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Nehemiah was known and respected for his diligence as a contractor and builder, while his contemporary, Ezra was a dedicated scribe and priest.

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Read 1 Samuel 16:11; 17:34-35

Think ahead with me to 1 Samuel 17. Here is David, standing by Saul, as a giant lumbers across the distant landscape.

Saul says, "Who are you?"

"I'm David."

Saul says, "Where have you been?"

"With my father's sheep."

Then Saul says, "You can't fight this Philistine. You're just a little kid."

Though only a teenager, David responds without hesitation:

Your servant was tending his father's sheep [that's solitude, obscurity, monotony]. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock [that's reality], I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. (1 Samuel 17:34-35)

Where did David get such courage? He had learned it all alone before God. What kind of man is this David? A man of reality. He's a man who remained responsible when nobody was looking.

Goliath was no big deal. Why? Because David had been killing lions and bears while nobody was around. He'd been facing reality long before he squared off against Goliath. David may have lived many centuries ago, but the things we can learn from him are as current as this morning's sunrise. Two stand out in my mind.

First, it's in the little things and in the lonely places that we prove ourselves capable of the big things. If you want to be a person with a large vision, you must cultivate the habit of doing the little things well. That's when God puts iron in your bones!

Second, when God develops our inner qualities, He's never in a hurry. When God develops character, He works on it throughout a lifetime. He's not in a rush.

It is in the schoolroom of solitude and obscurity that we learn to become men and women of God. It is from the schoolmasters of monotony and reality that we learn to "king it." That's how we become—like David—men and women after God's own heart.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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