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Good examples from David

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LESSONS FROM THE EARLY LIFE OF DAVID
THE SECOND KING OF ANCIENT ISRAEL

THE NEW TESTAMENT IS REPLETE WITH STATEMENTS THAT ONE OF THE
REASONS WE WERE GIVEN THE OLD TESTAMENT, IS TO ADMONISH, INSPIRE,
AND TEACH US MANY LESSONS AS TO THE WAY A CHRISTIAN SHOULD, AND
SHOULD NOT, CONDUCT THEIR LIFE. THE EARLY YEARS OF DAVID ARE FULL
OF CHARACTER QUALITIES AND EXAMPLES THAT ARE GOOD TO EMULATE.

by
Keith Hunt


     After Saul had been rejected as king over Israel by the Lord
(1 Sam.15), Samuel was sent to the family of Jesse, who had MANY
sons (1 Sam. 16:1-5). Humanly speaking, Samuel could have chosen
from seven fine young men but God told him He had chosen none of
them to be the replacement of Saul as king over the nation
(verses 6-10).
     A little bewildered, Samuel asked Jesse if those were ALL of
his sons, to which he replied there was yet ONE more - the
youngest of all, who was out in the country-side, tending the
sheep belonging to the family (verse 11).

     The first thing we are told about David (apart from him
being the youngest of Jesse's sons), is that he was an OUTDOORS
man. While not all of us men are called to be farmers, ranchers,
or fishermen and the like, we do need to love and appreciate the
wonderful nature that is within the reach of all of us. We need
to teach (by giving them experience) our children the value of
the physical creation.
     It is clear from the Psalms that David wrote, that he
appreciated the physical splendor all around him as he served his
father Jesse, out in the wide spaces of the country-side, looking
after the family's sheep.
     He must have taken note of the beauty of the four seasons,
each with its own miracles of nature. The green pastures, rolling
hills, sparkling streams, good clean and pure air, the beauty of
all the wild flowers, bushes, and trees that served in various
ways the many birds and animals, would have been great delight to
him.
     Even the rain and storms would have reminded him of the
circle of creation and the mighty hand of the eternal God.
He would have spent many a night under the stars, looking,
perhaps mesmerized at the universe he knew was one day to be
explored by himself and all the children of God.
     The powerful, cunning, and ferocious wild bears and mountain
cats, the lions, and all the wild creatures that he had to
protect his sheep from, had their beauty. He knew one day they
would eat straw like the ox and a little child would lead them.
All this, when the Messiah would reign in His Kingdom on the
earth.
     David must have seen, and probably helped to birth some of
the lambs at times. He no doubt saw the marvels of birth with
other animals.
     All this, was part of David's younger years of life. Many
children in today's huge concrete cities, do not know that milk
comes from a cow. If they do, many have never seen a live cow,
only a picture of them in some book or on TV.

     Many of us, for one reason or another, cannot live in the
country-side. Our lives and so our children, must be in the
confines of the town or the city. If this is the case with you,
then it becomes even more important that you make sure YOU and
your FAMILY spend some time each year, nay, I think each month,
in the splendor of God's natural nature. We need to cultivate the
love and appreciation of the red glowing sun-set, the golden
wheat fields, the majestic mountains, the craggy or sand beaches
of the coasts, with the mind-bending expanse of the seas. We need
to take our children on hikes and walks through the woods,
forests, hills and valleys. It is educational to see these things
on video and the "big screen," but there is nothing like the
experience of the REAL thing, if such is safe to encounter (God
does not want us to take stupid or foolish chances with our
bodies, which is His Temple).
     We need to be a David in loving the Almighty's breath-taking
creation that is all around us, and really not that far away from
even the city dweller among us. Most towns and cities have good
to wonderful parks in them, where some of the handwork of the
Lord can be seen and meditated upon.
     Make sure you have some good "nature" books, and or video
tapes of the physical creation in your home library, especially
if you have children. The relative small investment for such,
will be well worth the cost. It will help many to see that this
wonderful physical planet did not come about by accident, but by
an all wise and all powerful eternal God. And that from this
creation we can learn a great deal about this God, His character,
nature, plan, and even His Godhead.

