If you have missed any “Misfit Heroes” posts, you can find them here.
Well, I’ve decided to pause the “Misfit Heroes” series for a time. I’m pretty sure I will continue it in the future, but for now I would like to conclude this portion of the series with the story of someone who could be the poster child for “Misfit Heroes.” I hope that this has been a blessing to you as much as it has been to me. Let me know in the comments what you’ve thought of the series so far, I would love to hear from you!
He was the youngest son, sent out to the fields to watch the sheep instead of to the war to defend the country. He was the favorite of the people but in danger from the king because of his popularity. He was scorned by his wife because of his unashamed passion for God. He was led astray by his lust and took not only another man’s wife but also his life. He was a man of many talents, but a man with many enemies. He understood fear and darkness and openly voiced his feelings towards God. He was, in short, a human, and yet, for some reason God called him “a man after My own heart.”
David: the giant slayer, the king, the prolific author of the Psalms, the ancestor of Christ. It’s easy to see David just as the children’s storybook Bible hero that we remember from our childhood, but there is so much more to the story of this incredibly complex person that applies to our lives as adults. He was more than just the kid who killed a giant with a slingshot and then became king. He was a real person, a person with real struggles, real failures, and real emotions like us.
David was the youngest son of his father, Jesse. He was a shepherd and no one even thought to call him when the prophet Samuel arrived at the farm looking to anoint the next king of Israel. Talk about overlooked! Only after Samuel had seen all his other brothers and felt God telling him that none of them were the one, did Jesse think to call his youngest in from the fields. As soon as Samuel saw David, God spoke to him and told him that this young man was the one who would lead the nation in the future. Samuel anointed David, but it really didn’t change David’s life that much at that point. Saul was still the king and until he died David couldn’t do anything.
Shortly afterwards, when the Israelites were fighting the Philistines, David was left at home to be the errand-boy to bring food to his brothers who were fighting in the army. He was again overlooked as being too young and unimportant. David was delivering lunch to his brothers when he heard Goliath’s dare to send out a single man to fight him. He immediately went to the King, (yes, the same King he had been anointed to replace!), and told him that he, the young shepherd boy, would like to take the giant up on his dare. The King objected, saying that David was too young and unexperienced. David persisted, and the King reluctantly offered his armor. After trying it on, David felt he would be better equipped using his own slingshot. Yes, a young shepherd armed with nothing more than a slingshot and a few rocks going up against a giant!
David had God on his side and with just one small rock he was able to take down the terror of the entire army. The people now hailed him as their hero, much to the dismay and disapproval of King Saul. Still, the King had promised his daughter in marriage to whomever defeated Goliath and now he had to keep his word. David’s marriage to Saul’s daughter didn’t last long. She openly despised her husband for his reckless passion for worshipping God and Saul was more than happy that it didn’t work out. David continued to get on Saul’s nerves no matter what he did. The people of Israel liked David more than Saul, and Saul could see this. He felt threatened by this young upstart and even tried more than once to have him killed; however time and again God protected David.
David might be best known for his authorship of the Psalms. He was a talented musician who used his skills to worship his God, and countless generations have benefitted from his lyrical expressions. He poured his whole heart into the Psalms – his whole heart. Not just the overflowing of praises when life was shining on him, but also and especially the broken, terrified cries of a human who knows their own weakness. He understood what many of us struggle to understand: that it’s okay to come to God with our mess, that it’s okay to even be angry at God. He understood that God was greater, and God could deal with him, broken mess and all.
There is much more to David’s story that I could go into, but the Bible is the best place to learn more about this ‘Misfit Hero’. What I want to do is encourage you to dig deeper into David’s life, and especially into the Psalms. I think that the Psalms may be the most encouraging book in the entire Bible. They apply to every situation and season of life, and often they are the prayers we need to pray, but just didn’t know the words. I would like to leave you with several amazing passages from the Psalms that I think help to illustrate the complicated character of David. I would love to know what your favorite Psalms are, so let me know in the comments!
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.
Psalm 40:1-3 NIV
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:7-16 NIV
LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalm 8:1-9 NIV
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 NIV
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
I named this series from a lyric in a Matthew West song (and introduced the series with a video to that song), and I’m closing the curtain on this portion of the series with another one of his songs! I think that everyone, and especially the church, really need to take to heart the message of this song! We’re not perfect, and we all need to stop pretending that we are. God isn’t looking for perfect people, He’s looking for people who know that they need Him! When we are weak, He is strong!