Today on Insight for Living.
I fear we are raising up a mentality in many a school that says just have a good impression and that's all that's needed. You will never be a man or woman of God if that's your philosophy. Never. You cannot fake the Almighty. That you haven't got it together.
Character is what you are when nobody's looking. In the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel we read about a sensitive conversation between the elders of Israel and Samuel. The elders needed to speak with their aging leader about appointing a successor. His choice would change the course of history. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues his biographical study called David, a Man of Passion and Destiny. As we resume a message that started last week, Chuck will remind us that even though Samuel picked a successor, it is God who appoints those who lead.
If you missed Friday's program, we'll begin with a helpful review. God has chosen nobody's to turn him into somebody. Now that's the story of the life of David. To quote G. Fredrick Owen in his book, Abraham to the Middle East Crisis, there's one sentence that I've lifted that just described the times.
The people were on a long drift from God. That was the world into which David was born. They had heard about the days in which Israel was really a great nation. They had read the books that talked about Eli and those great early days of Samuel and the zenith of his career. But listen, they knew nothing of it personally. You know what they knew? They knew compromise. They knew disobedience.
They knew the profile of aged Samuel. So the people were disillusioned, frankly, and they had three reasons for wanting a king. They're given to us in verse, well, let's see. They had a summit meeting at Rama, verse four, and they said, there are three reasons, Samuel, we want a king. First, verse five, you have grown old. Second, your sons don't walk in your ways.
And third, we want to be like all the other nations. Verse five concludes, appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations. And so Samuel was broken hearted because they didn't say we want to wait on God to provide what we need.
You find a man, we'll find a man and we want to put him in office. Well, it broke his heart. And if you're a student of the Old Testament, you know that Saul, oh, what a willful man, tall, dark, handsome, all of the externals that you would expect in a king. That's how people choose kings. But you know that even though he was 30 years old when he started, chapter 13, verse one tells us, that man before long became thin-skinned, hot-tempered, angry, and even was given to seasons of depression and murder and he died of suicide.
Now that's the people's choice. Now wait, somewhere between the anointing of Saul and the suicide of Saul, David came in. Talk about being born into volatile times. People were on a long drift from God, they became disillusioned with their choice, but what do you do when your king doesn't walk with God? They knew that Saul spent a lot of time in his tent and it was dark and he said strange things and he spoke with a strange tone and he walked in the flesh. And finally, chapter 13 tells us, God said, you're not qualified any longer. Samuel said to Saul, you have acted foolishly, you have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, for now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. Next verse, but now your kingdom shall not endure.
Here's the first prediction of David right here. Verse 14, the Lord has sought out for himself a man, just a human being. He is on a search for men and women like you and me, people of flesh, but he has three qualities in mind he's looking for.
You ready for them? Number one, spirituality. A man after his own heart.
There's the first quality. What does it mean to be a person after God's own heart? Well, it means that you are a person whose life is in harmony with the Lord. The first quality David had is spirituality. Now go to chapter 16 of 1 Samuel, verse 1. Let me show you the second quality. Now the Lord said to Samuel, how long will you grieve over Saul since I have rejected him from being king over Israel?
Fill your horn with oil and go. I will send you to Jesse, the Bethlehemite. Notice, I have selected a king for myself among his sons. God had come to the home of Jesse in spirit form. Jesse didn't know he was there. And God had given surveillance over the home and had spotted his sons and said, that's my man. What was it that he saw in David? He saw a heart that was completely God's and second, he saw humility. I noticed the third quality is integrity. He shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart. I checked the Hebrew word which means integrity and listen to these synonyms. Complete, whole, innocent, having simplicity of life, wholesome, sound, unimpaired. It's what you are when nobody's looking. Integrity is honesty right down to the nubbins. Not a tinge of guile or deception.
That's David. You know, we have a long way to go when it comes to choosing leaders. I think these are qualities we ought to look for in faculties of schools, in staff of churches, in counselors of camps, in seminarians who say we want to be spokesmen for God.
The first thing we look at is a transcript. I realize that you can't educate a dumb-dumb. I realize that that's a problem when you put them in graduate work. I understand that. But surely there ought to be something said for character reference.
I mean, a genuine spirituality, a servant's heart, and honesty when it's dark and nobody else is there. The way you do your homework. Oh, man. Why mention homework, Swindoll? Anybody can show up for class. Well, almost anybody.
Some it seems just can't get to class. But how do you do your homework? How faithful are you when nobody's looking? You see, the delight of preaching is simply the cream on the pie. The work goes into the preparation.
The hours and hours and hours that are spent, nobody knows about. Investing yourself in time with God, time in the books, time in literature, when everybody else goes home and you're staying by the stuff because you want to have something to say. You want to get your act together. I fear we are raising up a mentality in many a school that says just have it on the surface, have a good impression and that's all that's needed. You will never be a man or woman of God if that's your philosophy.
