Shepherd So Small

by Joanna Echols, based on 1 Samuel 16-17

“You have the most boring chore.” Eliab looked down at David.

“It’s not always boring,” David told his oldest brother. “Last year I killed a bear that came after the sheep.”

“Yeah, right!” Eliab laughed. He turned to their other brothers. “Remember the time David killed the bear?” The brothers laughed.

David looked at his father, Jesse. Even he doesn’t believe me, David thought.

Be on Your Guard
The next day David sat on a big rock in the hot sun, watching the sheep. He wanted to take a nap, but he remembered his father’s warning.

“When life seems boring,” Jesse had said, “you must be on guard. You never know when an enemy crouches nearby.”

Just then, David heard a low growl. A huge lion sprang from behind a rock.

David ran forward, whirling his sling above his head. Just as the lion pounced, David let his stone fly. It rocketed above a frightened lamb and struck the lion in the head. The beast fell dead, and David cheered.

“You’re safe, little ones!” David patted each wooly head. He picked up his harp and played a tune to calm the shaking sheep.

Should I tell my brothers what happened? David wondered. Or would they just laugh at me again?

God’s Choice
Meanwhile, God had sent the prophet Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king of Israel. When Samuel saw Eliab, he thought Eliab must be God’s choice. Eliab was tall and strong.

But God told Samuel, “Do not consider how handsome or tall he is. I have not chosen him. I look at what is in the heart.”

One by one, Samuel saw all of David’s older brothers. “The Lord hasn’t chosen any of them,” he said. “Jesse, are these the only sons you have?”

“No,” Jesse said. “My youngest son is taking care of the sheep.”

“Send for him,” Samuel said.

“Eliab,” Jesse said, “go watch the sheep and send David here.” Eliab frowned and stomped away.

Before long, David came running.

“Father, I’m here!” David said. “How can I help?”

As Samuel looked at David, he heard God say, “Get up and anoint him. He is the one.”

Not Too Small
David’s big brothers made fun of him, but they didn’t know what God knew. God knew that David was a good shepherd and would be a great king, too. David didn’t become king right away. He did his best at small things until, at just the right time, God made him king.

This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse Jr. magazine. Illustration © Cynthia Decker.