A word in the wilderness

If I had to choose a favorite Bible character, it would be David.  His intimacy with God, his praise and worship prowess, and his slaying of Goliath are a given, but I’m more focused on what happened before he whacked the giant.

In 1 Samuel 17, David carries supplies from his dad to his brothers in the Israeli troops.  When he asks what’s the reward for slaying Goliath, David’s oldest brother Eliab lashes out at him, asking him what he had done with “that scrawny flock of sheep” in the wilderness that he was supposed to be tending.


Ouch.  Big brother’s words were harsh, but David stayed on point and eventually took out Goliath and won the favor of King Saul.

I sense that David was the “child of a lesser god” in his family.  When Samuel goes to the house of Jesse to find and anoint the new king after Saul’s disobedience, Daddy Jesse trots out all his sons minus one.   David was an afterthought!  

So David probably did spend a lot of time with “his few sheep in the wilderness,” but that’s probably where he developed the spiritual wherewithal that he would need as King of Israel.  God was doing a work in him in those solitary days.

What do you do when you’re on your own with few resources and fewer prospects?  

Been there; done that.  Still doing it.  

I think of work challenges in which dwindling funds and staff leave one wondering what in blue blazes is going on.  Blogging stirs up similar feelings from time to time.  

I believe David got a word in the wilderness that sustained him then and throughout his struggles.  His verbal resume to Saul demonstrates that his strength and courage were fine-tuned under duress and with help from God alone.

What’s the correct response, a la David, to the word that God might be depositing in your spirit during your time in the wilderness with your “few sheep”?

  • Maintain humility and perseverance under hardship.

Have you received a word while in the wilderness?  How did it change your perspective?


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