REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on April 25, 2015, is provided by Pastor Jason Sato who, along with his wife Jessica and three young children, serves in Japan as an AMI missionary. He and his wife just planted an English-speaking church in Tokyo.
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
2 Samuel 5:1-5 (ESV)
Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “Behold, we are your bone and flesh.  In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel. And the LORD said to you, ‘You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.’”  So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel.  David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.  At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.
As a sophomore in college, I was already eager to graduate. This was partially because I was eager to work and make money and partially because I thought I would then be done with school forever (God is funny in His providence). In my naiveté, I imagined graduation would be the time when I finally “made it” and I could reap the benefits of my labor. It was all very self-centered.
In our passage this morning, David is finally experiencing the fulfillment of God’s promises to him. David is to be king and prince over Israel. The time of running for his life and living in caves is (presumably) over! Now David can enjoy a life of power, prestige, and wealth. But is that all?
See, David is not only called to be prince, but he is also called to be shepherd. Jesus tells us in John 10:11 that “the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” David’s blessings are not meant to benefit him alone, but they are given for the sake of the sheep. David ascends to the throne, he enjoys a lengthy and prosperous reign, and he is favored by God, not for the sake of his own legacy but that he might be a greater blessing to the people of Israel.
Not only does success equip David for his shepherding ministry, but also hardship. The many years of wandering and waiting gave David a compassionate heart. He was a man who knew what a shepherd was meant to be – one who would give rest, lead, and comfort the sheep (Psalm 23).
So often we see success and hardship only in regards to how it benefits us. The noblest way we interpret our circumstances is how they are maturing us or drawing us nearer to God. Of course, we were made to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, but it rarely occurs to us that God may be shaping and reshaping us that we might be more effective at loving and caring for others.
Prayer: Father, I thank You for every blessing and every hardship. May Your blessings draw me into greater thanksgiving and worship. May I freely give away to others what I have received from You. May every hardship purify my heart and make me more able to sympathize with others and shepherd them into Your presence and likeness. Amen
Bible Reading for Today: Matthew 8