The “Long” Shortcut (Part 2): A Shepherd To The Greatest King Of All Time

The Cambridge dictionary defines a shortcut as a route more direct than the usual route or a quicker way of doing something. It is basically a faster or shorter way of getting to a place. Humans naturally lean towards shortcuts at the slightest opportunity, even with obvious risks and dangers. It is often argued why waste precious time and resources to achieve what can be achieved within the shortest possible time. Therefore, systems in both the service and manufacturing sectors are constantly exploring ways to shorten processes to achieve efficiency and maximize profitability. In like manner, God, the creator of the entire universe in record time, would be the first to opt for the best, effective, and efficient way of executing every aspect of His Kingdom business.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a popular assertion that God is not too interested in shortcuts, even if they appear to be risk-free and the apparent way out of the affairs of His children. One scripture usually picked out of context to back that assertion can be found in Exodus 13:17. It reads, “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.” Although God is the most significant stakeholder of our walk with Him, believers more often than not behave and pretend as though they are more concerned about productivity in God’s vineyard business than He. This write-up aims to critically examine how God’s ways may appear long and impossible but always turn out to be the shortest route toward set goals in the end. Using David the Shepherd Boy, lessons will also be gleaned regarding maintaining the needed composure when traversing the humanly “long” hauls when God leads.

Jacob the Patriarch prophesied about Judah when pronouncing blessings on his children. He said, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.” (Genesis 49:10). Over time, someone from the tribe of Judah was to sustain and host the fulfillment of this Messianic prophecy. Thankfully, the mantle fell on the household of Jesse, who had eight sons and two daughters. David was the youngest among his brothers and, as a shepherd, spent most of his time tending his father’s flock. One of Jesse’s sons was to showcase an earthly Kingship of Israel through whom the indisputable King and redeemer of the world in the person of Christ would descend. The obvious choice was Eliab, the first male of Jesse according to tradition and accepted practices prevailing in Israel. It was, therefore, not surprising that when the children of Jesse assembled before Samuel, he saw Eliab and thought he was the one. Therefore, Eliab was well-built and resembled a King or someone God could easily use. So, Samuel said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed stands here before the Lord.” (1 Samuel 16:6). God quickly intervened, saying to Samuel, “He is not the one.” God isn’t as slow and timid as some want us to believe.

He knows what He wants and will do everything to achieve it in real-time. At this, Jesse decided to select his remaining children using seniority for the ranking. He, therefore, pushed forward his second male child in the person of Abinadab, but God again told Samuel to skip him as well. The third was also presented, but he didn’t meet God’s selection criteria. The obvious thing one would have expected from Jesse and Samuel was adjourning proceedings and instead asking God to mention His choice to avoid wasting more time. Others can also argue that God could have mentioned the choice to Samuel even before he got to the household of Jesse. God, however, allowed the entire screening exercise to its logical conclusion to show the flaws in human behavior. When none of those present met the criteria, Samuel asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” ‘There is still the youngest,’ Jesse answered. ‘He is tending the sheep.” David was called back home at the instance of Samuel, and when immediately he saw him, God told Samuel, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” (1 Samuel 16:12). “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah. (1 Samuel 16:13).

Can you imagine what would be running through the minds of Jesse and the seven brothers of David, especially Eliab, the firstborn? What of David himself? Samuel insisted he would wait for the said youngest son to come from wherever he was until he left the house. The household of Jesse would be wondering why the most revered Prophet Samuel would waste all that time to see their David. Others always perceive it to be a long haul or time-wasting anytime God begins to cut His shortcut for those He chooses and favors. David finally becomes the King of Israel after Saul’s death. The selection process in Jesse’s household even indicates when it will be David’s turn if Jesse and Samuel have the prerogative of choosing the next King after Saul. Ranked 8th amongst his brothers and per his stature, there was no way David could have even become a cupbearer at the King’s palace during his lifetime. The Philistines, led by Goliath, engaged the Israelites in a destiny battle soon afterward.

When David stepped out to face the Philistine giant, King Saul spelled out the profile of Goliath to him and asked him to show him before allowing him. Saul told David, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” (1 Samuel 17:33). He told David that Goliath had been a warrior from his youthful days, so wanted David also to show him his profile in warfare before he could allow him. David replied to the King, “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;” (1 Samuel 17:34-36). David’s profile could be summarized as “The Faithful and Dependable Shepherd of his Father’s Sheep.” At the face of David’s profile, there appears to be a mismatch compared to that of the Philistine giant.

It was a battle between “A warrior from his youth” and “A good keeper of his Father’s sheep.” Faithfulness, Reliability, and Diligence as a steward were the crux of David’s profile. But for God’s workings, no search committee or military command structure would have allowed David to fight Goliath with the Curriculum Vitae he submitted. Yet, that was all God needed to catapult David David to gain general acceptance amongst the Israelites. It is excellent to have an impressive résumé when applying for jobs. That alone, however, does not guarantee a person a placement because there would likely be others that would be more competitive than theirs. God’s “long” shortcut for David the shepherd to ascend the throne as a King was, therefore, through his time in the bush with the wild animals protecting the sheep of Jesse. Quite a lowly, routine, and unprestigious chore to take up in the household, but that became the shortest route for him to stardom. Undoubtedly, David’s Kingship was in God’s Messianic plan for the world’s redemption. However, his faithfulness, Love, and kindness were some fruits of the Spirit he bore, which lifted him from a Shepherd to the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) regarding the Kings of the earth.

From the above illustrations, we can firmly conclude that what humans call a long path toward success is God’s shortcut for His children. We have also realized that while many depend on their qualifications and hard work to occupy positions of trust, others see that as a rather long journey full of uncertainties. They thus resort to backbiting, lobbying, feminine power, and elimination of supposed competitors by rough tactics, which come with their inherent disappointments and miseries. God, however, knows the shortest but safest route to the assigned blessed destinations of all He calls His children. His route doesn’t take time; it saves it instead for all who put their trust in Him.

William L. Hogan once said, “God is under no obligation to explain or defend Himself to us. His ways are often perplexing and sometimes very painful, but be sure of this: God Himself has brought you to that difficult spot, and He makes no mistakes. We must rest assured that He knows what He is doing, even when we do not, and that He does everything well.” However, When God chose to use the Red Sea route for Israel instead of the shortcut, He explained His rationale to them. “For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt. So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.” (Exodus 13:18).

Many believers, unfortunately, elongate God’s shortcut for them by the choices they made and by their lifestyles but turn around to make blasphemous comments about God and create disaffection for Him. Israel would not have spent 40 years in the wilderness for that journey to the promised Land. Those years could be best described as imprisonment or punishment and must not be added to the total mileage from Egypt to Cannan. God punished them to wander about until all over 20 years perished, except for Caleb and Joshua.

There can be no one who needs productivity in God’s vineyard than Himself. Therefore, there will always be good reasons, primarily out of the reach of human comprehension, why the apparent delays are loaded with intrigues anytime God is in charge. He always proves Himself as the faithful one, with the end being extraordinarily glorious if only we are prepared to go the “long” hull with Him. Humankind’s way perceived as a shortcut is instead loaded with risk, uncertainties, and speculations founded on human wishes. The routes God uses are incomprehensible and inaccessible by humankind’s efforts. It is always viewed as long, although it is always the shortest and safest way to reach our destinations. His Grace and help are where He leads. Stay blessed.

Written by Pastor James Orhin Agyin

Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *