In 2nd Samuel chapter five, we see the establishment of David as king over all of Israel. This didn’t happen all at once. There was a long process between the time David was anointed by Samuel to be king as a young man and when David becomes the king of all Israel in Jerusalem. The process was a time of preparation, where both David and the children of Israel come to a place where they were ready to receive David as king.
The David who is anointed by Samuel is not the mighty man of war that we read about later. He is an insignificant lad who is tending the sheep of his father. He is not even considered by his own family as anything special and is forgotten when the rest of the family attended the special sacrificial feast that the prophet Samuel showed up at. David had no accomplishments to put on a ‘resume’ in order to become the king of Israel.
God, however, sees the heart. He examined this boy and found something that He did not find in any of his brothers. We do not know the details about his battles with the lion and bear that he fought to protect his sheep. But we know that these hidden battles early on in life gave him a testimony that he carried with him into battle with the giant later on. He struggled against a strong adversary where no one could witness his bravery, and he experienced first-hand a God who gave him the victories. God saw the heart of a boy who cared so much for the dumb sheep entrusted into his care, he could be trusted to care for His people also.
The foundation of David’s life which was laid in this lonely time is where he found God to be a special companion. He may have become familiar with the stories that he had heard about God’s dealings with the Patriarchs and his ancestors. He may have even been like others who revered and worshiped this God of his fathers. But in the lonely place where David is of little significance, he experienced God in a way others didn’t. His extraordinary confidence in his personal relationship with a great God is why David’s courage stands out. When everyone else retreats in fear, David runs towards the challenge of the giant:
“You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Sam 17:45-47, NKJV)
God desires us to know him in the same way that David did. His call is not to just hear stories about Him from others, or even participate in distant worship and reverence. Not that these are bad things, but we miss out if we do not seek out more. It is in experiencing God in your own circumstances, and seeing His hand at work in your own life that enables you to become all that He has called you to be.