Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:11-13.
A young shepherd boy was anointed the next king of Israel after King Saul was rejected of the Lord. He had the Lord’s heart, a heavenly passion, was wise beyond his years, faith to defeat those who others feared, and a shepherd’s understanding of care. But he was not yet ready to reign. Not yet.
God took 15 years to complete the development of the first important king of Israel. 15 years of trials, running, fear, some victories, many personal defeats, and constant conflict. What was missing? Why was David not ready?
Maturity. Specifically, emotional maturity. It is a problem with passionate people. David was a passionate person.
Most define “a passionate person” as one who seems to feel emotions deeper and more powerfully than normal. That is a workable description. In return, “emotional maturity” is defined as being able to experience the same deep, powerful feelings and emotions without altering course, changing priorities, or turning to the right or to the left because of them. David had to mature emotionally.
Our feelings and emotions are beautiful gifts from God. They add such important color to our days and importance to our experience. However, they were not given to us to give us direction. The direction to which they call for us is typically, almost universally, wrong.
Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry and do not sin”. The common acceptance of this scripture is that anger in itself is not a sin but is to serve as a warning light that something is wrong. What is a sin is to obey its suggestions. This is true for any emotion or feeling, even mania, something that would cause you to remove your clothes and dance in the street at a victory (2 Sam. 6:14).
David never fully learned to experience feelings without it affecting him. Much of the Psalms reflect that battle for a passionate person, but typically end with the affirmation that God calls us to do right by His instructions regardless of how we feel.
Psalms 13 “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”