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.
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If you take the lessons and introspections of the wilderness
seriously you will eventually find yourself at the edge of the wilderness. That
place where you can finally see what is waiting for you beyond the horizon,
that place you know as your calling and purpose in life. For some it’s
ministry, others business, or another type of career. No matter what it is this
is the place where you can finally see what you only hoped could be possible
It’s that place where promises get fulfilled where you can
finally enjoy the benefits and added responsibilities of becoming who God
created you to be. For some this could be a paid position at a church, others a
place on the mission field, or a job teaching, or even serving in any other
capacity. The years of grief, training, apprenticeship, seeming futility, small
victories and painful growth are finally about to bloom into something
wonderful. Something that you have hoped for and simultaneously expected to never
With David this was the place he found himself in during the last months of his trek through the wilderness avoiding the persecution of Saul. So many years had gone by since his original anointing and commissioning by Samuel as a teenager. Now the process of Anointing, Apprenticeship, Activation were about to culminate in the season of Announcement.
Finding Comfort in
The path to ministry, or any calling from God for that
matter is never just a clear trajectory from point A to point B. Often God will
take us through twists, turns and unexpected detours not to punish us or hold
us back but to give us what we need to flourish in our callings.
David faced an unexpected turn in his strategic retreat from king Saul, as he found himself serving a Philistine ruler named Achish the king of Gath. This same ruler that David pretended to be insane in front of years ago (1 Samuel 21:12-14), but since seems to have come to an understanding with. David received a home called Ziklag (1 Samuel 27:6) in exchange for him and his forces protecting the Philistines south-eastern territory from the Amalekites and other rogue tribes (1 Samuel 27:8).
On the surface David seemed to have sided with the same people who regularly raided his tribe’s territory and sent the likes of Goliath against his people. Yet by serving this Philistine king as a mercenary he also fulfilled a task which also benefited the tribe of Judah as well (1 Samuel 27:10), by keeping Israel’s ancient enemy the Amalekites (Numbers 14:43-45, Deuteronomy 25:17, Judges 6:3, 1 Samuel 14:48, 15:18) at bay deep in the southern wilderness.
What we see play out here in this story of David is how the path to our destination will sometimes take us to unexpected places. These paths seem to be taking us in the opposite direction from our calling but actually are preparing us in a way we didn’t expect. I had a season like this myself, for about three years I had a second job where I wrote investment articles about Canadian stocks. It wasn’t something I was particularly passionate about and at the time I was more focused on working on the home group curriculum and other sider project at the church I was attending.
During this season I was writing four to five 3,000 word
articles each week and it taught me how to present otherwise unexciting
information in an interesting and concise way. It was an education I probably
couldn’t have received anywhere else and it prepared me for what I’m doing now
with my books and the regular content on my website. It was the polar opposite
of what I wanted to do with my time and ministry but in the long-term it was
one of the best things I could’ve done with my time back then.
The experience helped me pay off my mortgage quicker, it
gave me the skills to write entire term papers in a day (without sacrificing my
GPA), and how to structure information in a way which helped me greatly in
writing my books. But that job was only for a season and many of you will face
the same unexpected twists and turns in your journey as well. You just have to
be willing to accept and recognize these detours and to do the best job
possible at them because later on you’ll see how those unexpected places helped
you become who God wanted you to transform into.
Typically, you’ll know this season of detouring and unexpected travels comes to an end because you’ll swiftly be kicked out of the nest so to speak. With my stock writing this came in the form of cutbacks which reduced the minimum payments for my articles to the point where it wasn’t worth the effort anymore. With David this came in the form of the other Philistine kings dismissing David and not allowing him to march with their army (1 Samuel 29:4-7).
While on the one hand the other Philistine rulers wanted nothing to do with David, Achish still recognized the faithfulness of David and had nothing bad to say about him (1 Samuel 29:3). Just because you’re in this place that feels nowhere near the place of your eventual ministry it doesn’t give you a license to do a poor job or to not be faithful in doing it. David remained faithful even in serving Achish and ensured his reputation was not eroded by his actions during a less that favorable point in his life.
Facing The Last Ditch
Attacks of the Enemy
After being dismissed from the Philistine’s army David and his 600 men returned to their home in Ziklag, but instead of finding their families waiting joyously for them they returned to smoke, ashes and silence (1 Samuel 30:3). In an instant everything was gone their wives, children, flocks and possessions were nowhere to be seen. It was that feeling of abandonment by God and hopelessness which many of us have faced at one point or another. You walk into your place of comfort only to find everything torn down and left in ruin.
