67 Then he rejected the tents of Joseph,
he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim;
68 but he chose the tribe of Judah,
Mount Zion, which he loved.
69 He built his sanctuary like the heights,
like the earth that he established forever.
70 He chose David his servant
and took him from the sheep pens;
71 from tending the sheep he brought him
to be the shepherd of his people Jacob,
of Israel his inheritance.
72And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;
with skillful hands he led them.

Psalm 78:67-72 NIV

The verses we are pondering today focus on David’s appointment and role as King. But before I address this section I feel it is appropriate to at least pass over the first 66 verses of this Psalm.

The Psalm begins with an affirmation of the importance of teaching and remembering the great deeds and miracles God had performed on behalf of his people, the Israelite nation.

But the Israelite people had a problem. They did not remain faithful to God and they did not live by his law. In spite of God’s many miracles, they too soon forgot that they needed God and went their own way.

Whenever God sent hardships on them the Israelites would turn again to him. They would make promises they didn’t keep. Even though God led his people as a shepherd leads his sheep, they rebelled and suffered the consequences. These consequences led the Israelite people to risk and lose the Ark of the Covenant to their enemies, the Philistines. This happened before Saul was anointed King.

Verse 67 begins the explanation of the process God used to select David as the next king of Israel. David came from the tribe of Judah. He had been a shepherd as a youth – a role that he was able to carry over into his reign as King. He was no longer tending sheep, however. Now he was tending the flock of Israelite people, leading them as a shepherd leads his sheep. David led his people with integrity of heart.

Perhaps the message for our day and time that we can take from these verses is the example we are given for good leadership. God used the sheep pens to train David for leadership. David learned how to lead by shepherding his people. He led the people with “integrity of heart: with skillful hands he led them.” (Verse 72 NIV)

As we approach our next national election, may we pray for this kind of leader for our country. One who will lead by example, who will lead through service, who will lead with integrity and skill.

Father God, lead us as our shepherd. May we be willing sheep, eager to follow your example. Lead us through the next election to seek leaders who will lead with honor and integrity. And in the areas of our own individual lives where we have leadership roles, let us take to heart the example you have shown us.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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