Receiving a call from God brings with it the great test of if you can transform challenges into victories. How you face challenges shows if you are able to fight the battle and see God bring about a mighty victory. Today on the podcast we continue our look at the life of David and see how he succeeded where Saul failed in dealing with Goliath and bringing victory for God’s people.
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David lived a life of worship and complete trust in God and didn’t do those things for glory or to be loved by the people, but because he loved God and placed that relationship high above those other matters. Today we look at the aftermath of David’s anointing and how you too can learn how to live a life of success and not failer after youve been anointed by God.
For those who have been anointed and have received a calling from God one of the greatest tests you will face will come in the form of discovering the skill of transforming challenges into victories. Last week I talked about how “those who have been given a call and purpose from God will inevitable find themselves facing a great decisive and unexpected challenges which will determine if they will continue down the path God has laid out.
How you face those challenges will determine if you’ll even take up the courage to fight your battle and see God bring about a mighty victory in your life. As we’ve seen so far in the past few weeks having a calling or anointing on your life is only the first step in a life long journey full of ups, downs, sorrow, joy and total dependency on God.
David’s Statement Of Faith
Now let’s continue to look at the life of David and pick up at the leading up to the monumental confrontation between the anointed future king of Israel and the giant Goliath. If you remember last week, we looked at the arrival of David to the battlefield after he had been sent by his father to bring supplies to his brothers and their regiment.
David saw the hulking Goliath taunting the Israelite army into a champions battle to determine who would be subjected to whom. David unlike many of the soldiers apparently, demonstrated a willingness to stand up against this giant and stand up for God and his people. At first David was laughed at and scorned by his brothers and passing soldiers but one person overheard David’s words and told Saul about them.
1Samuel 17: 31- 32 “31 Now when the words
which David spoke were heard, they reported them to Saul; and he sent
for him. 32 Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail
because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
In 1 Samuel 17:34-37 David recounts to Saul his previous
victories against a lion and a bear, battles fought in secret upon the hills of
Judah as David protected his flock of sheep. David speaks of how he killed a
lion after he pulled one of his sheep from its mouth and how he grabbed it by
the beard and killed it, a surprising feat for any teenager. David didn’t
attribute those victories to his own military prowess or his great skill or
strength but rather David gave all of the credit to God. This abundantly clear
when we get to verse 37
1 Samuel 17:37 “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of
the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this
Philistine. And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”
To David, God wasn’t an ideal to him but a living reality, God wasn’t some far off entity who occasionally checks in on creation to make sure he didn’t leave the oven on. No, David saw God as an integral part of his daily life who was there to help him. This is a truth that became even more entrenched in David’s life after he was anointed. David knew what he was called to be and from that revelation he trusted God to preserve him long enough to fulfill that calling (as long as he remained faithful of course).
A Kings Battle
David was ready to fight this battle, but the irony here is that it wasn’t his battle in the first place. Here the person who should of gone up against Goliath wasn’t a pint-sized teenage shepherd but the King of Israel Saul. Of all the people in the Israelite army Saul was the closest match for Goliath in terms of size, we know this because 1 Samuel 10:23 describes Saul as being literally head and shoulders taller than the rest of the people who are estimated to of had an average height of around 5’3”.
Perhaps Goliath’s taunting was to lure out King Saul to
fight this battle, to have the largest Philistine (between 6’ and 9’6”,
depending on the manuscript) and the largest Israelite fight for control under
the watchful eye of each others’ gods to see where the true power in the region
rested. Even after weeks of taunting and challenges King Saul was content to
stay in his tent and hope someone else would fight this battle for him. The
shackles of fear had tightened around the heart of the king following his
abandonment of God’s anointing and how he was failing in his duty to protect
On the other hand you had David how was ready and willing to step up and fight this battle against the people’s enemy. Here we see play out a contrast of how two groups of people react to challenges in their lives. At one point both David and Saul were anointed by God but only one of them remained faithful and was ready to work with God to bring about a victory. We have one person ready to take up arms and fight while we have another who is trying to pawn off their responsibility but still maintain the credit for the accomplishment.
Don’t believe me then take a deeper look at what Saul tried to do with David. After Saul agrees to send his minstrel to fight the Philistine champion he tries to arm David with his own royal armor. At first this may seem reasonable but the deeper meaning here is that Saul may have been trying to trick the people into thinking he was fighting in the battle. Or another way to look at it Saul was trying to put his name on David and take the credit for a victory by proxy. Saul was looking for an easy way out, he didn’t want to fight but he wanted the glory from the victory.
