Eliab had harsh anger stirring his heart when he spoke the words to David.
“Why have you come down? And 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 to see the battle.” (1 Sm. 17:28)
Pastor Jeff read the old story of David and the giant his last Sunday preaching for us, and this was the verse that got my attention. Eliab speaks just like the voice in my head.
Take one step toward the giant, and though you lifted your foot to take that step in faith that God could use even you, by the time you set that foot down, your enemy hurls these same thoughts at you.
Why have you come down? He questions your importance and the value of who you are to take that step.
With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? He identifies your role as small and unimportant and accuses you of failing to be responsible even in that role.
I know your presumption and the evil of your heart… He accuses you of taking that step with a heart of wrong motives that only wants recognition for yourself.
For you have come down to see the battle. He finds a specific accusation to try to dig his foot into, even a weak spot where you have struggled with desire before.
Yet, met with these accusations that can tear people apart, David met his brother with a few short words and continued on in the same determination. Though he was called conceited, David pressed on to ensure that this giant who challenged God’s people would see the power of the God he was fighting against.
What makes a heart so confident in the belief that He will be used by God?
David’s legacy has lived on most in those dozens of prayers found in the psalms. A man of honest, heartfelt prayer, David let his feelings pour out before the Lord. He prayed his anguish and his hatred and his brokenness. And his prayers always brought him to knowing the place he truly stood before his God.
He prayed his feelings… “For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs on my head; my heart fails me.” (Psalm 40:12)
He lets the feelings pour out before the Lord, and as he pours them out God meets David with hope in his very own words of prayer… “As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” (Psalm 40:17)
Just a few lines after giving his honest plea from his heart that feels so broken, those feelings have led him through that sweet communion to the truth God had for him to treasure in that moment.
May we know, just as David, that these feelings are not unwanted in God’s presence but welcome. May we bring the feelings so often to God that we are rooted in the truth of who we are even as the enemy throws those accusation at us.
In prayer, God teaches us to not just hear and know truth, but to feel it with our hearts.
Truth becomes more than words, as we pray from the feelings inside us. As we pray each unimportant feeling, He fills that place inside us with the confidence of who we are in Him. As we pray our useless thoughts, He meets us there and lets us know inside our hearts that we are useful.
In prayer, we do not just know, but we can feel the truth of this…
I am His valuable bearer of fruit right here, right now.
The role He has given me to play is an essential part of His kingdom, and He calls me faithful.
The imperfect steps I take to offer what I can are the sweetest of offerings in His presence.
My past mistakes are not a hindrance to His ability to use me; it only makes his light shine more brilliant through my darkness.
Teach us to pray as David, that we may feel with You through our hearts, all the way to the heart-deep hope You store for us there.