I Samuel 17:28 reveals how David’s oldest brother felt about his presence on the battle line. “When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.””. These were the words that David heard from his brother and as we see David just ignores them. However, we know that Eliab must have been at least ten to fifteen years older than David since he was the oldest and David was the youngest. He might have taken the position that it was his responsibility to protect his younger brother.
However, there could be a lot of family conflict reflected in Eliab’s words. From Samuel commends in I Samuel 16 Eliab must have been a very commanding person. When Samuel first laid his eyes on him he thought surely this is the one the Lord has chosen. However, it was David that was chosen. As we saw in the life of Jacob or Joseph the relationships between brothers can be very tense. This must have been the situation between David and his brothers. As we see David ignores these words completely and not only watched the battle but was the man that God used to defeat the Philistines that day. But as we look at the words of Eliab, we realized why he was not the one that God had chosen for Samuel to anoint as the next king.
So as I look at this relationship that David had with his brother I realize why he was happy keeping the sheep in the fields. Here in the solitude of the fields he could develop a relationship with God by meditating on God’s word day and night. We must be careful about allowing the bitterness and anger of living in an environment of conflict effect the way we act around others. David, instead of confronting his brother, just walked way and sought the company of others who gave him words of encouragement. Exercising your faith among your friends and family can present many challenges. Walking by faith is the relationship one has with God and God alone. And yet the fruits of our faith can serve as a witness for others to see how God can work in their lives.