There is great power when believers in Christ are faithful! In this series of articles, I will show how God chose King David because of his faithful heart and how that faithfulness was sustained in the years to follow. We also must choose choose faithfulness to God if we want God to say on that day, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Faithfulness has its roots in the very character of God. The reason you breathe today is that God is faithful in sustaining you. The reason you why had your Captain Crunch this morning is that God was faithful in producing the grain, and mostly I guess the sugar cane that went into it. God today is faithfully holding the universe in its course. The great hymn writer was right when he penned the words:
Great is thy faithfulness, Oh God my father.
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
Of all the characteristics of God that I am grateful for-I often thank Him for his faithfulness. I depend on Gods faithfulness. It is not within the character of God to be unfaithful. 2 Timothy 2:13 “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” God being unfaithful would mean that he violates his own character. In fact, I would declare that it is impossible for God to be unfaithful. You can depend on him being faithful period. God’s word declares his faithfulness. 1 Corinthians 1:9 “God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.” The very reason you are a believer today is that God by his Holy Spirit faithfully pursued you.
Even when you rejected him…
Even while were a sinner, God commended his love toward you…
Even when you chose your own path…
Even when you thought that the way you were going down was the right way…
Gods faithful love and his faithful provision through the cross, and the faithful wooing of the Holy Spirit pursued you until you said yes to him. God who called you into fellowship with his Son is faithful.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” I will tell you this about God, everything he promises, everything he says will come to pass. That is why you can read this word and believe it. What God promises he will do…take it to the bank, count on it. It is rooted in the character and the nature of God himself.
Here is the point – If we are going to be godly. If we are going to be like Him we also must be faithful. There is power when we choose faithfulness to God. Even in natural things, faithfulness has a huge effect. The dentist will tell you that if you are faithful to floss and brush your teeth will shine. The doctor will tell you that if you are faithful to exercise you get a body that is healthy.
I am going to show you that God puts us all in a process. It is a process where he tests us to see if we are faithful. Now we may not like that part of life.But the truth is we do not get to transition to the next level until we are faithful at the level we are at.
We are going to look in this series at the life of David in the Old Testament. David became a man of great influence. He started as a shepherd boy out tending the sheep. He killed Goliath and from there God chose him to be a warrior and then a King. He became a person with influence.
Acts 13:36 “For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation…” In order for David to serve his purpose, David had to cooperate with God. Many people seem to think that the plan of God will just automatically happen.
Listen, God has chosen to link up with us in a cooperative way. We have a responsibility to do our part as well. I can assure of something today. Just as God had a purpose for David in his generation, God has a plan and a purpose for you in this generation. I can biblically assure of one thing. God desires for you to become a person with influence.
It doesn’t matter if your 12 years old or 20 years old or 40 years old.
It doesn’t matter if you struggle with self esteem.
It doesn’t matter if your self image is that you are on the bottom of life’s totem pole.
It doesn’t matter if you had none of the advantages that others had in their life.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a great education.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a great job.
I am telling on the basis of God’s word today. He wants you to rise to a level of influence that you currently do not have. How can you be so sure? How can that be true for everybody? That may be true for some but it is not true for me. Here is how I know it. Jesus looked at those who believed in him and this is what he said.
Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth.” How many of you know salt has influence. It adds flavor. It melts ice. Salt is an influencer…it can change the entire taste of a meal if it is there.
Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world.” Light is an influencer. Light provides heat. Light provides guidance. Light makes things grow. Light influences what is around it. You are a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. Your light will go out like a beacon to influence others. You don’t light a lamp and stick it under a bowl. You put it on a stand so that all around can see it. Why because light is an influencer. God wants you to have influence. Only eternity will reveal the influence you have. Let’s face the facts, everybody influences somebody.
You influence your family.
You influence your neighbors.
You influence other church members.
You will overtly influence hundreds.
You subtly influence thousands of people across your lifetime.
You may never become a person like Billy Graham who sat before presidents who preached to millions, But that does not negate the purpose that God has for your life. God want to give us the kingdom! Luke 12:32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” I am just declaring to you today, that God has a preferred future for you. It is a place of influence. I tell you on the authority of Gods Word…It is Gods pleasure to give it to you.
