We are first introduced to David as he is keeping sheep for his father. He has accepted, obediently, the lowly job passed on to the youngest of eight sons. Because of his duty, he is missing out on the festivities that are taking place at the family home.
From the text, it would seem that David is somewhat neglected by his family. When Samuel asks Jesse to gather his sons, it apparently doesn’t occurr to Jesse that the prophet might have a message for his youngest. He never thought David would serve some special purpose. Jesse didn’t even send for David. It’s not as if he couldn’t have, because when Samuel asks specifically for him, he promptly dispatches a messenger. It just didn’t cross the collective family mind that young David was the one.
Amazingly, this does not make David bitter. When he arrives, there is no indication that he resents such treatment. Nor, after coming before Samuel and being anointed as the future king of Israel, does he seem to expect preferential treatment. Instead, he returns to the field to continue watching the sheep.
David’s attitude in this scene is a clear indication of his character. His diligent attitude toward his work showed a strong sense of personal responsibility. The magnitude or glory of the task is unimportant to him. What matters is doing the task assigned and doing it well.
His respectful attitude toward those around and over him reflects his attitude toward God. In fact, the clearest indicator of anyone’s relationship to God may be our relationship to others. On several occasions in Scripture, our love for God is directly related to our love for others.
Jesus said, “Whoever would be greatest among you, let him be your servant.” David’s integrity was displayed through the heart of a servant. His attitude of humility was key to his future greatness.