     David must have been a lover of animals, for anyone who
would tackle a bear and a lion in order to save a sheep(as he
tells us he did in the Scriptures), and put his own life at risk,
was surely doing it out of more than just duty to a job, after
all what is one mere sheep in the scheme of the whole sheep
flock. I see David rescuing a sheep from such powerful creatures
because he had a genuine love for the sheep he was to watch
over, care for and protect. The Lord has given us animals of
various kinds not only for different purposes but also to enjoy.
We have the horse as an animal of work and pleasure, how they
have over the centuries worked for us and how they have given us
times of just pure riding enjoyment. Then there are the birds
that entertain us in so many ways. We nearly always had a
"budgie" in our home as I grew up. How such can make our days
that much more enjoyable. Then of course we have man's best
friend - the dog. God surely made them just for us. Under normal
conditions, the dog has a built in affinity to the human kind. I
can take our little poodle for a walk, we may meet other dogs,
and even if she likes them, there is no thought of wanting to run
off with their kind. She always wants to follow me and come home
with me. The dog of the sea is the dolphin. They also seem to
have been created with a built in love for humans, even in the
open wild sea.
     We need to appreciate the wonders of the creatures of the
world. We need to teach our children to appreciate the land, sea,
and air creatures the Eternal has given us. What a dull world it
would be without them. As we read the Bible we see clearly that
God in His dimension of living also has spirit creatures. Yes,
some serve in very specific ways for Him to work His work, but as
it is with the physical for us, I'm sure some are for pleasures
of pure enjoyment also.
     Make sure (through many ways you can choose, i.e. the zoo,
the walk or ride in the country, books, videos, and maybe the
literal at home if your situation allows) you give your children
the opportunity to develop a love for the various creatures the
Lord has placed around us.

DAVID THE MUSICIAN

     After Samuel had anointed David at the house of Jesse (1
Sam. 16:1-13), we find the narrative telling us that the Spirit
of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil spirit troubled
him(verse 14). It was Saul's servants who suggested to him that
they search out a man who was a cunning player on the harp or
some form of stringed instrument, to give him respite from the
evil spirit. Saul agreed to their request(verses 15-17).
     It turned out that one of the servants knew about David and
his ability to play a stringed musical instrument. Well, sure
enough it was David who ended up in the presence of Saul, not
only as his armour-bearer, but also to play sweetly and
soothingly for Saul when the evil spirit came upon him(verses
18-23).
     Ah, the sound of music can be so sweet to the ears. As
someone who has taught others to play the stringed instruments of
the guitar family (guitar, mandolin, uke, steel guitar, banjo)
for 22 years, I know the joy it brings. Even people who have
never learned to play a musical instrument enjoy music in some
form. I have never personally met anyone who just hates music and
never listens to it at all. It would seem God has created us all
to enjoy some form of music. And it is no wonder when you realize
the Bible tells us that in heaven there is constant "music" being
sung or played around the throne of the Eternal. Yes, even in
this we were made "after His image" as it is written.

     Oh, like everything else God created, Satan can PERVERT and
DISTORT it! Music is no exception. There is, and always has been,
twisted and perverted music floating around this deceived world,
but this is not the time to get into that topic. What I want to
focus on is the fact that David loved music.
     We as Christians should also love music. I think we should
try to cultivate a BROAD spectrum of music in our minds. We may
have our overall favorite type, that differs from one person to
another(the Lord did create variety, it would be a pretty dull
and drab world without variety), but we should love variety. My
collection of music in the form of records, cassettes, CD's, is
very broad, and depending what mood of mind I'm in at any given
point in time I play the music that goes with it. I have
everything from sleepy time to toe-tapping to dance to
inspirational.
     Teach your children to love good music, the music God would
approve of. It will take a balanced Christian mind(the mind of
Christ in us as Paul said) to ascertain and judge what music and
song the Lord would give His stamp of approval on. The words of
songs are very important. You need to listen to them to make sure
they are not teaching ideas and ways that are contrary to the
holy commandments of God. You should be guiding your children in
the correct use of music - what, when, how etc. Make it clear to
them that out and out demonic and perverted music(and today some
of that is very easy to detect) will not be allowed in your home,
not even in their own private(to some degree) bedroom. You must
have rules governing your home. Be kind and loving as you enforce
them. You must "teach" and explain as you go, as to why it is to
be such and so in your home. If you have a broad love of music
and song that is godly, if you teach correctly what and why some
music and some words of some songs, are ungodly, you will have
little trouble as your children grow from youngsters into teens.
     Let me say this, and it may shock some of you who mainly
love "classical" music. There is even perverted classical music.
I will say no more, but if you think Satan is not also into the
classical side of music, then you are deceived indeed. There is
just about nothing that the Devil is not into somewhere along the
line.
     David could play a musical instrument! Does that mean
EVERYONE should learn to play a musical instrument of some kind?
No, not at all! There is no command that all of us should play a
piano, guitar, flute, or some other instrument. Yet, I think it
is good to ask your children if they would like to learn to play
music on some instrument. Give them the opportunity at least to
say yes or no. If they desire to want to learn music then do all
you can to help them achieve their desire and their goal. It is a
wonderful gift to give and to have. Often when I'm advertizing in
the local paper that I teach guitar and banjo, I sometimes put in
my ad, "give the gift that last a lifetime."
     David was a man after God's own heart in many ways, one of
those ways was that he loved music!