I believe that is true for every one of you individually. I believe that is true for us corporately. If that is true, How do we get there? What do we do? If God has a better future for me. If I am called to be salt and light. If I am called to a purpose in my generation. If I am to influence my world, what do I have to do in order to make that happen?
It is not a secret!
The Key is Faithfulness to God!
As you are faithful over a few things, he will give you more, and as you are faithful with that you will transition to something better. Here is what you have to do. You have to do what David did. We are going to look at David’s life in three stages. I hope that you discover that your life follows those same stages. It doesn’t really matter who you are, where you came from, what background you have. You are going to go through these same stages.
The first stage of David’s life was Bethlehem. That is where David learned to be faithful in natural things. That is what we are going to look at in this article.
The second stage of David’s life is characterized by his time in the Cave of Adullam. There was a period of time when David learned to be faithful in adversity.
The third stage of David’s life is found in Hebron. David is now ruling the nation. The question is this. Will David be faithful in how he uses his influence?
Three stages of life. As a believer you will pass through those same stages.
Stage 1- David lived the first years of his life in his Father Jesse’s house in Bethlehem.
The first period of David’s life we don’t really have to much scripture to give us information. But we have just enough information that we can draw a powerful conclusion: David was Faithful in natural things. Let me give you the setting. Saul had been anointed King. By outward appearances, he was everything a King should be. He was a head and shoulders taller than the others. He was dashingly handsome. He looked like he had great leadership potential. But Saul did not turn to be a great King. In fac,t because of his disobedience to God, God rejected him as King. In 1 Samuel 16, God tells Samuel the Prophet to go and anoint a new King over Israel. God does not tell Samuel the name of the new King, just that he will be one of the sons of Jessie in Bethlehem.
And so, Samuel picks us his horn of oil and he goes to anoint the new king. He comes to Bethlehem and Samuel consecrates Jesse and his sons and invites them to join him as they offer sacrifices to the Lord. As they were arriving, Samuel sees David’s eldest brother Eliab and he thinks because of height and masculine appearance surely this is the one.
But the Lord said to Samuel. “Do not consider his appearance or his height. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
They lined up seven of Jessie’s sons and they pass by the prophet. Eliab comes by but he is not the one. Abinidab comes and he is not the one. Shammah comes and he is not the one until all seven have passed in front of the prophet. Finally, Samuel says, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” And he asks, “Are these all of your sons?” Jesse says, “There is still one He is out tending the sheep.” They send for him and he comes in. His name is David.
He comes in before Samuel. He is ruddy meaning that he is reddish in his appearance. He is good looking although quite young. And Samuel he is the one. And in the presence of his brothers, David being the youngest. David being the one who has been given the menial job of tending the sheep is anointed King over Israel.
Now here is the most important question. God did not look at the outward appearance. God looked at his heart. What was it about the heart of David that attracted the Lord? What was it about David’s heart that got his attention?
I contend that David’s heart was a faithful heart. Three reasons why. I can prove it to you from the Word.
David was faithful in three areas in Bethlehem. He was faithful in:
- Tending the sheep.
Some saw sheep tending as common or unimportant. It was considered to be the most menial job in that day. David didn’t look at his job that way. He took it seriously. David’s testimony about that time in his life would later be as it reads in 1 Samuel 17:34 “When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.”
Shepherding sheep was not seen as a dangerous job. It was a menial task given to the youngest son. He was often teased about it. When David went to bring his brothers food at the battle and was considering going out and fighting Goliath, his older brother told him, 1 Samuel 17:28 “With whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert?” And so David was teased about this menial job he had as the little shepherd boy with just a few wittle sheep. Okay?
But you see David obviously did not have a heart to look at his job with the sheep like that. David instead took the time out there to do something productive. He took his sling, which by the way in those days was considered to be a boys toy. Not really the weapon of a man. But David day after day as he tended the sheep, David faithfully practiced with the slingshot. Until he was a dead eye.
