Johanson, joey, my son, &David, his hero

1 Jul

david, his essence

My son Johanson loved sports; the Mets and baseball; WWF ( now known as WWE ) and Greco-Roman wrestling. He participated in both, especially wrestling during the winter season.

He was very proud of never bring ‘pinned’ even if he lost. He avoided being pinned by not trying. He got on his knees and hands in the middle of the mat, head down, and never moved. He was never forced to the mat; why?

He never tired to wrestle a difficult opponent. Never.

Muscular and short; smart and quick; he hated to lose. An orphan we adopted when he was 14, Joey had a very poor self esteem. He had to win. Always. To be the smartest and the best, not the overlooked and the forsaken, no love, no acceptances or words could convince Joey to try to wrestle a difficult opponent. He could not lose if he did not try. He avoided stepping into difficult matches, against giants in fields.

David, Jesse’s son, was placed by his family in fields of sheep as a young teen.

Psalm 78, a song of remembrances, ends describing David as being part of a family of Judah; so loved by God that God

‘… ( He ) chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.

69 And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.

70 He chose David also his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds:

71 From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.

72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.’ KJV

David is described here as a young man composed of four essential qualities. These qualities are all connected by one overarching quality: vulnerability. This is the essence of David.

The Oxford dictionary describes ‘vulnerability’ as “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.”

David, as the Psalm closes, is described not as a shepherd, but as a servant. This is David’s first essential quality: he serves. How does David serve? Verses 70 and 71 describes David as being taken,

‘from the sheepfolds:/

71 From following the ewes great with young’

David is among the sheep. He is not yet called a shepherd. He is called a servant because he is among the most vulnerable. He is with female sheep, ewes, who are ‘great with young.’ He is with young mothers, who are on the verge of giving birth.

This is his first step in God’s leadership training. God places a vulnerable young man with his most exposed creations, pregnant sheep. David is those who are most exposed; thus he is also exposed, as vulnerable as those he watches.

As a second step, David’s God ‘ brings/brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance.’

Why are the names Jacob and Israel used here? Isn’t it just one person? Why both names?

From Jacob comes the 12 tribes. He feeds these 13 children, these coming tribes. But Jacob was a deceiver, one who cheated his brother Esau and his father Issac. The blessing he steals is irrevocable. He will be able to feed. But he is called to do more. He is called to change.

And he is changed as he wrestles with the Angel of the Lord the night before he is to reunite with Esau. ( Genesis 32: 28 ) That night his name is changed to Israel, to ‘one who contends, one who wrestles.’

We are the the blessings of that wrestling, we are sons and daughters of God. We are his inheritance. His people loved and blessed.

In this second step David is called both to feed and bless the people, to bless the Lord’s inheritance. He is called to be king, priest and prophet. He is to feel and fill all three roles. He is to be vulnerable to all.

In David’s leadership development his third step can be seen when

‘… he fed them according to the integrity of his heart…’

David feels the people, his ewes, his young, with his heart. So David feeds them. David meets their needs. And he does so with integrity. He feeds all; the flocks grow; he touches them as he feels and feeds them again. A man after God’s own heart, David is vulnerable before them all.

And in David’s last step of leadership development, David,

‘…guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.’

David guides. He doesn’t push or beat or guilt; he doesn’t punish or resent. David guides.

He leads gently. He leads with vulnerability. He is open to being broken and open. He is now God’s servant shepherd.

Vulnerable, he leads.

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