“As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head. ‘Whose son are you, young man?’ Saul asked him. David said, ‘I am the son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem’. After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family.”
1 Samuel 17:57-1 Samuel 18:2
In 1 Samuel 18, we realize that David is walking through moments that will define his entire life. It is inescapable . . God simply chooses certain moments in our lives . . certain days . . certain crossroads . . and the choices we make at those intersections, those days, moments . . will not only define our path, but potentially the path of hundreds, if not thousands of other lives..
David’s history-making, soul-stirring, giant-slaying victory defined the remainder of his days on earth. From the very moment that David killed Goliath, his life would never be the same. In fact you could say, his person and persona became larger than life. We are 3,500 years from that time right now and we still talk about David and Goliath. King David’s influence casts a remarkable shadow over all of Scripture.
At the core of David’s heart was a passion for nothing short of living a life that reflected the majesty, power and glory of a great God who showed up in big ways in little guy’s lives. When Saul and Jonathan encountered the humble yet fierce spirit of the Warrior/Shepherd David, they too were forever changed. What did they see? What did they hear? What was it about this young man who had become the champion of Israel that was completely irresistible?
Come with with me here in chapter 3 and we will unpack the three core ingredients that together made David a man after God’s heart . . a man of great character . . a man who seized the defining moments of his life for the glory of God
Defining Moments & Life-Altering Change
How ready are you for change? How ready are you for God-ordained change that could change everything? David’s entire life and his entire lifestyle were changed in one moment. In 1 Samuel 16:13 we find the first defining moment in David’s life, one that preceded his victory over Goliath by more than two years . .
“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.”
Do you remember the day when God’s Holy Spirit came upon your life? Your eyes were opened to things you never caught before . . your priorities changed . . your awareness of the kingdom of God and His purposes exploded into living color.
Such an occurrence in David’s life would enable him to see a 9’9″ enemy with a “Can’t Be Defeated Sign” stapled to his forehead in everybody else’s eyes . . and instead realize that God had destined him to rise up and be the victor.
How do you embrace change on God’s terms? You have a heart for the Lord that informs you that adversity is nothing more than opportunity . . God has come calling and has a plan.
Just a fifteen-year old shepherd boy in the eyes of a fearful nation, but God put His hand on David to raise him up to do something only possible with God in his life . . something only possible because David refused to blow off a “from this day forward” defining moment while bowed before Samuel.
From That Time On
The victory that God gave David over Goliath thrust him into a limelight and into a life that he never dreamed about or imagined. David was so popular Israelites sang songs about him on the streets of Jerusalem. David’s defining moment was becoming larger by the day. It was now becoming the moment when a weak and insecure King Saul realized that David was the next king of Israel.
“When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’. Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. ‘They have credited David with tens of thousands’, he thought, ‘but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?’ And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.” – 1 Samuel 18:6-9
Now here’s a new moment that’s going to change David’s life. The very king that he is serving with unflinching loyalty now despises him . . having realized that the successor king of which Samuel had told him would be taking his place . . is David . . but not just David . . David the heralded warrior . . David, the victor seen as greater and more powerful than Saul. From that time on . .from that defining moment . . David would become a fugitive to the very king he loved and honored.
Spiritual victories and breakthroughs never open the door to a time of “kicking back” . . walking away from your prayer post . . finding some kind of “Christian neutral”. Instead, spiritual victories bring with them both a heightened sense of responsibility . . and a necessary greater responsibility. Change never comes in bundles of one.
The key to the defining moments in David’s life was his heart for God above all else. No matter what he encountered, whether good or trying, he kept his heart toward God at all times. David was coming off of a major victory . . public opinion was more than favorable . . poll results were stunning . . He would understandably think to himself at that time, “Surely it’s time for me to become king”
The reverse actually happens. Have you met those kind of curve balls, detours, u-turns, dead-ends, delays, disappointments? If it is all about you, your plans, your timing, your future, your name, your reputation . . you are doomed to fail, flounder and fall flat on your faithless feelings.
Positive change, upward promotion, new levels of influence may all be on the horizon . . but they always come about on God’s terms at God’s time. From being lauded and embraced to being chased by His King, David kept his heart turned toward God; hungry to hear His voice and to walk in His path. David would now win his second battle . . but not with a sling or any kind of physical weapon . . but with the conviction that “It’s not about me” . . there is only one Name worthy of honor . . and that would be the Lord.
God Gives Wisdom For Defining Moments
“Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.” – 1 Samuel 18:5
“Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with David but had departed from Saul. So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns. In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.” – 1 Samuel 18:12-16
“The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.” – 1 Samuel 18:30
When Betrayal Replaces Belief
David had the heart and support of the people and of Saul’s servants, but he quickly lost the heart and support of Saul . .. so much so that Saul was willing to throw David at any and every Philistine conflict so he didn’t have to kill him himself.