And the day came when a bear and a lion came. He took that sling shot and went after them and defended his father’s sheep. Where other shepherds may have ran and then reported, I had to run to save my life. David was prepared. Who wouldn’t have understood if a 12 or 14 year old boy was running from a bear or a lion. But David said, I am going to be faithful to do the job given even if it costs me my life.
Here is the point: God was looking for someone to shepherd his people Israel. God could look into that heart and know this. If he is faithful to defend the sheep as a boy, then he will be faithful to defend my people as a man when he begins to rule. If he is faithful to care for the sheep, he will be faithful to care for my flock. David was faithful in the natural things. That is why God could trust him with influence later on in his life.
Let me give you another natural thing David was faithful at. David was faithful in
- Playing the harp
I have never played the harp, however, I have played just enough musical instruments that you don’t get any good without being what? FAITHFUL to practice. We have phenomenal musicians in the church I pastor. They didn’t just come in here yesterday and start playing. They are faithful to practice.
Where some may have toyed with playing the harp. David the musician who would become the psalmist of Israel determined in himself. He said, I am going to play this thing until I master it. I am going to play this thing until I get really good at it. The day came when Saul being rejected by God was tormented by and evil spirit was advised that music could soothe him. 1 Samuel 16:17 “So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays (the harp) well and bring him to me.”
They found David and brought him before the King. You must be pretty good if your harp brings you before kings. But here is the key. You have to be faithful in the natural things in order for God to trust you to go before Kings. I don’t know if you are seeing a pattern here. When you are faithful in natural things it leads you to bigger and better opportunities. Let me give you yet a third area where David was faithful
He was faithful in
- Obeying his father.
God’s Word just gives us little pieces of David’s life during the time in his father’s house as he was growing up. Now remember, David had been anointed King over Israel. The Spirit of the Lord had come on David from that day in power. Here is what we find. David is now sometimes in the service of Saul as his harp player/armor bearer. And the rest of the time he is still tending to his father’s sheep. One day dad calls him in and gives him a job to do. Remember Dad is now telling a king what to do. The moment a person was anointed King by a prophet…that was powerful… there was no doubt…David would become king.
1 Samuel 17:17,20 “Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp…Early in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed.”
How many of you see the faithful heart of David? He didn’t argue. He didn’t say, I have been anointed King. You don’t send a King to be a delivery boy. Why don’t you send someone else. But we do see David, getting up early, following the exact directions of his father. We see him being directed by his Father Jesse.
God was looking for a heart like that. Because God knew that here is a young man who obeys his father. He respects authority. He does what he is told. He heart is a heart that is faithful. God had to be thinking…I can use a young man like that.
Faithfulness in natural things will give you opportunities you never dreamed of. Faithfulness to God is often seen in how faithful we are in the natural things of life. How many of you are seeing what I see in this scripture? As David was doing something as natural as obeying his Father in humility. God brought him before Goliath and opened a door of opportunity. David fought Goliath and won and soon they were singing this chant in the streets.
Saul has killed his thousands.
But David his ten thousands.
Three Truths to ponder:
- THE FIRST TEST YOU HAVE IN LIFE IS TO BE FAITHFUL IN NATURAL THINGS.
A lot of people despise the fact that God has them doing something in some realm that seems like it is just the natural thing of life. Just think for a moment of all the natural things in life that have power. Let’s talk about some natural things in life for a moment that if you are faithful in them it has great power.
How about money? Dave Ramsey is teaching us here in our course, that if you are faithful to save ten-15 percent of your money in a mutual fund, if you are faithful to tithe ten percent, live off your spending plan. In the end you will have more, in fact, he can basically prove to you, that if you start young enough, you can become a very wealthy person. What is the key? The key is your faithfulness in the natural thing of money.
In Luke Jesus said if you can trusted to be faithful in handling little. You can be trusted to be faithful in handling much. If you dishonest with little…you will be dishonest with much. He went on to say in Luke 16:11 “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”
Jesus is saying, there are riches that are spiritual riches that are far more important than just money. If you can’t be faithful with your money…do you think I am going entrust true riches, true responsibility, true wealth to you?
