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Week 1 - David's Humble Heart

Heart of David
/ Part
April 4, 2024
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David’s Humble Heart

Psalm 25: 8-9

“Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He instructs sinners in His ways, He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.

We have all heard David described as a worshiper; a king; a warrior; a musician. So many in the world know the story of David and Goliath. Many may even know David as being the author of much of the book of Psalms. Above all of these stories and characteristics, David is probably most known within the church as being a “Man after God’s own heart.” What an incredible thing to say about a man! But have we ever stopped and taken time to think about what that truly means?

Have we considered what about David made him a man after the heart of God? Was it because he was perfect and without sin? Most definitely not! Could it have been because he was soft and gentle, never hurting a fly? Nope! (1 Samuel 17:57 will prove that wrong)!

For the next few weeks, we will be looking at the life of David and his own heart. As we seek to answer the question, “What made David a man after the heart of God?”, we will dive deeper into three aspects of David's life and ultimately his heart…and how it aligned with the heart of God. As we unpack this together, I encourage you to read the scriptures for yourself, and see how you can identify with David and what he is going through. How would you respond? What would you do if you were David?

Introduction to David

Scripture introduces us to the character of David in 1 Samuel 16. Samuel is the high priest and the final “Judge” of Israel. The people wanted to be like all the other nations and have a king to rule over them. So God calls Samuel to go anoint a man named Saul, king. For the most part, it does not go well, and Samuel warns the people of this. In 1 Samuel 16, God speaks to Samuel saying that Saul was rejected as king and that a new king was to be sought out. Samuel is led to the house of Jesse and introduced to seven of his eight sons. Although Samuel is impressed with some of them, God warns Samuel:

1 Samuel 16:7-8

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

It is here that we will begin to look at the first characteristic of David’s heart: HUMILITY. Here we will look at a lot of amazing things David accomplished, but through it all, we will see a humble man who desired, above all, to serve God and give Him glory. There are three aspects that make up David’s humble heart that we will unpack together: Service, Identity, and Preparation.

Humility Through Service

Although Jesse had eight sons, he only had the seven oldest brought in front of Samuel. Where do we find David? Not grumbling or sulking in his misery. In 1 Samuel 16:11, Jesse tells Samuel that David is out in the field, tending the sheep.

1 Samuel 16:11

“...’There is still the youngest,’ Jesse answered. ‘He is tending the sheep.’”

Although David was forgotten by Jesse, He was not forgotten by God. We see the humility in David’s service by how he left the results in God’s mighty hands. David understood that he was to bloom where he was planted. And at this time in David’s life, he was called to humbly serve his family by tending the sheep. But make no mistake, tending the sheep was quite an endeavor that even included fending off predators to protect the sheep!

1 Samuel 16:19

Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.”

David is anointed by Samuel. Awesome….now what? Does David leave the sheep and go enroll in a government training program? Does he start to pursue things that will help  prepare him to be king? Nope…David goes back to the field to tend sheep. David did not allow this anointing to change his course of action. He continued to humbly serve his family.

David was called to be king of Israel, but at this time in his life, God needed him in the fields tending the sheep. There was a lot more forming and shaping that God wanted to do with David. So David humbly stood on the path where he was placed, until God called him up. Like David, we too must bloom where we are planted and humbly serve where we are called at the time.

Humility Through Identity

Starting in 1 Samuel 16:14, we read about how King Saul is being tormented by an evil spirit and his servants have the brilliant idea to have someone come in to play calming music for Saul in hopes that it will make him feel better. One of the servants knows of David and says in verse 18:

1 Samuel 16:18

“I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. AND THE LORD IS WITH HIM.”

Having a reputation is not always a bad thing. This servant of the king knew of David. He knew that David was a worshiper and a warrior. Most importantly, he recognized that God was with David. But we don’t read about David hovering around Sauls home, waiting for an opportunity. We don’t read about David sending letters or asking for meetings. Again, King Saul says in verse 19, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.”

