“He does what he wants, when he wants, how he wants. He places and removes kings, gives and take away.” (Daniel 2:21 RSV)
Unless this is your first time checking this thing out, you know that I am in Charlotte, North Carolina. When I trace the steps backwards I could list the specific events that brought me here. But like many of you and where you are at, I am amazed at how, in fact, I arrived here. None of my background should indicate that I am in soccer at 26 years of age. As most of you know I was, I am, a baseball guy. I had a decent high school career and I was going to play college ball. God had other plans. Long story short, here I am!
Do you ever feel like this? Do you find yourself wondering, ‘How the heck did I get here?’ Yeah…it happens to me a lot.
As a matter of fact, I am sitting in the midst of a ‘what on earth am I doing here’ moment in my life. Despite a past littered with God’s faithfulness I find myself wondering what he has in store for me next. What skills, what abilities, what passions has He put in my life that He can use – how will he in fact use them?
This morning I was reading about king David, before he was actually king. I read about his anointing as king by Samuel and his battle against Goliath. I had read these before. I am not trying to take away from those realities, or the awesomeness of our God. The fact that the Lord looks at the heart as opposed to the outward appearance (1 Sam 16:7) should offer a guy like me encouragement. The fact that ‘the battle is the Lord’s’ is amazing. The reality that God simply doesn’t wage war the way man does is nothing short of awesome.
And yet today what stood out is a musical instrument.
Not even a cool one. Not an electric guitar, a set of drums, or even an awesome voice.
No, what stood out more than anything else was a harp.
After Samuel has oiled David’s head and anointed him the next King of Israel, there is a section in 1 Samuel before what I like to call “David Takes Off.” Before Goliath, before fleeing from Saul, before Bathsheba, before ‘David as we know him’ happens, he is called into Saul’s court.
He is not sought out because of his shepherding abilities, his military prowess, or even his good looks. Starting in chapter 16:14, we see that the Spirit of the Lord has left Saul. Additionally, the verse before we find out that the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.
Because the Spirit is one of power and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7), it makes sense that when it has departed, fear exists. While Saul is being tormented his advisors suggest that someone come and play the harp for him in order to soothe his mind. In liking the suggestion, Saul asks where a good harp player might be found. His advisors suggestion?
He was brought into the presence of the king because of his ability to play the harp.
Not his military experience.
Not a knowledge of Samuel’s anointing.
Not because he has done a great job as a shepherd.
No, he is made known to his predecessor for the first time because he can soothe his mind and spirit by playing his harp.
God does not need an election to name a king.
As a matter of fact, it seems the pre-requisite for service to God is obedience. Not how tall or talented we are; not what kind of degree we have earned. Throughout the scriptures God takes people from circumstances you wouldn’t believe and uses them to further his cause.
He takes a speechless nomad and initiates the greatest escape of all time.
He uses a coward and traitor to start his church.
He initiates growth in his body with a murdering anti-believer.
He introduces a king; a forefather of his own Son, with a harp.
God is in the business of doing things for his Glory. I too easily forget this. Despite the own promise in my life, the anointing over me, I look at circumstances and daily realities and wonder how on earth God can use them. In the midst of struggle and question I often think how badly I’ve messed things up, how God could never use my situation.
And yet this story screams back, no way. As a matter of fact, all of the scriptures echo back the same sentiment. In the midst of my wandering journey, God is crying out “I love you. I am going to do great things with you.” It is in this reality that I must find peace. As confusing as my current situation is, we serve a God that introduces kings not with red carpet and trumpet processions, but rather stringed instruments.
Maybe I should learn how to play the harp…