David's song, preserved for us as Psalm 131, says that he does not involve himself in great matters or "things too difficult for him." The idea here is that he doesn't pursue places of prominence or greatness. He recognizes his own limitations based on an honest assessment of his knowledge and skills, and he feels no need to play the hero. He simply doesn't have anything to prove. He is not only willing but, in fact, pleased to be removed from the public platform of fickle applause.
This reminds me of another great man of God: Moses. According to Acts 7:22, he was educated in the finest schools Egypt had to offer. He was gifted with a powerful personality. He was a most impressive man. He was a mighty warrior—brave, brilliant, and even heroic. It was clear to many that he was destined to be the Pharaoh of the land. At age forty, however, he killed an Egyptian and attempted to deliver his people (the Jews) by his own means. Exodus 2:11–15 tells the whole story. This resulted in his fleeing Egypt for the Midian Desert—a hot, dry, forgotten place of obscurity. He lived among shepherds for another forty years, unknown and unapplauded. Think of it! Moses, a prominent member of the royal family, spending his days leading no one but flocks of woolies, utterly removed from people: shelved, sidelined, and silent. F. B. Meyer writes of this experience:
But Moses was out of touch with God (in Egypt). So he fled, and crossed the desert that lay between him and the eastern frontier; threaded the mountain passes of the Sinaitic peninsula, through which in after years he was to lead his people; and at last sat wearily down by a well in the land of Midian . . . . and finally to the quiet life of a shepherd in the calm open spaces of that wonderful land, which, on more than one occasion, has served for a Divine school.
Such experiences come to us all. We rush forward, thinking to carry all before us; we strike a few blows in vain; we are staggered with disappointment, and reel back; we are afraid at the first breath of human disapprobation; we flee from the scenes of our discomfiture to hide ourselves in chagrin. Then we are hidden in the secret of God's presence from the pride of man. And there our vision clears: the silt drops from the current of our life, as from the Rhone in its passage through the deep waters of Geneva's lake; our self-life dies down; our spirit drinks of the river of God, which is full of water; our faith begins to grasp his arm, and to be the channel for the manifestation of his power; and thus at last we emerge to be his hand to lead an Exodus.1
Moses didn't choose to leave his lofty perch for the life of a lowly shepherd; his own ambition led to humiliation. Fortunately, the Lord used his humiliating experience to help the future leader gain humility. Big difference between being humiliated and becoming humble. God used Moses' failure to mold one of the greatest leaders the world has ever known.
Unlike Moses, David made a conscious choice to slip away and not involve himself in matters of greatness and public glamour. For a time at least, his was to be a life of solitude and meditation.
1. F.B. Meyer, Moses (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1954), 32.
Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, Living the Psalms: Encouragement for the Daily Grind (Brentwood, Tenn.: Worthy Publishing, a division of Worthy Media, Inc., 2012). Copyright © 2012 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved. Used by permission.
Used with permission. All rights reserved.