Equipped for an unknown giant

Oct 10, 2017 by

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The boy was the youngest of his family, with seven brothers older. One of his jobs as a youngster and teenager was tending to his father’s sheep. It had to be a lonely job with no one to talk to, spending hours outside in the hot sun, making sure the sheep were protected and cared for while his older brothers had more important jobs to do.

How many years did he do this? No one knows. It seems the job had been passed down from brother to brother until it came to the youngest — where it stayed. He could not have known that this was how God was equipping him for his future.

The lad spent a lot of time outdoors with little to do for entertainment, except when wild animals came to threaten the flock. No doubt, he spent hours alone, practicing his aim with his shepherd’s slingshot. Perhaps he tried to see how far or how high his sling could make a stone fly. Perhaps he aimed for distant birds or a crevice in a tree or a rock. Obviously, he became skilled in what he did, for when the time came to defend the flock against a lion, and later a bear, he was fully capable. Obviously, he recognized that the hand of the Lord was on him. How else would he have been able to rescue a lamb from the mouth of that lion?!

Who would have thought that one day this boy would become known the world over? Who would have thought he’d ever become someone of distinction. He was the youngest, and his job was in the fields with his father’s smelly sheep — or so his brothers told him. Who would have thought God was using a herd of sheep in equipping him for later battles?

His oldest brothers had positions of importance in the king’s army. Their father obviously cared about them, for he inquired of their health and welfare by sending his youngest son to be his gofer. The young man took bread and cheese as a gift and traipsed across the miles to check on his older brothers.

Equipped with a slingshot and faith

When he arrived, he found out about that giant. His name was Goliath, and he easily stood a yard taller than David.

David did not become a fearless warrior overnight. His journey from Bethlehem to the valley of Elah did not a warrior make. His equipping had developed years earlier as a sheepherder. The young man’s faith and lack of fear was a result of those months and years tending his father’s sheep.

That is why he did not need the king’s armor or shield. David recognized that he had never “tested” that equipment. Because of his past experiences tending his father’s sheep, he could go forward in faith. A slingshot had been his weapon in the past, and he had proved it over and over again. David knew that this battle was the Lord’s.

God had been equipping and preparing him for years as he faithfully fulfilled his lowly responsibility- shepherding sheep. His faith and lack of fear was a result of those months and years he tended his father’s sheep. Instead of doing a sloppy job because no one was watching, David became a great sheepherder. It is certain that God took notice of this young man and his faithfulness. His practice caring for the sheep of his father prepared him to become a warrior and a king.

Whose battle are you fighting?

Where is God taking you in your journey of faith?

Are you becoming acquainted with his heart so that others will declare you to be a man or woman after God’s own heart?

Is your faith becoming real and genuine from facing the bears and lions in your life, or are you resentful of where God is asking you to tend sheep?

Are you zoning in to become the best marksman you can be so that, should God call you to slay a giant of mammoth proportions, your skill and your faith will be ready and alert?

Where does God have you so he can better equip you to serve in his kingdom?

Gert Slabach is a member of Faith Mennonite Church in South Boston, Va., which is part of Mountain Valley Mennonite Churches. She blogs at My Windowsill, where this post first appeared.


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