A review of great men and women in the Bible reveals a strange selection of the ‘least likely to succeed’.  In each case, the strategic difference was a connectedness to God. 

David is the classic example.  In the house of Jesse, he was the kid brother who watched the flocks while his older brothers got the attention.  The prophet Samuel came to see if one of them would replace Saul as King of Israel.  David wasn’t even invited into consideration by his own father.  While his own family was oblivious to God’s potential in his life, God sent his servant Samuel to find him. 

When David killed the giant Goliath, his own brothers doubted his motives and sneered at the idea of him succeeding.  His family’s opinion would not change until God began to release the warrior and leader hiding in the kid brother.

David had to wait a long time before the time of his throne would come.  He had to overcome great misunderstanding and malice before realizing the fulfillment of his call.  During his days of exile and estrangement from the ruling king Saul, God used the pressures and conflicts to train David.   David built an incredible team during the difficult days.  At a time when King Saul was trying to find and kill him, David hid in a cave at Adullam (a name which means ‘refuge’).

When the powers around him wanted him dead, God had him in a place of refuge.  What is the refuge that God has hid you in, protecting you for the day of God’s released potential in your life?

1 Samuel 22:
 1 David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father's household heard about it, they went down to him there. 2 All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their leader. About four hundred men were with him.

This is quite a description of people that do not fit in.  They were in trouble, they owed a lot of money and they were not happy with the way things were.  If David were not following close to God, he would easily have had a rebel army to march against Saul.  Instead, David took the four hundred men and taught them what he knew about courage and warfare.  In this awkward time of David’s life, God brought people to learn from him.  God does not always wait until a better day to use you.  He uses you in times when you are still afraid and needing refuge.

From these desperate beginnings David found a team that would become ‘his mighty men of valor’.  A number of these men became infamous for their loyalty, courage and strength on the battlefield.  Several of them became part of David’s team when he became King.  They were people who would gladly lay down their lives to see David succeed.

How is it that the ones who were in trouble and estranged the most became the most valiant builders of God’s community?  It happened because an anointed leader was willing to work with them and give them a place where they belong.  David was like a father who adopted them, even before he had a suitable house to raise them in.  God still works that way adopting sons and daughters into a family, though surrounded by threat on every side.