The Heart of a Shepherd

David said, “I’ve been a shepherd, tending sheep for my father. Whenever a lion or bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I’d go after it, knock it down, and rescue the lamb. ... And I’ll do the same to this Philistine pig who is taunting the troops of God. [1Samuel 17:34-36 MSG]

I love the type of person that God chose to fight the giant. Not a seasoned warrior but a shepherd boy. Not one trained in the art of war but one seasoned in the art of caring for helpless animals. Though similarities exist, the warrior and the shepherd are very different. One attacks. One defends.

As David speaks to King Saul we hear the heart of a shepherd. One who cares more about the safety of his flock than his own safety. One who understands the call to defend the helpless. A person who understand what it means to love sacrificially. Such is the one who is called to fight giants.

Lord, help us to develop the heart of a shepherd that we might defend those who are the weakest among us.

... this devotion is part of a series about King David.

The Ridiculousness of the Heart

Don’t be ridiculous—you can’t fight the Philistine. You’re only a youth, and he has been a warrior since his childhood. You lack age and experience. [1Samuel 17:33 VOICE]

Age. Experience. These are the qualities that the brain values. These are the things that managers look for in professional resumes. Yet these are not the things that make great leaders. Or soldiers. Or software designers. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates did not change the world because of age and experience.

These two titans of computer engineering changed the world because they had what David had. They had heart. They had passion. Like David they embraced courage and believed that giants, like IBM, would fall before their passion. Such is the example we have in David. He had a ridiculous heart.

I want to have a ridiculous heart Lord. I want to see the possibilities. I want to defeat giants.

... this devotion is part of a series about King David.

Let no one lose Heart

“Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” ... “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” [1Samuel 17:26,32 NIV]

Some time has passed since Samuel anointed David king. Life has gone back to normal for young David. Back to caring for his Dad's sheep. Back to the daily grind. Back to taking provisions to his brothers as they fight the Philistines. And then Goliath appeared before him and revealed David's heart.

There is something about giants that bring the best or worst out of us. Giants cause us to either lose heart or take heart. And, in this moment of challenge, we see the very best of David as he takes heart. As courage rises from the very depths of his being. It reminds me to feed my faith. And my courage.

In you Lord I find the faith to fight the giants in my life. Arise in me today that I might slay my fears.

... this devotion is part of a series about King David.

God sees the Heart

The LORD told Samuel, "Don't look at his appearance or his height, for I've rejected him.
Truly, God does not see what man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance,
but the LORD sees the heart." [1 Samuel 16:7 ISV]

This is the beginning of a new chapter in Israel. Saul has been rejected as King. Samuel is looking for a new man to anoint as king. Yet he seems to still have an old regal image in mind as he looks. Consider what the prophet saw, and how it skewed his judgement, when he first came upon Saul.
"Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else." [1 Samuel 9:2]
As Samuel looks for Saul's replacement he looks for someone who looked like Saul. And as he does God stops him in his tracks by telling him that his criteria was all wrong when he chose Saul. For you see, Samuel was still looking for outward stature when he inspected all of David's brothers.

Samuel thought this when he saw one of David's brothers: “Surely the Lord's anointed is before him.” It was hard for the prophet to get passed his external image of what a leader looked like. It is hard for many of us as well. God is all about the heart. He has always wanted men and women after his own heart.

Open our inner eyes Lord to see past external images. Cause us to be a people after your own heart.

... this devotion is part of a series about King David.


Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. Glory to the Master, now and forever! Yes! [2Peter 3:18 MSG]

Life is a continuum of growth. A baby is born with limited mental and physical capacity. Their growth in those early years is amazing. Their bodies double and triple in size. Their abilities seem to outperform their size. As these precious children head towards adulthood their growth seems to evolve.

Such is the life of one who is born from above. Like a natural child a baby believer is in need of growth. These often look like a baby who falls as they try walk. And like the child they are wired to emulate their parents. Such is the context of growing in the grace and understanding of Jesus.

We who have been born from above are wired to glorify our Heavenly Father in the same way that a child desires to please their parents. Growing in grace and understanding is all about emulating the One of whom the Father said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

We desire to glorify you Lord. Please guide us as we grow in grace and understanding.

... this devotion is part of my series on the epistles of Peter and biblical words.

Work Hard to Live in Peace

So, my friends, while we wait for the day of the Lord, work hard to live in peace, without flaw or blemish; and look at the patience of the Lord as your salvation. [2Peter 3:14-15a VOICE]

The words, "work hard to live in peace", speak deeply to me of what it means to walk in the Spirit. It is so difficult to experience peace on the outside when we are internally bereft of it. Yet this peace is so important for anyone who desires to follow the way of Christ. It is why we must work hard for it.

When I think of working hard for something I think of the word discipline. A disciple is one who patiently trains to achieve their goal. They exercise. They build up their muscles. The have a training regimen. Such it is for those who work hard for peace. One step at a time these do the things that make for peace.

Help me to embrace the discipline of peace Lord.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.

Where Justice Reigns

What will happen next, and what we hope for, is what God promised: a new heaven and a new earth where justice reigns. [2Peter 3:13 VOICE]

The Greek word, dikaiosynē, is translated here as justice but in other translations it is rendered as righteousness. That is understandable as as righteousness can be defined as "God's judicial approval". I love the idea that divine righteousness, or doing the right thing, is centered in divine justice.

When I think about justice reigning in heaven I think not about human justice. This flavor of justice too often looks more like retribution (i.e. an eye for an eye) than reconciliation and rehabilitation. When I think about the reign of heavenly justice I imagine a place that is filled with divine reconciliation.

Teach us Lord to pray for heavenly justice. As it is in heaven please let it be done on earth.

... this devotion is part of an ongoing series on the epistles of Peter.