28 His eldest brother Eliab heard him talking to the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David. He said, “Why have you come down? With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart; for you have come down just to see the battle.” 29 David said, “What have I done now? It was only a question.” 30 He turned away from him toward another and spoke in the same way; and the people answered him again as before.
1 Samuel 17:28-30
As our intimacy with the living God grows, there will come times when we will see things differently than those around us. There will come times when the Holy Spirit will speak a sense of unease into our spirits. It is an unease that invites us to believe that Jesus sees things differently. It invites us to live from a different perspective than those around us.
Our text in 1 Samuel 17 recounts a time when David was filled with such unease. He visited his brother Eliab at the battlefront between the armies of Israel and those of the Philistines. The armies of Israel were cowed by the boasting and insults of a Philistine warrior named Goliath. David responds boldly to Goliath and begins to question the circumstances around him.
Eventually, David will act out of his holy unease. In one of the most well-known stories in the Bible, David will step out to face Goliath in battle with no more than his faith and a slingshot.
But the text above occurs before all of this.
Before David could redefine Goliath with the vision of God, he had to get past his brother Eliab. For reasons unstated in the text, Eliab is angry at David. Perhaps it is sibling rivalry. Perhaps it is out of concern for David’s safety. Either way, Eliab steps forward to sabotage David’s movement in faith before it happens.
Sabotage is part of following God. There will always be those around us (or our own thoughts within us) that will attempt to counter the voice of God. “Who do you think you are? You are nothing but a shepherd!”
I am fascinated by David’s response. Instead of arguing with the sabotage, he turns from it. What if we did this with the words of doubt that so often derail us from following the nudges of God’s Spirit? What if we did this when faced with those who don’t get this whole Jesus thing? What if we turned from the sabotage and redoubled our efforts to rightly discern what God is speaking to us?
Jesus, we want to know you and to hear your voice clearly. Give us the ability to recognize your voice. Give us awareness to recognize sabotage to faithfulness. Give us the wisdom to know that discernment of your voice does not come from sabotage… so give us the boldness to turn from it to seek your vision for our lives. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.