When Is It Right to Leave those Few Sheep?
I Samuel 17:28 . . . and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart;
Many times people will advise you on the proven pathway. Usually this is sound advice, but when God is trying to do more with your life than your advisers can possibly understand you will have to “pull all the stops”. You, like David may have to leave a good work to go to a better one. You may have to leave a small job for a bigger one. You may have to leave the familiar to accomplish the miraculous. As you march off there will be those who say you have quit. Others will condemn you for doing what they should have already done, helpfully pointing out the fact that you, of all people, are not qualified to do such a challenging work.
David Left Those Few Sheep In the Wilderness first of all because his father commanded him to do so.
I Sam 17:20 And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.
Secondly, we notice from this action that David went through the doors that were open to him.
In this he was obedient. David left the sheep with a keeper because his father had other plans for him. David wanted to Help
I Sam 17:22 And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
David left his carriage with a keeper because he was on a mission. He was Optimistic.
I Sam 17:35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered [it] out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught [him] by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. He believed he could slay Goliath in the name of God!
I Sam 17:32 And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. His previous experience gave him confidence. Â 17:34 And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered [it] out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught [him] by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 36 Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. 37 David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.
Thirdly, David was Successful with the Task at Hand. He was motivated with purpose.
I Sam 17:29 And David said, What have I now done? [Is there] not a cause? He was unwilling to change his methods just because he had a bigger job. Â 17:39 And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved [it]. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved [them]. And David put them off him. The same weapons God used to deliver him in the past were good enough for the challenge at hand. He did not need a bigger sword.
I Sam 17:40 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling [was] in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
- FIVE is number of books in the LAW.
- FIVE is the number of GRACE, but most Importantly,
- FIVE was the number of giants from Gath. David picked his five smooth stones He used what he was skillful with and committed his works to the Lord.
I Sam 17:45 Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. 46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.
David was eager to be used by the Lord.
I Sam 17:48 And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
He finished the task he started.
I Sam 17:51 Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled.
Finally, David Got promoted without asking for it. Abner (the captain of the host of Israel!) brought him before the king!
I Sam 17:57 And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. David won his best friend for life that day. Â 18:1 And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.
David never went back “to those few sheep.” David’s alleged “naughtiness” was blessed by God in a very unusual way! We are not told whether or not David loved keeping his father’s sheep. One could conclude by his actions that he loved his father more than he loved his father’s sheep. The fact is that he loved his father more than anything; more than the simple job, left to the youngest; more than the security of staying at home; more than the comfort of his father’s house; more than the ridicule of his brothers and more than the threat of violence from his father’s enemies.
When I think of missionaries, and the task they have signed up for, I cannot help but think of David and his predicament. He was out of favor with his brethren, the army, and his enemies. The only one who was “for” him was his father, and he was out of sight. Our missionaries, like David, face unbelievable huge obstacles. They are willing to go through the doors that are open to them. They have been successful at the tasks they have had at hand and are ready to leave their comfort zone at their father’s call and face the battles yet unknown to them. Personally, I admire every one of them. I give to faith promise missions in my local church to help them, and I am eager to see how the Lord will use them for His glory on the battlefield. I want to “shout for the battle” as they march off. I don’t want to be caught scorning them, discouraging them, nor hurting them in any way. They are God’s Champions. They are doing what the majority of us either cannot, or will not do. They have left the few sheep in the wilderness and marched off to war with the enemies of their heavenly father. I know in the future we will see them promoted in God’s time and in God’s way. I say “Amen” to it now, before their success stories are lived out. I want to go with them by prayer and by faith. I expect them to succeed and I will not be surprised at their success. I would be like Jonathan, for them, whose soul was “knit together” with David in his courageous obedience to his father’s commands.