DAVID -A MARKSMAN!

     The seventeenth chapter of 1 Samuel is famous. Here we find
the great story of how David slew the giant Goliath. You may like
to read it again. I want to pick up on one important point in
this article. David was a VERY SKILLED marksman!
     You will notice he was not big-headed or overly confident
with his ability and skill. He took 5 stones from the brook for
his sling, with the idea in his mind that he may not hit the
target the first time. You stop and think for a moment the skill
needed to sling that stone to hit the correct area of the head to
topple Goliath. I mean that is some skill. David would. have
spent many hours in the wild while looking after his father's
sheep, firing stones at targets to develop that kind of bulls-eye
hitting skill. It did not come overnight for sure.

     How many of you remember the "king of the cowboys" Roy
Rogers? How many of your children know about him? Maybe not that
many any more. Well, did you know that he was a crack shot with a
six shooter, even from his horse "Trigger." Yes, he really was.
In his younger days when appearing in Rodeos and Western shows,
he would put on a display of shooting that would stun the crowd.
Roy's Dad would tell people that if they thought he was great
with a six shooter, they should have seen him as a boy with a
sling shot killing rabbits so the family could eat. You see Roy
grew up on a farm in Ohio, with very little of anything. There
was his Mom and Dad and three sisters. He learned with practice,
to kill rabbits with a sling shot. He was a skilled marksman! And
by the way, Roy was such a good horse rider because he only rode
bareback until he came to Hollywood. The family could not afford
a saddle for his pony.

     What I want you to understand is that it is not wrong to be
a skilled marksman. It is not wrong, it is not a sin, to be able
to fire a gun or shoot an arrow with pin point accuracy. As a
child growing up I had a bee-bee rifle, or pellet rifle. After a
time I could at 15 paces, place a small wooden matchstic standing
up on a fence and shoot it clean in two. As a young man I bought
a pellet six shooter and gun holster, and at 10 paces I could
draw and shoot all in one movement(like Roy Rogers) and hit tin
cans from off the fence railing. I did not stick with it in
practice to ever become as good as Roy Rogers, but I was getting
there.
     If you have a child that wants to learn to shoot a gun like
the old king of the Cowboys or fire an arrow like Robin Hood,
then let them do it. There are many good clubs they can join to
develop that kind of skill, or other such talents. Again, as
Christians, we should know that such skills are to be used
correctly, with care and respect of others at all times.

DAVID - THE POET

     Most music songs first start out as poems. Usually the words
are written first and then followed by the music. Often the words
are by one person and the music is put to the words by another
individual. Sometimes it is just one person who writes both the
words and the music.
     David was certainly a poet. Many of his Psalms were probably
first poems, maybe written out under the stars on a quiet evening
or full moon night. Then some were no doubt written during the
sunshine of the day with the clear as crystal steam splashing on
the rocks and stones, as it bubbled its way across the sheep
filled meadows.
     Being out in God's nature can not only be restful and
refreshing to the soul but inspiring to the mind. So it must have
been for David at times, as he tended to the sheep in his care.  
Then from some of the Psalms we find they must have been inspired
by certain joyous or emotionally difficult situations in David's
life. Whatever the reason, he did write poetry.

     Again, not all of us, not all of our children, are naturally
inclined to be poets. But if the art of writing and reading is
encouraged in a way more than what we expect from them in "school
work" living, then many may want to try their hand at poetry.
The life of David shows that "poetry" writing is not "sissy"
stuff - a kind of "just for girls" ideology, as some boys are
taught by other boys or men who do not know the truth of the
Bible. David was a "man's man" - a real he-man in many ways (by
that I certainly do not mean a "Mr.Universe" with bulging
muscles), a strong hero type of guy, with a deep sincere
commitment to the ways of the Lord, which included compassion,
service, kindness, mercy, and justice. With all that, he was also
a poet.

DAVID'S GOOD POINTS

     In this article I have focused on the early life of David,
and in that focus I have picked out certain obvious character
traits that are good for children and adults to cultivate. In his
early life we are told practically nothing about any of his
weaknesses, if indeed he had any worth speaking about. If he did
have, they were not spoken about, enough of his sins and
weaknesses are recorded for us in his latter life anyway.
     Some of these upright points in his early life we should ALL
endeavor to practice. Some skills of David are for the personal
choice of the individual, but the principle of those talents
(which he learned and was not necessarily born with) can be taken
over into other realms of our life.
     Use the righteous ways of David to learn and teach from. It
is from this part of his life that we can see he was an all
around, well balanced fellow in his physical living. I think that
is another reason as to why he was called a "man after God's own
heart."

May that expression be also said of each one of us.

                               ............


Written September 1997


 
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