In an effort to be done with these devotionals in 40 days, I need to pick up the pace. I don’t have time to draw out everything in each chapter. I’ll share what stands out to me. Feel free to write me with your questions. – Remy
Chapter 18 relates the great success that David had in his early days. This is where you see his gifts, calling, and natural talent all come together.
David was successful wherever Saul sent him. Saul put him in charge of the fighting men. This pleased all the people, including Saul’s officials. As they arrived, David was returning from a campaign against the Philistines. Women from all of Israel’s cities came to meet King Saul. They sang and danced, accompanied by tambourines, joyful music, and triangles. The women who were celebrating sang, “Saul has defeated thousands but David tens of thousands!”1 Samuel 18:5-7
There is often a pattern to God’s calling of a leader. First you see their success. Then comes the test. Initially they make an impact…almost effortlessly. This does two things: one, it encourages them to pursue leadership. Two, it establishes them as a leader in the eyes of others. These are both important.
But God doesn’t use people simply because they have talent. He requires character as well. No one develops character from success. They develop it through trial.
The Leadership Ladder
The balance between talent and character was explained to me once with two ladders. A leader climbs two side-by-side ladders at the same time: one leg on each ladder. One ladder is the Skill ladder. The other ladder is the Character ladder. One leg can’t get ahead of the other. As your skills develop, your character needs to also develop, and vice versa. Having all skill, or all character, won’t get the job done. You can only climb the ladders when both skills and character are developed simultaneously.
David showed us his skills. But God needed to develop his character.
God tested David’s character as Saul chased after him. How do you respond to the nasty person that is always out to get you? The person that never has a kind word? The person that wants to undermine you? How you respond reflects your character.
When you find yourself irritated with people or your circumstances, ask God to use them to develop your character. The quicker you can ask that question, the quicker you pass the test.
Who is Your Encourager?
When tests come, it seems like God always sends at least one person to be your encourager. Jonathan was that person to David. If you are going through a hard time, look for that person. If you can’t find one, call your pastor! I never want anyone going through a tough time alone.
Who has encouraged you through a tough time in the past? Have you ever thanked them? If you are going through a hard time now, do you need to invite someone into your life as your encourager? They may not know you need the encouragement unless you ask them.
Prayer: Father, help me to develop the character and skills you want me to have to become the person you want me to be. Help me submit to the irritations in my life and embrace them as your work in my life. And show me who my encouragers are so I don’t have to face problems alone. Give me the courage to invite people into my mess. Amen.