A Servant’s Heart: A Study in the Life of King David

This summer, I decided to spend some time studying the life of David (1 Samuel 16-1 Kings 2). As I studied, I began to realize that there is so much to unpack about David’s life, that you could spend well over a year teaching and learning from just these chapters in Scripture. While there are many different principles and lessons that we can takeaway, I want to focus on one attribute of David’s life that allowed him to walk in the anointing and calling of the LORD: servanthood. It was a life of servanthood that allowed David to fulfill God’s purpose on earth.

From the first moment that we are introduced to David, we see a quality in David that is admirable. Evidently, the LORD thought so, too. Among Jesse’s sons, David would not have been the obvious choice, but the LORD saw something in David that made him the obvious choice. We are all familiar with the fact that David was a shepherd. Maybe more unfamiliar to us is the fact that David shouldn’t have been a shepherd boy. That job was usually left to the household’s servants. Scholars believe that the most likely explanation for David being put in charge over the sheep is because Jesse’s family wasn’t very wealthy. Whatever the reason, David kept the right attitude. Before he was ever selected to be used in a mighty way by God, David understood the value of being a shepherd.

When David later pens in Psalm 23, “The LORD is my shepherd,” he wrote those words with the understanding of the value and importance of the shepherd’s position to protect, guide and direct those who were placed in his care. David should have never been a servant in his own family, but because of this, he was entrusted to be a servant to God’s family. As Christians, we are called to servanthood. Because Christ came into the world to serve us, as the Shepherd of our lives, we, too, are called to pick up the shepherd’s staff and serve those around us. Our lives are not our own. David understood this well. It was the foundation of his life. And, because of his approach to servanthood, God chose and anointed David for Kingdom purpose.

In the Kingdom of God, another attribute of servanthood is bringing our pure worship before the LORD. It was in the shepherd’s field that David learned the power of worship. Shortly after David is anointed by Samuel, a distressing spirit comes upon King Saul. Saul’s servants send messages to Jesse to bring the boy to Saul, that David may play the harp for him. Scriptures say David, “became his armor-bearer.” Whenever David played, the distressing spirit left him. Why? Because David’s worship was anointed. This is the power of anointed worship. It has the power to bring peace into the chaos of our circumstances. Later on, when Saul becomes bitter and jealous towards David, because people are referring to David as a greater warrior than he, Saul calls on David to have him come play the harp for him. When David arrives to play for the king, Saul has a spear in his hand, ready to kill him. But, instead of David facing his death, something else happened, instead. Saul became afraid of David because he saw that the LORD was with him. Anointed worship places a covering over a servant’s life. David’s worship placed him under the protection of God. Never underestimate the power of your worship. An atmosphere of worship paves the way for the miraculous to take shape.

From the first moment we are introduced to David, we know that he is a worshiper. After all, he wrote a majority of the psalms. When he had nowhere else to turn to, he turned to God in worship. Because of this, David understood that his position and everything that belonged to him was because of the LORD, so that the LORD’s name could be glorified. 2 Samuel 5:12 states, “So David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and that He had exalted His kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.” A servant understands that his/her position is not to make their name known, but to ensure that all attention is directed towards the goodness of his Master. As a servant of the greatest Master, to the King of kings, we should live our lives with a posture that claims, “Did you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” Luke 2:49. David lived out his life in this way, to which the LORD identified David as a “man after my own heart.” I Samuel 13:14 and “My servant David, whom I chose because he kept my commandments and My statues,” I Kings 11:34. From the moment he first started shepherding his father’s field, David understood the importance of obedience, of being about His Father’s business. In walking in obedience to the Master, it led David to a life of favor and blessing. When it comes to ministry and to our every day lives, God is searching for men and women who are after His heartbeat, that in everything that we do, we are here to “seek and save the lost.” Luke 19:10. The life of a shepherd is the greatest calling and responsibility. When we trust God with the sheep in our pasture, with the giftings He has placed in our lives, we can be ensured that He will lead us to claim back territory from the enemy.

In reading 2 Samuel, it’s so incredible to read about how many enemies were delivered into David’s hands. The numbers are truly astounding. Honestly, as you are reading, it’s almost unbelievable. I won’t bore you with the numbers, but when you read something like 22,000 soldiers being delivered into David’s hands, in a matter of a day, you begin to realize that with God, there is nothing too hard for Him. Over and over again, David experienced victory, because he placed his trust in the Word of God. I don’t know what army stands before you today, whether it’s a financial crisis, a family situation, the list goes on, I want you to know that you serve a God who is able to do the impossible. Take out the scriptures and declare them over your life. That’s what David did. And, today, thousands of years later, we can take those words that David sung while he faced his own impossibilities, and declare them over our lives, knowing that we are activating God to fight on our behalf.

There is so much more that we can learn from David’s life, but if there is anything that we takeaway, it is this: In all that we do, we should pursue a servant’s heart. When we come to understand that our lives are not our own, we will be able to step into God’s purpose for our lives. As John 3:30 states, “He must increase, I must decrease.” This is what we are called to every single day of our lives, so that we may walk in the calling of the LORD. When we allow God to lead, there is no telling what God will do.

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