People knew of David and knew where they could find him. David did not need to pursue position or authority…he only pursued God. He focused on who God said he was and what God had called him to. David didn’t need to worry about the destination or length of the journey. He knew that if he stayed on the path that God called him to, God would handle the rest. He let God be in control. This heart posture led David to be in service to the King.

David understood that his true identity was a child of God. He knew that as he served his family’s sheep, he was actually serving God. Out in the fields, there was no crowd to please; no praise to be received. There was just David, the sheep, and God. For David, this was all he needed.

Maybe God is trying to show you something in the pastures too. Like David, many of us are called to do great things for the kingdom of God. But so often, we look at our current state and ask God, “is this truly all you have called me to?” Just like David’s early life, you may not be where God is calling you in the future, but you could be where he is calling you right now. Is humility a part of your identity in Christ? Like David, can others see that “the Lord is with you?” Do they know where to find you and what you are pursuing?

David understood that in this season, God was calling him to be a servant, a worshiper, and a shepherd. But more importantly, David knew that the things God called him to do, were not who God called David to be. In other words, your true identity comes from your Creator and not your calling. What you do is not who God says you are. David knew he was a child of God. This was how he could humbly serve in the fields and pastures; because he knew what he was really serving the one true King of kings.

Humility Through Preparation

As we move a bit forward in the early parts of David’s life, let’s look at 1 Samuel 17. This is the well-known story of David and Goliath. Israel is at war with Philistine and some of David’s brothers went with King Saul to battle. Where do we find David? With King Saul? Trying to gain a higher position in the king's court? When Saul was feeling better he had no need for David so he was sent home. Here we find David once again, tending his father’s sheep.

Jesse sends David to do a supply run to his brothers. It is on this, a servant's task, that David sees the Philistine champion, Goliath, badmouthing God and His chosen people. David will not stand for it! He knew that God was with him and would be all the strength he needed. David says in verse 37,

1 Samuel 17:37

“The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

David, doing a supply run for his brothers, was prepared to go into battle. He didn’t need time to train or get ready. His service was his preparation. So when David saw the injustice that was being done to his God and his people, he stood up and fought. He was ready!

People said David was too small. They said he couldn’t possibly beat this nine-foot tall giant. But David didn’t listen to the noise. He knew who was leading him. He knew who had prepared him. He knew the source of his strength. David didn’t need anyone to see the outward signs of his strength and power. David knew who he was and more importantly, he knew the God he served would be with him.

David put in the work. When a musician was needed to play for the king, David was ready because he played in the fields for no one but God and the sheep. And when there was injustice being done towards God and his people, David stood ready to fight. He didn’t need to go practice with his sling or ask for more time. He was prepared for when his time came.

If you are in a season of waiting, like David was prior to fighting Goliath, be at peace. This time of waiting and wilderness wandering can be pivotal moments of preparation if you let them. Use this time. Get in the word. Spend time in prayer and worship. Memorize scripture. Sing songs of praise and worship to our King. Your time to fight the giants in your life will come, I promise you. Like David, will you be ready to stand?


We can all learn valuable lessons from David and his humble heart. Like David, God will lead us through seasons of doing seemingly menial tasks like tending sheep or doing supply runs. And like David, we too need to serve where God plants us, not pursuing a position or the next great thing that God has for us. We need to see everything and everyone that is placed in our path as valuable and an opportunity to serve our God and to love his people. We need to see our seasons of waiting and wandering as preparation for where God is leading us. We need not always show our strength or defend ourselves. We know the God who lives in us and walks with us. That should be more than enough until the time when we too are called to stand up to the Goliaths in our own lives.  

Practical Application Questions:

1.     Would you consider yourself to be a humble man? Would those around you consider you to be a humble man? How has God humbled you over the years?

2.     You may not be where God has called you to be yet, but how are you serving where you are now in preparation for what is yet to come?

3.     How has your understanding of your identity in Christ changed over your life? Do you think you will ever come to the end of that understanding or will there always be more to learn?

4.     What else of David and his early life stood out to you?

Week 1 - David's Humble Heart