luke 6:12, “And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.”
John 6:15, “When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.”
If the Son of God saw the value and needed the benefit of being alone with the Lord, how much more do we need that kind of intimacy with the Father? We should not fear the times of solitude, when God shuts us off with Himself. It is in the times of solitude that we learn to hear His voice and walk with Him. It is in the times of solitude that God prepares us for greater things! Therefore, make the time and take the time to get alone with God, away from the hustle and bustle of life. Find you a place where you can commune with God in secret; a place where you can hear His voice without all the distractions of life clamoring for your attention. God uses the tool of solitude.
Secondly in Verse 18 GOD USES THE TOOL OF SECRECY
Before David would ever sit on the throne and rule the nation of Israel; he would first spend countless hours alone, unacknowledged and unappreciated. Day after Day David spent his time with his father’s sheep on the lonely hills of Judea.
- There, David learned to be faithful to his responsibilities, even though no one else was watching.
- He learned obedience.
- He learned humility.
- He learned to be watchful.
- He learned lessons in the secret places that he could have never learned in the places of prominence.
- He was trained in the classroom of obscurity; and when he finally received the attention and applause of others; it did not go to his head, because he had learned the lesson that he had no one to please but the Lord.
God always trains His people in private before He uses them in public. Before Elijah stood in power on Carmel, he learned to walk with God faithfully in private, 1 Kings 17-18. Before Elisha stood tall before Israel as the prophet of God, he learned to serve in the background as he followed Elijah. Before Moses was fit to lead Israel, he spent forty years in the shadow of Mount Horeb leading Jethro’s sheep.
Therefore, we should never despise the days of obscurity. We all have lofty dreams. We all want to be used greatly by the Lord. We want God to do through us what we have heard of Him doing through others. But, we must also realize that it may not be God’s will for us to do what others have done! God knows where we are and in His time, He will use us when, where and to the extent He chooses.
I am convinced that some of those who are big dogs in their own eyes and in the eyes of others will have to step aside as some of the unknown saints of God move to the head of the line on judgment day. I am convinced that some of God’s greatest rewards are reserved for those precious saints who have labored in the secret closets of prayer. He has saved His best for those who have gone unnoticed, unrecognized, unacknowledged and unappreciated. He has something special waiting on those who have carried the load and borne the burden for others. He will not forget those who have paid the price in prayer and sacrificed their all for the cause of Christ! Men may never see you in that secret place, but God will not forget you, ever!
Therefore, carry on precious saints of God! There is a payday someday. God may use you in a public way and He may not, but as He trains you in your secret place, He is getting glory to Himself and that is all that matters!
Thirdly in Verse 11, 19, 17:15 GOD USES THE TOOL OF SAMENESS
There can be little doubt that day blended into day as David went about the monotony of keeping his Father’s sheep. Countless days, endless routines, the same things day in and day out. This is what marked the life of David.
But, it was in the monotonous routine of life that David learned to be a man of God. It was there, alone on those mountains, doing the same things day after day that David learned the priceless lessons of faithfulness. David applied himself to the task of giving his best during the mundane times of life. Then, when God promoted him, he did not have to learn to be faithful; he already knew how. He did not have to learn responsibility; he had already learned that lesson. God used the unending monotony of the routine to shape David for greater things.
The same is true for us. Often day blends into day and we see our lives as nothing but a boring, monotonous existence. What we fail to see is that God is working, even during the routine times of our lives. As life unfolds, day upon changeless day, we learn to be faithful in the little things; we learn to be faithful to God. As we learn faithfulness in the seemingly insignificant areas of Life, God will expand our level of responsibility, Matthew 25:21, “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” When life seems like drudgery, just keep walking faithfully with God; He is preparing you for greater things.
Therefore, let me encourage you to remain faithful in the little things. For, in the final analysis, the little things are the foundation of our lives.
- Keep praying, even when it appears that He isn’t hearing.
- Keep going to church, even when it seems nothing much is happening.
- Keep giving, even when it gets tight financially.
- Keep living for Jesus, day in and day out, refuse to turn back or waiver from following him. In His time, He will bless you and reward you for being faithful during the routine times of life.
Lastly, in Chapter 17:34-37; 40-51 GOD USES THE TOOL OF STRUGGLE
David’s life was not all about the mundane and the routine.
- We hear him tell about encounters he had with a lion and bear,1 Sam. 17:34-37.
- We watch as he walks alone into a valley and kills a giant named Goliath,1 Sam. 17:40-51.
- We see him ignored,1 Sam. 16:11;
- criticized,1 Sam. 17:28
- and underestimated,1 Sam. 17:33; 43-44.
- We can even see him as he is hated and pursued by King Saul,1 Sam. 18:8-12; 19:9-10.
God used the classroom of adversity as a valuable tool designed to teach David about the power, provision and providence of God.
There are times when the monotony of our lives is shattered by the harsh blows of adversity. God’s purpose in those times is not to hurt us, but to grow us, 2 Cor. 4:15-17; Rom. 8:28-29. He desires to teach us patience, faith and dependence upon Him. In order to do that, He sends us trials and adversity. After all, nothing teaches us more about the love, faithfulness and power of God than having Him safely lead us through one of life’s valleys. (Ill. Many of the great people in the pages of Scripture learned more about the Lord in the furnace of affliction than they ever could have otherwise. Ill. 3 Hebrews, Daniel, Elijah, Widow of Zarephath; Noah; Widow of Nain; Mary, Martha and Lazarus; Jairus; Thief on the Cross, etc.)
As David was honed upon the wheel of life, God was shaping the boy into the man who would become king. Verse 18 gives a glimpse of the man David would one day become.
- He Is Was A Skilled Man – The word “cunning” means “an artist, faithful and trustworthy in his art.” It refers to those who are “wise, capable, resourceful in every facet of conduct.” David learned all of the skills he would need as king while he watched his sheep. God uses the tools we have mentioned to teach us the skills we need to be used of Him.
- He Is Was A Strong Man – When David is called “a mighty, valiant man, a man of war” it refers to courage he had developed as he led the flocks in the hard places. As he fought off the lions and the bears; and as he defended the flock against the Philistines; he was shaped by the hand of the Lord, and David demonstrated the attribute of great courage. This trait was another crafted in David’s life by the tools we have discussed. This courage would serve David well as king.
- He Is Was A Shrewd Man – The phrase “prudent in matters” means that David was “careful in his speech.” He knew when to speak and he knew when to listen.
- He Is Was A Striking Man – David is said to be “comely.” This refers to his physical appearance as well as the overall manner in which he presented himself. David had an air about him that drew men to him.
- He Is Was A Sanctified Man – David’s greatest attribute was the fact that “the Lord is with Him.” David was a consecrated man who moved through life with the breath of Heaven on him. Not only was he a special person outwardly, but he was a special person inwardly as well. He heart was as refined as his body. The is another characteristic that was forged in the furnaces of Solitude, Secrecy, Sameness and Struggle. It is this characteristic that enabled David to become “a man after God’s Own heart.”