Living in the Forty-First Day
The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease; His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness! Lamentations 3:22-23
Have you ever been in that place where every day seems so ordinary and mundane compared to all you hoped life would be? Your heart is full of dreams and plans but nothing seems to be unfolding. You know that God has called you to more, but you are stuck in the pasture doing the same thing day in and day out.
It must have felt that way for David. David was a shepherd boy and spent day in and day out caring for dirty, smelly and stubborn sheep. He was called out from the sheep pasture and privately anointed king and then returned to the pasture to tend to sheep. He obeyed the assignment that God had for him.
It was while shepherding sheep that he learned to play the harp and sing songs. We are privileged to enjoy so many of the Psalms that he wrote from a mundane and lonely place, yet full of honesty and deep love for God. What he didn’t know back then was that one day King Saul would summon him to play the harp to calm the tormenting spirit that was ravaging his life.
Shepherd boy turned music man turned errand boy.
On one of those ordinary days in David’s life, his father, Jesse requested he go on an errand to check on his brothers. Jesse’s boys were in the army of Israel and daddy wanted to send them food and gather a good report on them. David found someone to care for his sheep and off he went on daddy’s errand.
Unknown to David, he stepped into forty-first day living on that errand day. Let me show you what I mean by that. We pick up the story in 1 Samuel 17:16
“For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and
took his stand.”
This struck me like never before as I was studying the account of David and Goliath found in 1 Samuel 17. For forty days the Israelites and the Philistines drew up their battle lines. And for forty days Goliath, the Philistine giant went forward and strutted his giant features robed in all of that metal garb. I can only imagine that the tone of his voice must have matched the magnificent size of his body. For forty days he taunted the Israelites as he defied God and the armies of God.
Day after day for forty days. Morning and Evening. He took his stand and shouted the same thing.
Is that not how the enemy is? He spouts the same thing over and over. As long as he can keep us trapped or running in fear, he has won his battle against us. He repeats the same lies. He brings up all of the “what-ifs” and He seeks to overpower us with his intimidating ways.
But on the forty-first day, everything changed.
Errand boy overheard this taunting and he rose up and volunteered to fight this giant. King Saul looked at his size and age and felt there was no way he could stand up to Giant Goliath. David was quick to remember how God had trained him in the pasture. He answered this way:
“But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:34-37
When David headed out that forty-first day, he didn’t know about Goliath. He didn’t know errand boy was about to become Warrior of God. It wasn’t on his plan or agenda, but God had prepared him for this very day. He had come to know the name of the Lord of Hosts. The one who had delivered him in the past would deliver him in the future. Goliath would be just like a lion or a bear and he was confident God would deliver again.
Every place that we experience God, gives us faith to believe Him in the next place.
And God did it again. One stone slung from that shepherd boy’s slingshot took Goliath to the ground. David’s confidence was not in his own strength and ability, but in His God that he had come to know and to trust.
You never know what God is doing while you are stuck in the pasture. Those hard and lonely places that we often find ourselves, God is silently working in our lives as He is growing our faith. He is preparing us for what is ahead.
Will you trust him right where you are? As you experience Him in this place, you will be prepared for the next assignment.
All of those days that David had spent in the pasture just paid off. I wonder how many of us feel stuck in an insignificant place. Forgotten. Unusable. Unnoticed. Alone doing an insignificant work. And yet it is in those very places that God is building something in us that will change a day. You never know when God will send you into the 41st day and you will be the warrior for the day.
Goliath went toward David and David ran toward Goliath. He did not turn and run in fear, but instead he ran toward him full of faith.
“Lord, may we not resent the place that you have us, even when it seems so plain and ordinary. May we set our eyes on you and grow in love and faith. May we embrace every assignment that you have for us. May we know your power, love, goodness and provision right where we are. And when you lead us into the 41st day, we will stand ready to stand against any enemy that comes our way.”