Jump Start #3281
Jump Start # 3281
1 Samuel 17:34-36a “But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear…”
Our verses today tell the chilling story, as David recalls it, of his fighting wild animals to rescue his father’s sheep. David said these words to King Saul. Israel and the king were shaking in their boots because of the threats of the giant, Goliath. Israel and the Philistines were positioned for war. Goliath daily challenged Israel and no one would step up until young David, the shepherd boy, heard those blasphemous taunts from the giant. He was ready. He was willing. God will bring down this Philistine is what raced through the veins of young David. The fate and the future of Israel rested on a one-on-one battle with the warrior giant. There is no way that the king would allow a kid to fight. Our verse is how David convinces Saul to let him fight.
I find it interesting that David said, “a lion or a bear came…” I think I’d have those details very clear in my mind. There would be no “lion OR “bear”. I’d know which one it was. But later David states that he has killed both a lion and a bear. And, notice the details. The lamb was in the lion’s mouth. David grabbed the beard of the lion. Did you notice how close David was to this animal. He didn’t shoot arrows from a hilltop at the lion. He didn’t use a sling from a distance. He grabbed the beard of that beast and fought it to the death and rescued the lamb.
What a great lesson for shepherds in God’s church today.
First, it was just one lamb. Count your losses and run. Save the flock. That’s how many may have thought, but not David. He went after that lion. He saved the lamb. Every lamb matters. He fought the beast. He killed it. Watching the sheep was David’s responsibility. David did what he could to save each and every lamb.
And, that must be the spirit of our shepherds in the kingdom today. Every sheep matters. Even those that are weak and need a lot of attention. Even those that are always wandering off somewhere. Even those that do not listen to the voice of the shepherd. Every sheep matters.
Some get themselves in trouble by their own choices. Some put themselves right where lions are. Even then, even when it’s their own fault, every lamb is worth saving.
Second, the work of shepherding can be dangerous. There is no indication that David had anyone with him. He very likely was all alone. Had he become injured, the sheep couldn’t help him. He could have bled to death. David didn’t think about himself. His focus was upon stopping the lion and saving the sheep.
Sometimes shepherds today will take some heat and criticism by others who do not understand. The critical and gossipy tongue can cause a lot of damage and pain. The shepherd keeps in pursuit until that lost sheep is brought back. The shepherd often has scars. I expect David had many. Battles. Fighting the enemy. Saving the sheep. Those experiences make all the difference. Those experiences gave David the courage to face a giant. Each battle won prepares us for the next battle. Today, we carry scars within our hearts. Battles fought. Lives saved. Enemies defeated. Being a shepherd isn’t for the coward. Shepherds carry scars.
Third, the enemy was destroyed. David tells us that he killed both a lion and a bear. A dead lion is no longer a threat. The storm passed. The trouble was over. The sheep were no help for David in these battles. Today, the battle for truth means that error must be exposed. People need to be taught that spiritual poison kills the soul. Shepherds who lack backbones and are cowardly will see the flock scattered over a dozen hills and the enemy feasting upon what they were to protect. Our battles are spiritual. They are fought and won by the teaching of God’s word. Standing strong and committed to God’s word is the only way these battles can be won. Lions lurk about flocks today. Careless sheep do not see the dangers. Closer and closer the lion approaches the flock. He waits. He waits patiently. He waits for the right moment. And, then in a flash, he’s upon the lamb and it’s in his mouth. The shepherd David saw that. He ran into action. He chased and got the lion and saved the lamb. He then prevented further attacks by destroying the lion.
The scars of a shepherd. Battles fought. Battles won. Sheep saved. And, sheep do not thank a shepherd. Sheep return to doing what sheep do, grazing the fields. But David knew. God knew. One more that wasn’t lost to the enemy.
Great reminders for God’s leaders today.