Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, as a warrior wakes from the stupor of wine. He beat back his enemies; he put them to everlasting shame. Then he rejected the tents of Joseph, he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim; but he chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which he loved. He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever. He chose David his servant and took him from the sheep pens; from tending the sheep he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel his inheritance. And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.
I believe a burning passion for God is kindled in the midst of the normal everyday “sheep pens” of life—carpooling kids to practice; making house payments; repairing leaky faucets; contemplating career changes; building a marriage; working through conflict; paying for car repairs. The list goes on. It’s from the “sheep pens” that God calls us to higher levels of meaning and significance. That’s what happened to King David.
God called David to the palace from the pens. It was in David’s lonely, thankless, smelly shepherding work that God ignited the future leader’s heart. David learned the art of shepherding sheep and then transferred the principles to leading a nation. David’s heart of integrity that developed when no one was looking became the same heart of integrity that led the Israelites to greatness. The skill of nurturing, protecting, and caring for sheep allowed David to lead a people to worship God. God developed David in the pens.
Maybe you feel like you are living and working in the “sheep pens.” It stinks. It’s not particularly pleasant. It’s not where you want to be or thought you would be. You feel alone and maybe even abandoned. Let me remind you that God is not wasting your time. Today He is preparing you for tomorrow. Remember: He does His best work in the sheep pens.
Father, give me patience in the pens. Help me learn all You need me to learn so I can be the servant You desire me to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen.