He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand. - Psalm 78:70-72
Throughout the Old Testament, we see examples of a sovereign God, offering special distinctions to chosen followers. The stories of Abraham, Moses and David, as selected for a special relationship with Jevohah, are among the best known.
King David’s Wikipedia page, (yes, there is a Wikipedia page), states that he is best known for slaying Goliath. David, the benevolent King, slays a giant, but this scripture reminds us not of David’s strength or courage, but rather of David’s humility. He is a servant, who was plucked from the sheepfold, for an exalted position. David is one of the masses. He is simply doing his job, nursing the ewes, when he is chosen by God to lead his people.
Who among the masses might be chosen by God to slay a giant, lead his people and accept his inheritance? Is it me? Is it you? Why would God choose one of us? David was a shepherd and harpist. He was not chosen for these skills, instead he was chosen for his humility and faith. Without the skills of other leaders, David guided with a skillful hand. To me, one of the most important parts of this passage is “with upright heart.” What is an upright heart?
Having an upright heart is to be more than above corruption or evil, but instead to have a heart filled with faith, selflessness and service. A heart that beats with a call for justice and peace and care for the least among us is an upright heart. Developing an upright heart is the greatest call of Christianity. Jesus walked among his people demonstrating an upright heart. As I approach this Lenten season, I want to quietly listen for my beating heart. I want to fill my heart with the teachings of Christ. I want to remember that cardiovascular health comes in many forms, and one of the goals for my heart health is to develop an upright heart. With an upright heart, perhaps God will choose me. Not to lead a nation or slay a giant, but to feed someone who is hungry, defend an oppressed minority, welcome a stranger, and profess his word.
Here I am Lord, is it I Lord? I have heard you calling in the night. I will go Lord, if you lead me I will hold your people in my heart.
And all God’s people said, Amen.