[Psa 23:4-5 NKJV] 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You [are] with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
A Shepherd Before A King
There are few who have not heard of the ancient account of David, King of Israel. He became the most famous of Israel’s kings, and the telling of his battle against Goliath may well be one of the most well known stories even to this day. To those of us who know the story, we know that David began as a small shepherd boy –overlooked by his father and brothers but not forgotten by the Lord.
It is said that God found him and called him because “the LORD looks at the heart.”
[1Sa 16:7 NKJV] 7 But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For [the LORD does] not [see] as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Where did David learn the heart of God? It was alone in the wilderness tending the sheep of his father –guiding them and protecting them against harm. To be a shepherd in his day was not so romantic as it may now seem, but rather was to be the lowliest of servants and among the most of the socially reproached. Usually the job of shepherd wasn’t given to someone of the family, but rather to that of a servant. It was a dirty, lonely, and dangerous job. When God called David to be anointed king by the prophet Samuel all his brothers were rejected despite their apparently superior appearance. When Samuel asked if all the brothers were there Jesse replied, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.”
Keeping the Sheep
The Bible commentator David Guzik has this to say about keeping the sheep,
Does God have you keeping the sheep right now? Are you in a humble, lowly, servant’s place, but feel that God has called you to greater things? If He has, it will only be fulfilled as you are faithful in keeping the sheep right where you are at. This isn’t waiting time, this is training time. David was a great man, and a great king over Israel, because he never lost his shepherd’s heart.
Training not Waiting
There is a time where God has us wait for certain things, and we are to wait expectantly. But there are also many times where God has us in training and we didn’t even know it. He has us in tough circumstances, humiliating even at times. But God is building in you a heart after his own and preparing you for that calling that you have yet to know. So wait, but be encouraged to know that even David was a shepherd before a king. You may not be where you want to be now, but more important is who you are when you get there. You are being prepared, so leave the calling up to God and trust in Him and His timing.