He was the youngest of Jesse's sons. A shepherd by trade. Not your typical choice for a king. But God's plans don't follow man's logic. As the prophet, Samuel, stood before Jesse, one likely candidate after another passed before him. God made it clear to Samuel that He had not chosen any of these young men to be king. Samuel heard the doubt in Jesse's voice when he responded to Samuel's inquiry about other children, "There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep" (1 Samuel 16:11; KJV). Jesse hadn't even thought to call his youngest son, David, to this special gathering, automatically ruling him out as a potential candidate for king.
When David arrived from the fields where he had been tending his father's sheep, the Lord's response to Samuel was immediate, "Arise, anoint him: for this is he" (1 Samuel 16:12). In obedience, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David, "and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward" (1 Samuel 16:13). Chosen by God. The next king of Israel.
Put yourself in David's shoes, or sandals, if you will. One day you're tending your father's sheep, and the next thing you know, the renowned prophet of the Lord appears at your door, vial in hand, and as the lukewarm oil drips off your hair, the Spirit of the Lord grips you! Dozens of questions must have filled David's mind. He certainly didn't feel like a king. How soon would he be moving into the palace? Who would take care of his father's sheep? What would his responsibilities include?
The transition from field to palace spanned many years. Each trial David encountered shaped him for the throne. He proved himself to be devoted to God, and no-doubt developed a close relationship with his Heavenly Father as he spent hours in solitude caring for and protecting his father's sheep. He was a skilled marksman with a slingshot. Yet the same hands that were able to take life, were able to enrich life with beautiful music. David was a talented harpist. He was called upon to use his musical ability when King Saul was tormented with an evil spirit. The beautiful music was able to sooth his soul. What thoughts must have raced through David's mind as he played in Saul's presence, knowing that someday he would occupy the throne!
David's zeal for the Lord was again apparent when he faced the Philistine giant, Goliath. David was incensed that this pagan would dare curse the God of the Israelites. As they drew near one another in battle, David spoke confidently, "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. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand...that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel" (1 Samuel 17:45-46). A great victory was won in Israel that day!
The people now credited David with the slaughter of the Philistines. Saul saw the people's response and jealousy was swift to follow. David became a 'wanted' man. Hunted by King Saul, and on the run for his life, David became a skilled warrior in the process. Each skill he was acquiring would be essential for his reign as king. At least fifteen years passed between David's initial anointing and when he took the throne. Each trial he encountered served to prepare him for the job God had for him.
The writer's journey to publication is no different. Seldom is a writer awarded a contract without a lot of hard work and effort. The journey is a long one, fraught with successes and failures along the way. Being willing to invest the time and discipline necessary to hone the craft are essential. Writing, editing, and re-writing are all part of the mix. Rejections mold character and perseverance. Attending conferences, making connections and learning my own strengths and weaknesses further prepares me for what God has laid before me. Although I have no idea how long it will take for my dream of publication to become a reality, I am confident, like David, that each hurdle I encounter along the way will serve to prepare me to be a better writer!
How about you? Can you see how God is orchestrating things in your life, to better prepare you for the job He's calling you to do? I'd love to hear about it!