David had trouble, but he had the second key to being a man of character . . a man after God’s heart . . and that key would be wisdom. Even in the very middle of trouble God can give wisdom. that matches the demands of the defining moment you are in. No matter what you’re struggling with, no matter what you’re going through, no matter if your defining moment is good or if you’re defining moment is trying and testing you you for all you’re worth; God is able to give wisdom. Even when Saul was on David’s case . . even when he had trouble in the palace . . God just kept giving David the wisdom that he needed in his life.
David is betrayed. He is confused. He’s lied to. He is uncertain about where he was to go. David realizes that God, in the middle of the challenge, wants to give him the wisdom that he needs. David realizes that he has to stay connected . . He has to hear the voice of God and do what God is instructing him to do. David knew that no matter what was going on in his life God was going to order it for his good. David put God first in every area of his life. David shows us that in the heart of battle, in the middle of struggle, in the middle of betrayal, in the middle of hatred, in the middle of false accusations, God wants to give you and me the ability to handle that with wisdom.
If you tap into your own wisdom . . your worldly wisdom . . you will eventually satisfy the desires and fears of the flesh instead of the Spirit of God. The difference is tied to whether you will choose to listen and wait on the Lord and renew your strength . . or run full speed ahead without seeking divine counsel. The power of God follows the wisdom of God . . and the wisdom of God follows the heart that is hungry for nothing short of God’s best . . especially in the most trying of circumstances.
Information is rarely our problem in the context of llife’s battles . . it’s knowing what to do, how to do it, when to do it . . and most importantly, sensing that God desires to do it in and through your defining moment that makes all the difference. David was keen in battle to hear what God revealed to him and was confident in the power of God to do what He said He would do.
God’s Defining Moments Demand Total Commitment
“Then David fled from Naioth at Ramah and went to Jonathan and asked, ‘What have I done? What is my crime? How have I wronged your father, that he is trying to kill me?’ . . ‘As for you, show kindness to your servant, for you have brought him into a covenant with you before the Lord. If I am guilty, then kill me yourself! Why hand me over to your father?’” – 1 Samuel 20: 1,8
The Why Question
God desires full commitment regardless of the challenge. The thing that I love about David is his total life-commitment to the Lord. David is so committed to God in every area. In the middle of David’s struggle becomes introspective. With most of us in the middle of our struggles and seemingly most unjust circumstances, we want to search God and bring up the “Why?” question. However, David’s first priority is to examine his own heart and remain accountable to his best friend Jonathan. David first makes room for the possibility that he has missed God’s best and invites Jonathan to not only speak into his life . . but bring it to an end if he has dishonored God and the King of Israel.
David is so committed to being pure before the Lord . . so committed to doing the right thing . . so committed to the kingdom of Israel . . so committed to King Saul, even though Saul has become his worst nightmare. David was confused, bewildered, beyond himself . . under a huge physical and spiritual attack . . but he never allowed the challenge to steal his first-place faith in the person and promises of His God. In a nutshell, that is the definition of character.
Psalm 59 is a recount of the life-defining moment when David fled . . knowing of Saul’s plans to come to his house to kill him in his own bed. It is the moment where David writes about the mighty coming to take his life. David pours out his heart before the Lord . .
“Deliver me from my enemies, O God; be my fortress against those who are attacking me. Deliver me from evildoers and save me from those who are after my blood. See how they lie in wait for me! Fierce men conspire against me for no offense or sin of mine, Lord. I have done no wrong, yet they are ready to attack me. Arise to help me; look on my plight! You are my strength, I sing praise to you; you, God, are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely.”
What Is Commitment?
In a conversation with her pastor, a young lady asked, “Pastor, I was studying the word ‘commitment’ and there are all sorts of definitions to it, but I’d like to know what you think it is.” Her pastor responded, “Commitment is signing a blank piece of paper and allowing God to fill in His will.” The Bible says that your life is not your own. I believe that King David lived that so well in one defining moment after another. He gave his life to God the moment he decided to kill Goliath . . the moment he decided to serve King Saul . . the moment he decided to fulfill the will of God in his life. His life was no longer his own.
Your Defining Moment
There is a supernatural God on your side in the middle of uncertainty and struggle in your life. When you are there . . remember that God-sized and God-ordained changes are coming that require a heart that is wrapped around His . .remember to not crumble but to call upon the Lord for His wisdom . . remember to invite His Spirit to search your heart for any impure motives. Hold on to Him because He will give you the grace, wisdom and protection that you need.
Don’t forget to claim the rich promises found in James 1:5 . .
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”
and Psalm 139:23-24 . .”Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”
When you pour out these type of prayers from the core of your soul, you indeed unleash the possibility of a “defining moments” in your life.