“Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage.”
Shepherding was not a glamorous role in the ancient world, but it was a necessary one. Long hours spent alone in harsh conditions provided a tremendous amount of time for solitary reflection, something that caused ancient shepherds to gain a reputation for social awkwardness. No one liked them, no one wanted them around, and no one wanted to do that job…essential though it may have been.
David was a shepherd, precisely because he was nothing special. The youngest of eight sons, David had no hope of inheriting much of anything from his father, being the least important member of his family. When his brothers went off to fight with the King against the Army of the Philistines, David was forced to stay behind and Guard the sheep. No glamour, no glory, no hope of helping to defend his people. Un-acclaimed, unnoticed, and unknown, David would stand vigilant, day after day, protecting his charge from lions and bears with no one present to see his victories, no one to cheer his courage…
…no one but God. In the boredom and monotony of his daily grind, God was shaping David…day after day, lion after lion, bear after bear…into the leader that God knew that Israel would, one day, need. God knew that a day would come when Israel would need a leader who could only be forged in the fires that come from the crucible of the daily grind. Through the monotony of the ordinary, God was shaping David into a hero who would, one day, stand before the fiercest warrior ever to walk the earth; into a King who would begin the dynasty through which the God of heaven and earth would return to save His people; into a leader who had been unknowingly forged in the fires of the ordinary.
Over thousands of years, David’s legacy has inspired billions of people. Children of all generations have heard the story of David…the shepherd whose experiences uniquely prepared him to stand against Goliath when no one else could find the courage to do so.
The next time that you question the crucible of your daily grind, remember that God may very well be preparing you for what is to come, for a calling that can only be lived out by someone who has been forged in the fires of the ordinary.