And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? (1 Samuel 17:29)
For hundreds of years Christians have rallied around the question David asked here in 1 Samuel 17…Is there not a cause? And for the believer, the definitive answer is a resounding, "YES!" There is a cause. And what a blessing, what a privilege it is to be part of the greatest "cause" in history – the cause of Christ – the evangelization of the world, the exaltation of the Son of God, the edification of the saints of God, etc., etc.
Now, when we read the above passage, I believe most of us assume that the "cause" David refers to is the defeat of that giant Philistine by the name of Goliath. At least that's what I've assumed every other time I've heard this passage preached or read it for myself. But that actually does not seem to fit the context of the statement.
Here's the preceding verse, 1 Samuel 17:28…And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? And with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
So in the context, when David answers in verse 29 with his famous question, Is there not a cause?, he is actually defending himself in response to Eliab's accusation that he was there at the battle scene that day for the entirely wrong reason. Nothing more. Nothing less. David is being accused by his elder brother and pleading his own innocence.
A reading of the entire chapter would reveal the real reason David was present. He was doing as his father Jesse had commanded him (v. 20). He was there to take some food to his brothers and to see how they were doing (vv. 17-18). And he had indeed left the sheep with a keeper (v. 20).
Here's where I'm going with this...
The "cause" David referred to in verse 29 was not necessarily taking down Goliath…it was obeying his dad. Contrary to whatever Eliab might have said, David was there that day because he was doing what his father had told him to do.
And that is the ultimate cause. The cause of OBEDIENCE. We read it not long ago, To obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). Young person…old person, God requires nothing more and nothing less than your OBEDIENCE.
And…when we are OBEDIENT, God will put is in the right place at the right time to do the job He has for us to do…just like David here in 1 Samuel 17. Think about it, we would never have learned about David and Goliath in Sunday school had David not been faithful to complete the small task his father had given him. And we'll never fulfill God's intended purpose for our lives if we're not faithful to the little things He commands.
Don't waste your time worrying about missing the "unknown" will of God for your life. Busy yourself being OBEDIENT to what He has already told you to do. And if you're faithful to do THAT…then make no mistake, God will direct your steps. He'll lead you and guide you and bless you and keep you.
This is what the Bible means when it says, In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:6). This is what the Bible means when it says, Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105). This is what the Bible means when it says, Order my steps in thy word, and let not any iniquity have dominion over me (Psalm 119:133).
Obedience – the ultimate cause.