1 Samuel 17:28–29: “Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, ‘Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.’ And David said, ‘What have I done now? Is there not a cause?’”

May 26th, 2023 by Pastor Ed in devotional

It sounds like David’s older brother was still feeling the sting of rejection because God had chosen his little brother over him to rule the nation. He was also being a typical older brother, expecting and accusing David of the worst. He was basically saying, “You just came to see blood and guts. Why don’t you just go home, smart mouth?” And David gave a typical younger brother’s response: “Now what did I do?” David’s feelings might have been hurt, but he refused to be hindered by his brother’s misunderstanding of his motive. When David heard of Saul’s reward to the man who beat Goliath, David spoke and thought about who God is and what God can do. Instead of seeing it as an opportunity to glorify himself, he only saw it as an opportunity to glorify God.

Can we handle criticism and misunderstanding as well as David did? How thick is our skin? Someone said years ago that serving God requires 2 things. First we need a heart the size of an elephant, and, secondly, we need skin as thick as a rhinoceros. How was David able to handle this criticism so well? He was more concerned with God’s cause and opinion than with anyone else’s. David got the same reaction when he later volunteered to fight Goliath. Saul said, “You can’t fight this Philistine, you’re only a boy.” However, despite all the flack, David did not give up. He insisted that he be given a chance to take on the giant.

When Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat, first presented his new invention, there were reportedly many critics crowded on the riverbank yelling, “It’ll never work; it’ll never even start.” After a lot of tinkering and clanking, Fulton proved them wrong as the steamboat finally started moving down the river. The critics were momentarily quieted but quickly recovered and started yelling, “It’ll never make it; it will never be able to stop.” We will be criticized as we walk with the Lord; so we need to follow the example of David and Robert Fulton. We can’t let it hold us back; we need to use it by applying it and growing from it.

“LORD, help us today to seize the opportunities You place before us and not be slowed down by the critics.”