But Saul’s armor was too large and cumbersome for David and he elected to go into battle without it. David refused Saul’s armor, he didn’t need Saul’s covering or protection because God was with Him. Would we make that same choice in our own lives, how often do we trust other people’s armor or position or power in place of God’s in our lives? It’s a temptation because it’s easy to trust more in things we can see or seem to provide tangible protection in a battlefield we don’t always see clearly.
The Time For Battle
After David refuses Saul’s armor he goes outside and finds
five smooth stones from a nearby brook (1 Samuel 17:41). Why five? Some like to
joke/point out that it could have been one stone for Goliath and four more for
his brothers, giants who were later killed during David’s reign as king (1
With a shepherds staff a sling and some stones David was
ready for the battle. At first this may seem foolish but David has already
shown that he can kill wild animals with his staff and the use of a sling was
actually common in battle in that era. Some estimate that a trained slinger
(Judges 20:16) could launch a projectile at speeds up to 100mph.
Now the pieces were set and David was ready to face off against Goliath a remnant of the giants that were driven out of Israelite territory by Joshua and into Philistine territory (Joshua 11:21-22). Israel failed to remove the Anakim (see also Rephaim, Emim and Nephilim) from the land and now an old battle was about to repeat itself, but the players remained the same the forces of chaos would stand toe to toe with God and his covenant partner.
1 Samuel 17:45-47 “45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
After making that declaration David rushed towards Goliath
and hurled a stone with his sling and knocked out the champion who dared to
curse and test God and his people.
Completing The Task
But the story didn’t finish there David went one step
further and ensured that the battle was over.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine
with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there
was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Therefore David ran
and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and
killed him, and cut off his head with it.
How often to we fail to complete our spiritual battles, how
often to we get a taste of victory and then go home without completing the
battle? I feel this is a tendency that is common in the church today, we stick
around just long enough for God to show up and begin to do something and we
think that it’s enough and go home. We take progression and advantages which
God has given to us but fail to see them through into victories and fulfillment
of God’s intentions for our lives. We are content to knock our proverbial
giants unconscious but are unwilling to “do the dirty work” and eliminate those
giants from our lives.
Again we begin to resemble Saul, the giant is knocked down
so we can all go home, amen, hallelujah. Saul failed in God’s eyes because he
didn’t see things through according to God’s plans. He took shortcuts, spared
the lives of enemy kings, acted as a priest to expedite the beginning of a
battle and so on. We need to be more like David who completed the job without
compromise. David ensured the victory was complete and left no room for chance,
and even went as far as to use Goliath’s own sword to do it with.
We can’t continue to settle for half of a spiritual victories, it not good enough for God to only answer a part of our prayer we need to see things through. God is ready to continue to work with and through us but we have to remain persistent and expectant that there is more to a battle than just the battle, after the battle comes a victory and comes the spoils (rewards). Because if you are unable to convert your challenge into a victory you’ve only succeeded at inviting further challenges into your life. As I already mentioned the only reason there was a giant to challenge David is because Joshua’s army was content with a partial victory against Goliath’s ancestors.
David’s victory over Goliath was complete here and that lead to an even larger victory for the rest of the people. As we see in 1 Samuel 17:51 “… And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.” Because of the actions of one anointed and willing servant of God the entire nation enjoyed a victory that day
It All Begins With
David didn’t do any of this for his own glory but he instead did it to stand up for God and His people. From what we can tell in the scriptures David never received the promised gifts of riches, tax/service exempt status for his family or Saul’s daughter in marriage (he married Michal later but under different circumstances). But what David did receive was recognition from God, as David graduated from the season of Anointing and entered into the season of Apprenticeship, the second stage of the 4 A’s: Anointing, Apprenticeship, Activation and Announcement.
David took this victory as a opportunity to not claim the throne by force but to continue serving Saul and the people. Unlike most people who would of followed up killing Goliath by next challenging Saul to the same battle, David instead continued to serve Saul as both as a commander and as they royal mistral. David didn’t take this victory as an invitation to fast-forward along the progression and suddenly go from being anointed to being announced as king. David took this opportunity to serve and was faithful to the point of annoyance in Saul’s eyes, but in the eyes of God and the people he was growing closer and closer into the manifestation of his calling.
1 Samuel 18:5 5 So David went out wherever
Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war,
and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of
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Last week I talked about the lifestyle David demonstrated which resulted in God recognizing the potential in the next king of Israel within him. David lived a life of worship and complete trust in God and didn’t do those things for glory or to be loved by the people but because he loved God and placed that relationship high above those other matters. Today we look at the aftermath of David’s anointing and how you too can learn how to live after being anointed.