Never. You cannot fake the Almighty. Furthermore, people with discernment will know that you haven't got it together. David had that integrity.
Character is what you are when nobody's looking. Well, if I could just borrow from these three verses we're looking at to wrap things up. The whole idea of how God trained David, I could pick four words to do it.
Here they are. Number one, God trained him in solitude. When you keep sheep, when you live in the field, then it is solitude that nurtures you. I have a great concern that too little time is spent by leaders in the making in solitude. If you have to always have noise, there's something wrong. If you can't stand to be with yourself, there are some unsettled and there are some unsolved conflicts.
F.B. Meyer writes, nature was David's nurse, his companion, his teacher. The moorlands around Bethlehem forming the greater part of the plateau did not, however, present features of soft beauty. They were wild, gaunt, strong, character building. It was there that David first imbibed that knowledge of natural scenery and pastoral pursuits, which colored all his life and poetry as the contents of the vat color the dyer's hand. This is the last time you got all alone with nature and just kind of soaked it in.
Hey, that gives you depth. No one around so that even the sound of silence is deafening. It just kind of comes in on you. That's where David lived. That's where he learned to king it. When he put those woolies in that little spot that night and, you know, settled them down and he got out under the stars and there was no one there, not even a jet, to bother him. And he heard the blistering winds of the winter. And he felt the sting of the sand in the spring and summer of the years. And his skin was bronzed under the sun. Solitude.
That's how God trained him. Number two is obscurity. Obscurity. That's being faithful in the little things.
Unknown, unseen, unappreciated, and unapplauded. That's where God trains his best personnel in obscurity. Hidden away in some study carol tonight is a man of God in the making. Pouring over that thesis.
Pouring over his studies. That woman of God dealing with those little kiddos in the constancy of diaper changing and table manners and putting to bed and matching pajamas and putting socks up. Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? Well, I've always said things change the more kids you have. By the time you have four, you don't even care if the pajamas match.
Just anything, you know. In the exacting demands of the home, that's where character is built. That's where the bills come due, women.
No wonder they want to break away and say, live your own life, that's being free. Sounds exciting. But those exacting demands of obscurity, that's where character is built. In the teaching lessons that you prepare and nobody knows you're doing it. Don't you believe it, the class knows. The teachers here tonight, businessmen here tonight, your men that you are serving as a leader, they know if you've got your homework together or not.
You can't fake them over the long haul. Diligence, staying at it. And here's the third one, monotony.
Boy, it's getting worse, isn't it? Solitude, that sounds a little adventuresome. And then obscurity, well, now monotony. That's being faithful in the menial, insignificant, routine, regular, unexciting, uneventful daily tasks.
I don't know how to make it any less attractive than that. I got a friend who's a commercial pilot and he said it's like flying. He says flying is hours, endless hours of tired monotony, punctuated with a few seconds of sheer panic. That's life for you, maybe without the panic.
Just constant, constant endless hours of tired monotony as you pour over those graphs and those charts and those plans or whatever might be your job. That's where you learn to be a man or woman of God. Not when you're up front. Hey, that's the fun part. It's when nobody else is around. That's when you learn to king it. Here's the fourth one.
It's my favorite. Reality. You see, up until now it sounds like that the answer is to be a hippie. Sort of an irresponsible mystic who sits out on a hill and pops bird seed and whistles those neat little choruses and you just sort of meet with God. Sort of an irresponsible kind of Christian individual. That's not character building. You might get the feeling that David, boy he sort of danced around Judah and had a great time training those sheep to sit on her hind legs and all that.
That's not true. I want to show you something. 1 Samuel 17. I can hardly wait to get to David and Goliath. That's one of my favorite chapters.
But this section is too good to be true. Here is David standing by Saul in 1 Samuel 17. Remember Saul?
Great big tall guy, scared to death, knees knocking inside the tent. And here's little David saying, hey let's go whip the giant. And Saul says, who are you? David says, I'm David. He says, where have you been? He says, I've been with my father's sheep. He said, put on my armor.
And he couldn't wear the armor. And David says, I can't fight like this. Saul says, what kind of guy are you?
Look at verse 33. You're not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him. You're but a youth.
Well, he's been a warrior from his youth. You're just a little kid. David said to Saul, now note, here's reality. When nobody's looking, your servant was tending his father's sheep.
Yeah, solitude, obscurity, monotony. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, that's reality. A bear came. And David says, ah, a bear. Magnificent observation, a bear. And there's a great big bear coming down to eat on one of those sheep. And he says, look at it, verse 35, I went out after him and attacked him.
Oh man, shazam. Where did David get that kind of courage? Hey, he's learned it before God.
There's some $6 million shepherd standing out there in the field, and a bear comes, and he attacks the bear. What kind of guy is this David? Hey, he's no dummy. He's a man of reality.
