There have been times in my life when I wished for fame and fortune. How wonderful would it be to win an Oscar, Noble Prize, or a Mega Millions Lottery jackpot; to have people know who you are, care about what you think, and to have the resources to travel and do whatever you want! Then I read the story of David (1 & 2 Samuel) and I think perhaps I’m better off living an obscure and average life!
David was a lowly shepherd, the youngest of eight sons, when Samuel showed up at his father’s house. God had led Samuel to the house of Jesse to find King Saul’s replacement and as soon as he saw David, God said, “Rise and anoint him; he is the one.” 1 Samuel 16:12.
Can you imagine what that was like? One minute you’re minding the sheep, playing your harp, and fending off wild animals with your slingshot; the next, you are being anointed as “the one.” Then he is summoned to play his harp for King Saul which places him in the right spot to defeat the Philistine, Goliath. He went from total obscurity to a hero living in the King’s palace, then finally to King of Israel. Some would call that a “Cinderella” story.
And like Cinderella, David had a bumpy ride to his happily ever after. As King, he had adoration, wealth, power, and most importantly, God’s blessing. I can’t help but wonder if that kind of absolute power led to his lusting after Bathsheba and then having her husband, Uriah, killed. David played a hefty price tag for his sin. His first born son to Bathsheba got sick and died. His eldest son, Amnon, raped and disgraced his half-sister, Tamar. Her brother and David’s favorite son, Absalom, killed Amnon. Then finally Absalom is killed after he rose up against David, driving him out of Jerusalem, and almost taking the throne. I can’t help but wonder if during these trials; David didn’t long for the good old days – minding the sheep had to be easier than commanding armies and ruling a nation.
Throughout the Bible and history, we read of Kings and rulers who become consumed with their own power and who become corrupt. I certainly can understand how that can happen. We are human and it takes a strong person to not get caught up in the hype. Luckily David had men like Nathan to remind him of his sin and in the end, he repented and was forgiven. But I also think, deep in his heart, he was still that simple shepherd who loved God with all his heart and that part of him won out.
I’ll admit I still would like to win the lottery and I occasionally buy a ticket. But it’s okay if I never win because I’m content with my simple, uncomplicated life. God has put me exactly where I need to be and given me exactly what I need to have. Just like a good shepherd.