Men that matter have courage.
David was just a shepherd. He was the youngest of eight sons and had the role of shepherd boy for the family. The role of shepherd wasn’t a glorious one. It was often a lonely job where your only companions, the sheep, couldn’t converse with you. It involved cold nights and hot days watching and taking care of the smelly sheep. It just doesn’t sound like a significant place for this young man, who had been anointed to be the King of Israel earlier by the prophet, Samuel, to spend most of his time (1 Samuel 16). Don’t get me wrong; it was an important job. It just wasn’t glorious, and it wasn’t necessarily easy or safe. Shepherds have to protect their sheep from predators. According to Scripture, lions and bears had attempted to kill his family’s sheep. Still, the role of shepherd did not bring accolades and praise. But, it was in this role as a shepherd that God built in David the faith and courage that led him to defeat Goliath.
We read in 1 Samuel 17 that young David was sent to check on his older brothers who were serving in Saul’s army. The insignificant shepherd was just delivering grain and bread to his brothers under the orders of his Father, but then he saw Goliath. The opportunity to do something that matters presented itself to this young man. It would take courage. Doing something that matters does. And in a moment when the King asked him how he would be able to defeat Goliath when he was just the youngest of eight who was in charge of the sheep, David recalled what God had already been doing in him in the lonely pastures with the sheep.
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it, and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it, and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” (1 Samuel 17:34-37)
We read in 1 Samuel 17:41-44 that Goliath taunted David and said that he would kill him on this day. And then we see this courageous young man declare the origin of his confidence and courage… the name of the Lord Almighty.
45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. (1 Samuel 17:45)
We read in 1 Samuel 17 that David defeated Goliath. If we had been there, we would have wondered where this incredibly brave young man came from. But God had been working in him for quite a while. God used the long and lonely days that seemed so insignificant in the pasture guarding the sheep, along with the scary moments of defending the sheep from predators, to develop in David the courage to defeat the giant.
Men that matter are men who are courageous. He knows that God does not waste his past experiences. He knows that the scars and wounds of the past can be used in significant ways to lead his family, career, and his friends. David knows that God’s faithfulness in the past can give courage for his present and future. He can run toward the Goliath in his life with courage and confidence that God will lead him to become everything that He has created him to become. Men that matter are men of courage. Look for the opportunities around you today to allow God to use you in courageous ways.