God is The Great Door Keeper
Far too often we focus on how to open doors of promotion, attention, advancement or blessing according to our own strength and talents. We look for opportunities for advancement be it in business or even in ministry and we convince ourselves that “if I could just crack open that door all will be well.” We struggle and strive to try and force God’s will for our lives into existence and we picture ourselves as being pregnant with a promise so we push and push to force it out into the world.
However, the truth is that we are not the one pregnant with the giftings and promises which God has revealed to us, He is. It’s not about our own panting and pushing but it has to do with God’s timing and our ability to pass His tests that are laid out before us. We fail to recognize that our part is not of the expectant mother but rather as the carpenter trying to build a house for that promised child/destiny to live in. The promise is coming but it is not only up to you to bring it into the world, rather your job is the make sure that your house is ready to take in the promise of God on your life.
We can continue to look at the life of David here, last week we witnessed David be anointed as the next king of Israel by Samuel, not in isolation but in front of David’s family. David had gone from being an unknown and uninteresting teenage shepherd from the wilderness of Judah and has marked by God to be the king of all twelve tribes of Israel. This wasn’t a “one and done” promise and David wasn’t officially the reigning king at the moment, time was needed for David to grow into that calling. He had to prepare the house of his heart to take in the fulfillment of that promise. How David prepared His heart is demonstrated to us through his character and how he lived his life following being anointed by God.
God Combines Anointing With Opportunity
Not long after David’s encounter with Samuel something began stirring miles away in the house of King Saul. Following his rejection by God, Saul found himself being tormented by a distressing (also translated evil, harmful, and tormenting) spirit that affected his sleep and mental state (1 Samuel 16:14-17). No longer was Saul covered with the Spirit of God (Ruach YHWH) but he was being afflicted and tormented by other spirits that were not God (and appear to have been permitted by God to do so).
Through his sin, impatience and fear of the people Saul had found himself subjected to the consequences of his actions, as the departure of God’s presence left a spiritual vacuum in the king that was filled by dark forces which would cripple his mind and life.With this mental and spiritual torment the king sought a solution to at the very least provide comfort during the episodes. One of the king’s servants recommended a harpist be recruited to help the king find relief, at that moment God sprang into action and moved upon another servant to recommend David to the position.
1 Samuel 16:18 “Then one of the servants answered and said, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing, a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.”” (NKJV)
What became a problem for Saul was transformed into an opportunity for David, but David had nothing to do with it. We don’t find David praying for Saul to be afflicted with this spirit and we don’t read about David going to an audition to stand before the king. God had a plan in place to put David right where he needed to be to take the next step in seeing his divine promise come to pass.
This is on of several examples in the scriptures where God will confirm his anointing or call on a person’s life by orchestrating events to bring that person a opportunity to move towards that calling. David didn’t advertise himself for this position, it came because at that moment an idea popped into the right person’s mind and a mighty door was opened, a door which David could not open himself. This is unlike how it is today where distance is no longer an issue, even the space between Gibeah and Bethlehem was considered a significant distance in that day. For that servant to know of a person like David in an obscure town such as Bethlehem shows how God was involved with orchestrating this situation.
The King Plays For A King
One day and perhaps not look long since the visit by Samuel, Jesse is once again faced with uninvited guests to his home. This time it’s messengers from king Saul requesting the presence of his youngest son and newly anointed king, David. Can you imagine what was going on in that house in this time, first the head prophet of the nation is anointing your son king and the next thing you know the existing king has called that same son to court.
David agrees (not like he had a choice) to go with the messengers and begins his journey to Gibeah to stand before the king. The newly anointed king was going to stand before the rejected king. When David arrived he welcomed his task to play his harp for the king, he didn’t try to provoke or challenge Saul but did what he could to ease the anguish he was suffering from.
1 Samuel 16:21-23 “21 So David came to Saul and stood before him. And he loved him greatly, and he became his armorbearer. 22 Then Saul sent to Jesse, saying, “Please let David stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.” 23 And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.” (NKJV)
David became a source of comfort for King Saul, which is astounding to us because David the one anointed to succeed Saul was humble enough to serve him in this way. David despite his anointing and Saul’s sins, still recognized Saul as being originally chosen by God and honored Him accordingly. This wasn’t just a one-time sign of respect but this reality followed David for the entirety of Saul’s life (1 Samuel 24:10, 26:9, 11, 16, 23, 2 Samuel 1:14-16).
How different is David’s attitude than what many other people would have done in the same situation? The reality is that many people, including those in the church today would have probably done the exact opposite. Our response is typically to either to reject serving a king like Saul at all. Or if we did go it would be to either assassinate or discredit the king so we could finally take their own rightful place as king, since God has already anointed us to succeed that person.