If you want to get to a place of influence, then what you have to do is learn how to be faithful in the natural things of life.
Another natural area is in your studies. You may say, I don’t like Geometry. I don’t like Algebra. I don’t Like Integrated Physics and Chemistry. Study and be faithful anyway. Because your faithful will transition you into a greater place of influence and leadership later on. You can go to a better college. You will get a better job. You will be smarter. You will get ahead faster. Your parents aren’t sending you to school just to get you out of the house. Amen?
And then, this is also true in the spiritual realm. I don’t know of any church in America where the bulk of the people don’t want others to come to know Christ. Of course they want that! But God says to us…those are true riches…if you want to transition to that level…be faithful in the natural area. That natural area is simply in being a friend. We have to be faithful to take someone who needs Jesus to lunch. Do it consistently twice a month for a year. Get to know them. Love them in Jesus name. Your faithfulness in natural things will show God you are ready to do some really important like making a disciples.
Some would say:
I want to see miracles and people healed.
I want to see the lame get up and walk.
I want to see the blind healed.
I want my shadow to heal the sick.
God says, first, I want to know. Are you faithful in the natural things? Are you able to warmly welcome someone to the house of God? Do you love those with whom you worship? Are you friendly or stand-off-ish? You can’t care about someone at the spiritual level unless you first show God, I can love them at this natural level.
Someone says, I just wish I could influence lots of people for God. Here is what you do. Get a class. But pastor there are only two in the class. It doesn’t seem worth the effort to work so hard in preparation just for two. Be on time, be prepared. Prepare like you are teaching 10,000. Don’t Despise having to be faithful in natural things, the place of smaller service because that is the training ground for something more influential.
David first had to be faithful in tending the sheep, obeying his father, before God gave him opportunity to rule a nation.
Let me give you another Truth to ponder:
2. FAITHFULNESS IN NATURAL THINGS WILL PRODUCE CONFIDENCE
You see this so beautifully illustrated in the life of David. He was brought before the Kings with his harp, but he wasn’t worried about it, he played that harp with such confidence and with such beauty and with such anointing that the Saul felt relief from the evil spirit that troubled him.
It is when you have some wins underneath your belt that you feel confident to take on the giants.
I Samuel 17 is really one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. I would love to preach from it every week. Because there is David and he is simply doing what he has always done. Running favors for his father. And he comes to the camp of the Israelites and as he arrives he sees that armies of Israel occupy one hill. The Philistines occupy the other hill across the valley. And there in the valley is a 9 foot tall giant by the name of Goliath. He is cursing the God of Israel. He is challenging any person to come out and fight him. No one has the confidence to fight this giant of a man.
And as David sees the giant, and he hears his threat, his immediate question is, “What will be given to the man who goes out to fight this Philistine.” Those around him tell him that he will be given the kings daughter in marriage and his family won’t have to pay any taxes. David is like, All right man…where are some stones? He had confidence to fight the giant!
The question is where did he get the confidence to a fight a nine foot tall giant? Some would say, he was just born naturally that way. Others would say, he just took a big risk and made it. Remember, this was not really a full grown man. Both Saul and Goliath refer to him as a boy in this chapter.
I contend that he had the confidence because the faithfulness in his life had produced victories. Had he never fought the bear, had he never fought the Lion, he wouldn’t have had the confidence to fight Goliath. Faithfulness in your life will produce confidence. How did Tiger Woods gain such confidence in the game of golf? Faithfulness in practicing his swing. How does Steph Curry shoot with such confidence? Faithfulness in practicing.
Let me close with a third point to ponder.
3. FAITHFULNESS OPENS UP BIGGER AND BETTER DOORS
This is really the point I have wanted you to see throughout this entire message. Had David not been faithful in his shepherding, and not been faithful in obeying his father. Had David not been faithful to gain confidence by killing a bear and a lion. David would not have been prepared when a Goliath stood in his path.
Of course you know…David killed Goliath. He slew the giant. That one act propelled David into an entirely different dimension of life. Faithfulness will open up doors for you that you never dreamed of.