He's a man that's responsible when nobody's looking. As a matter of fact, it says, and I love this, it says I attacked him, and I rescued it from his mouth. That means he's close enough to, you know, be inside that creature. And he says, ah, I, and when he rose up against me, this bear came up against him, he said, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.
Great Scott. You know, however you strike and kill a bear, he did it. This bear flew, and David says, so Saul. Man, there's high pockets out there named Goliath. I'm not worried about Goliath. And he walks out there, and he, you know, right between the running lights, and boy, down he goes. It's no big thing.
He's been killing bears while nobody's looking. We got an idea about this business of getting alone with God that's unrealistic. It doesn't mean you get alone with God and think about infinity. Oh, it means you get alone and discover how to be more responsible in areas of your assignments in life, namely diligence, following through, fighting bears, and attacking. I don't go along with this ridiculous kind of deeper life where you stand back and God does everything. I never did have God fix a flat for me.
Well, I'll be honest with you. Oh, David rolled up his sleeves, and he fought for those sheep. He learned to king it. Isn't that important? You see, any value in the lessons you're doing, hey, that's all part of it.
That's what God puts iron in your bones. The way you fill out those reports, the way you take care of those assignments, the way you complete the tasks of home or dormitory or work or school is just a reflection on whether you're learning to king it. The test of my calling is not so much how I do on Sunday.
It's how I do Monday through Saturday when there's nobody to check up on me or how some dear mom stays up half the night to keep that fever down. She's learning to king it. Well, intensely courageous man who from the outside didn't look like anything worth whistling at. A couple of final lessons.
Let me lay this on you. It's in the little things we prove ourselves capable for big things. If I'm saying anything, I'm saying that. It's in the little things we prove ourselves capable for the big things. If you're going to set your eyes on the big things, if you're going to be a person with big vision, then plan on doing little things well. Second, when God develops inner qualities, he's never in a hurry. Alan Redpath is the one who said, the conversion of a soul is the miracle of the moment, but the making of a saint, ah, that's the task of a lifetime.
When God develops character, he's never in a hurry. Well, thank you for listening. Let's pray. Thanks, Lord, for your sufficient grace. Thank you for the schoolroom of solitude and obscurity, for the schoolmasters of silence and constant demands, for the tyranny of long hours, for the rewards of hard labor and work, for the periods of our lives that are unapplauded and qualities that are unseen by any human eye, because it is there we learn to king it. Encourage us tonight, Father. Encourage us with your goodness, your all-seeing eye, that's still looking for people whose hearts are completely yours. I pledge to you, our Father, in a fresh new way, for Jesus' sake.
Amen. We're off to a very good start in this biographical teaching series. You're listening to Insight for Living and the very first message in a comprehensive study of David's life.
To learn more about this ministry, be sure to visit us online at insightworld.org. Chuck is calling this series a man of passion and destiny, and in time we'll see this one-time shepherd graduate from obscurity to the highest position in the land. David's escalation to king of Israel surprised many, but his humble servant-style leadership proved to win over even his fiercest adversaries. Well, Chuck has written many biographies on men like David, and one of them is the great leader Nehemiah. Chuck has designed this particular book as recommended reading right now as a complement to our study on David. His book is called Hand Me Another Brick.
It's about a humble servant who rose to governor of his land. And no matter your role, Chuck's book offers a deeply spiritual approach to leadership. To purchase a copy of Hand Me Another Brick, give us a call. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888.
Or it may be quicker to place your order online at insight.org slash offer. We're grateful to those who give above and beyond the price of resources because it's your partnership that allows us to inspire healthy churches beyond our own borders. For example, even during immense persecution, Christians in Eastern Europe are pulling together and drawing strength from one another.
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If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Or you can also give today online at insight.org slash donate. Travelers who want to take a tour to Israel have lots of choices, but few measure up to the thoughtful journey prepared by Insight for Living Ministries. With a proper mix of historical information and biblical context, we provide ample opportunities to pause and let the wonder in.
Our goal is to create special moments when you deepen your love for the Bible and draw closer to your Lord. Experience an unforgettable 12-day tour to Israel with Chuck Swindoll and Insight for Living Ministries, March 5th through the 16th, 2023. To help you grasp the significance of each site, you'll be accompanied by hand-picked Israeli guides, and we choose the best, along with seminary-trained pastors and professors to enhance your spiritual journey. No organization I know of offers this level of exceptional, in-depth instruction and personal care for Holy Land travelers.
To learn more, call 1-888-447-0444. Just imagine walking along sacred sites and watching the Bible come to life. Make your reservation by calling 1-888-447-0444, or go to insight.org slash events. Insight for Living Ministries Tour to Israel is paid for and made possible by only those who choose to attend. I'm Bill Meyer, inviting you to join us again tomorrow when Chuck Swindoll describes what he calls a nobody nobody noticed on Insight for Living. The preceding message, God's heart, God's man, God's ways, was copyrighted in 1977, 1988, 1997, and 2009, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2009 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. The implication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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