It’s the desire to take what we perceive to be God’s calling or promise for our lives and try and force it into existence through any means necessary. How many of us would honestly serve Saul, knowing that he had failed and we were next in line to sit on his throne after he dies. Would you serve him faithfully or would you try and “expediate” his departure from the throne? This doesn’t just happen in business or politics but this methodology is just as prevalent in the church where ministry looks more like Game of Thrones than the Book of Acts.
Yet David did the honorable thing and demonstrated why he was a “man after God’s own heart.” He respected the position and previous anointing God had placed upon Saul, and David chose then and continuously over the 14ish years that followed to not murder Saul and claim his promise from God. David was faithful, honorable and trusted God above all else, if God said that he would be king then David trusted that God was in control and his day of fulfillment would come at the appointed time.
A Season Of Apprenticeship
Living a life that has been anointed and commissioned by God is just a fancy way of saying that God has reveled his purpose for you, so get ready for the season of wilderness and training. Anointing does not automatically bring us to blessing and fulfillment there are necessary steps we need to walk through so that God’s purpose and calling on our life doesn’t end up destroying us. It’s a process that takes us from Anointing to Apprenticeship to Activation and finally to Announcement, think of it as the 4A’s of your divine calling.
David is one example of these 4A’s, he was Anointed by Samuel, received his Apprenticeship serving Saul as a harpist and military commander, then came the season of Activation in the wilderness leading his followers and finally the Announcement came when he was officially crowned king of Judah and later Israel.
David isn’t alone in going through this process, we see the same thing play out with Joshua who apprenticed under Moses, Elisha who apprenticed under Elijah, Paul and apprenticed under Barnabas and Timothy who apprenticed under Paul. It’s a necessary progression that helps us to fully mature and live out the call of God in our lives. What good is it having an anointing if it’s never released into the world and brings about God’s purpose for it. All of that happens in the seasons of apprenticeship, activation and announcement.
Jesus’s Expectations On The Anointed
Jesus has made it abundantly clear throughout the gospels about how he expects us to live, as not just ordinary believers but also for those in ministry and leadership. When we follow Jesus’s words we are guided to follow the example of David and to avoid our natural desires to do things our way, or the way everyone else does so. The task of opening the door is not our own our duty is to live a Christlike life and to develop the fruits of the spirit so that when opportunities to arise our hearts are prepared for whatever happens next. At the same time we need the same humility David demonstrated in serving Saul so ensure that our hearts don’t become corrupted or we allow God’s promises on our lives to become a hornets nest of pride.
Just look at what Jesus’s commanded us to live like, and how we are to pursue not just leadership but the purpose for our lives.
John 13:14-16 “14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
Matthew 20:26-28 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
We cannot allow our jobs, ministry, callings, giftings or purpose to derail our relationship with not just God but with other people. People are not just tools or commodities to progress the manifestation of God’s promise on your life. They are your fellow brothers and sisters and no matter what God has called you to be you must treat them as such. You cannot allow your calling, ego, or self-prescribed vision of yourself to cloud your view of others or to think yourself higher than them. We each have a calling and a purpose but my calling or purpose doesn’t make me better or worse than another, we achieve different goals and tasks but we are all equal in God’s eyes. All God judges us by is not the size of our calling but by our faithfulness and the state of our hearts as we walk out that faithfulness.
Honor Before Glory
Do you know what happened after David became the royal harpist, nothing, his heart remained the same. We even see an astounding and often over looked scripture in 1 Samuel 17:15 which says that “David occasionally went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.”
Can you see what happened here, David the mighty hero and the great comforter to the king did not forget his obligations to his family. Despite his success and royal standing he still helped with take care of Jesse’s sheep, the anointed king of Israel didn’t outsource his responsibilities to his family. David remained faithful and didn’t allow his anointing or new found promotion to supersede his family.
Over time more opportunities presented themselves to David and because of his relationship with God and his humility of heart he was able to seize those opportunities and take another step in seeing his anointing and promise from God become a reality in his life. The same truth is available for us today, perhaps we should be less focused on kicking in every door looking for our promises to be fulfilled and instead we should be focusing on our relationship with God and the state of our heart so we can recognize God’s opportunities when they arise in our own lives.
So what will you do this week to prepare your heart for God’s coming opportunities in your own life?
“I’m in awe of Cameron D. Conway’s ability to pack all the major theological ideas into such a thin book! I also appreciate how he infused every chapter with practical analogies. This book is a great reference for every believer. I highly recommend it.”
Assistant Pastor, Maranatha Church, Nanaimo BC
In recommending a book, I am really recommending a person. Cameron Conway is well read and theology is more than an academic discipline, it is a way of life for him. “Understanding Who You Are” provides a high level view of what we need to know about God. You will enjoy Cam’s insights and his wit. Enjoy!