June 2018, Christ Mountain Top, Father’s Day, Graduates
the Psalm, Psalm 4
1 Samuel 17
1 Samuel 17.55-58
home, when the boys were younger, we played a game with them: “Whose boy are
you?” Daddy’s boy! Mommy’s boy!
Grandad’s boy! Grandma’s boy! Yes, the adults were getting a little
competitive, and the kids enjoyed the attention. The question we asked was more than about
paternity. It was about loyalty,
allegiance. “I pledge allegiance …”
I ask you the question Saul asked, “Whose boy are you?”
was not asking who David’s parents were. He already had that information. David
had already begun serving Saul as an instrumentalist, playing his harp to drive
away the evil spirit that had begun to afflict the king.
was not asking David if he was familiar with ancient conventions of respect.
You address the king as “my lord” or “my father” and you speak of yourself as
“your servant” or “your son.” David had that down. He had already served in the
royal court and, in the beginning of this particular story, presented himself
before Saul as “your servant”.
was asking the “Who’s your daddy?” question – Where is your loyalty? Do you
know on which side your bread is buttered?
answer was appropriate, but it was not what Saul desired. Saul wanted David to
speak of himself as Saul’s son – after all, Saul had promised the victor one of
his daughters in marriage and himself as father-in-law. But David did not kill Goliath as Saul’s man.
Goliath called the Israelite army the “servants of Saul”, David called them the
army of the living God.
Saul offered David the signs of royal status, the armor of kings, David, as the
untested anointed one, turned him down.
Saul wanted to hear David introduce himself as “your servant” (the conventional
introduction that David uses earlier), David implies that, by Saul’s own
promise to the victor, his family is now free in Israel, and David’s true
master is Yahweh.
boy … whose girl are you?
who’s son is that young man?
your life, O king, I don’t know.
out who’s son this young man is.
wants to know who David is. Are the
rumors true? Has Samuel actually
anointed him the king-elect? Did the
spirit of the Lord leave Saul to rest on David?
In that case, David is God’s son as well as Jesse’s. In that case, he is his own name, David,
“desired one”. In that case,
Saul’s fate is sealed.
lions and bears while serving his father?
Who is this young man who cannot turn down the challenge of a great
warrior because that warrior defies the living God? Who is his father who sends him at just the
right time to make a difference?
experienced soldier? Who is this boy who
rejects the armor of the rejected king to fight a giant with sticks and
stones? Who is this boy who shows no
fear before his king or his enemy?
the same questions are asked:
is she to speak up for what is right and true in the workplace? Who is that young person who refuses to help
others cheat at school? Who is that man
who takes time to share the love of Jesus with his neighbors? Who is that person who lives a pure
life? Who is that man who treats his
wife and children with respect and affection?
Who is that woman who refuses to give in to gossip and bitterness?
the same pressures are brought to bear:
are expected to participate in hazing rituals. You are expected to compromise
your values or your unique gift for the sake of approval or success or better
job evaluations. You are asked to laugh at your parents so that you can be
accepted by others. You are expected to lie for your boss. Of course, if you
can lie for your boss, you can also lie to your boss.
Abner brings David before Saul. He lets
the king question him on his own.
son are you, young man?
son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem.
question reveals his poorly hidden agenda.
He is not interested in David’s heredity; he knows that well
enough. He is interested in David’s
loyalty, and loyalty is expressed in that culture through relationships.
are you going to bind yourself in loyalty to your father or to your king? to
the living God or your earthly lord?
Whom will you serve?
the story, the men of Israel are called the servants of Saul. Even David – in his first meeting with Saul
at the tent – introduces himself with the proper etiquette: “your
here, in the test of loyalty, he does not do so. He only says that he is the son of “your
servant” Jesse of Bethlehem.
requests; he gives Saul the answer expected by etiquette and convention; he
gives Saul an answer he already knows; he gives Saul an answer that Saul does
not want. David is his father’s
son. David is God’s man.
wanted to claim David’s loyalty. Indeed,
Saul later called David “my son”. (Remarkably, that was after Saul
had tried to kill David but instead had been given into David’s power.) But,
no. David is his father’s son. David is God’s man.
the same question is asked:
side are you on, anyway? We have to
stick together. OR, Stick with me and
you’ll go places. You’ve got to make a
choice: it’s either him or me, either her or me.
you heard these voices? When the
powerful ones around you try to subvert your loyalty, to alter your identity,
what do you say? Do you have the courage
to boldy proclaim your sonship, to take a stand as a child of God? That is what David did, and within just a
couple pages of the story Saul was trying to take his life. Standing up as children of God can be very
risky. Have you laid your life on the
line? Unless we actively identify
ourselves with Jesus Christ and live out our loyalty to him, can we call
ourselves God’s children? Have we sold
our soul to the company store, to the ladder of success, to the altar of
career, to the demands of family – or are we radically devoted and undividedly
loyal to Jesus?
I want to invite you to take a fresh stand for Jesus Christ – in your home, in
your work place, in your neighborhood, in your friendships. I invite you to say in a fresh way that you are
God’s son, God’s daughter.