Those who followed David went from faithful companions to near mutiny, where they wanted revenge by killing David because of their loss (1 Samuel 30:6). The Amalekites struck knowing that the Philistines and Israelites were too busy fighting each other to protect their southern frontiers. This also could have been done out of revenge for David’s earlier attacks on them (1 Samuel 27:8). Either way David’s enemy had struck leaving him and his followers broken and at the point of despair.
We have to understand that our enemy is also an opportunist who
lives at the edges of our own lives, looking for moments to invade and carry
away the blessings God has given to us. Satan always attacks hardest right
before you enter into something new and powerful. He and his forces watch as
you reach the summit of the mountain blocking your destiny and they wait just
below the peak to stop you from seeing the lush valley of promise and
They understand that the more successful you are at contributing to the expansion of God’s kingdom in this world the greater risk you pose to their own territory. In reality you are like David and his forces making raids into enemy territory and carrying off the spoils back to their own lands. The forces of the enemy see you as the great invaders who are coming to take their people away from them so they lie in wait for a moment where you are unprepared to resist their retaliations.
In that moment David lost everything, but he didn’t cower or give up but instead rose up and sought out God’s will in that situation (1 Samuel 30:7-8). Upon receiving the green-light from God David lead his forces to take back all that was lost. Days later David and his forces defeated the Amalekites and took back everything which was stolen, plus the riches of the Amalekites. David later shared those spoils with the leaders of Judah who supported him.
We must learn from this experience because we will have trials and times of failure and loss and we have to endure and push through it otherwise we will never recover what was lost and we end up drifting back into the heart of the wilderness and blaming God for our misfortunes. When we face these seasons of loss or spiritual attack, we have to come at it from the perspective of “I’m going to fight back and reclaim what was lost, plus interest.”
You cannot use these types of losses or attacks to discourage you from continuing in the path to your calling. Because if you throw in the towel, you’ll just become another beggar along the road or corpse in the ditch serving as a witness to all those who come along this journey after you, that “happily ever after” is not guaranteed.
There are struggles and battles that have to be won, and you
can’t do it all alone, what would have happened if David left the six hundred
behind and went off to fight the Philistines alone? He would have most likely
ended up like the swordsman in Indian Jones, struck down without any real
effort. Then all of the promises and anointing David received would have been made
meaningless. You need to fight these battles with others as well, you need the
support of those who are still in the wilderness and you need help from those
who have come out of it.
The End Is In Sight
If you have proven faithful in the seasons of unexpected
detours and the surprise attacks of the enemy, you’ll soon find yourself at the
edge of the wilderness. The place where you’ve reached the summit of the
immoveable mountain of your life, the one which said you could never enter into
the fullness of your calling.
All that remains now is to walk down that mountain and enter the valley God has been preparing for you. The place where you are announced as being who God created you to be, the place where the anointing placed on you long ago manifests into an active calling, a visible platform, and the added responsibilities become real. To make it to this place you have to have learned how to benefit from the detours of life and you need to have developed the courage to take back what the enemy has stolen from you.
Otherwise you still may find your way out of the wilderness, but you will be ill equipped and left with nothing but the proverbial shirt on your back. You’ll soon find out that you weren’t prepared and will have to go through the season of training and refining all over again. When we come to the summit of that mountain we don’t want to be like Moses who only received a glimpse of the promised land (Deuteronomy 34:1-4). Rather we want to be like Caleb who was able to enter into the promised land and take the territory promised to him, with a little help of course (Joshua 14:14, Joshua 15:13-17).
Just like the entire process of surviving the wilderness where you have to cultivate faithfulness, character and your relationship with God, exiting the wilderness takes even greater mastery of those matters. You can’t coast down the mountain so to speak because if you do you will inevitably fall over and impale yourself on a tree or fall off a cliff. This steady march down hill can be the most perilous part of the process because you begin to let your guard down and you try and rush the process because you are so close to the end.
This is where we tend to get lazy and “forget” the three great keys of 1) Go to Church, 2) Read your Bible and 3) Don’t Sin. Or we no longer see one or all of them as being important because we can almost touch the place of our Announcement into our calling. We hear that Saul has been killed and realize that in a matter of days or moments we will be made king so to speak. This is why we have to take the lessons, experiences and times with God we have lived though during the wilderness and become even more diligent so we can make it to the bottom of the mountain and receive our commission.
For those of you who do make it to the bottom of the mountain and are free of the wilderness, receiving your commissioning and having your calling announced to the world is not the end of the story, Next week we will look at the two paths your life can take once you have received the fullness of your long promised anointing.
“If only I had ________, my life would be better.” We idealize the perfect life and attribute our own unhappiness to our failure to possess it.” Click HERE for more information.
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?
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“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!