Transforming Challenges Into Victories

Transforming Challenges Into Victories

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!”

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.


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 God’s people.

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.

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 Samuel 21:15-22).

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.

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

If you are unable to convert your challenge into a victory you’ve only succeeded at inviting further challenges into your life.

It All Begins With Servanthood

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 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 Saul’s servants.


 
Creative Commons LicenseTransforming Challenges Into Victories Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
 

Be Ready For Unexpected Challenges

Be Prepared For Unexpected Challenges

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. However, this challenge is not always expected and more often than not we find ourselves stumbling upon it going about our daily lives.

Not every battle is laid out before us in advance and many times we will find ourselves stepping into the unexpected and then we discover why God led us to that place. We don’t always get pulled aside by someone and given a tactical briefing about something special or unusual that is going to happen that day which has the potential to reshape our lives. But that’s what happened with David he went about the mundane dealings of life and suddenly found himself standing face to face with Goliath.

This is the third part in my look into the life of David to help you discover how we to live you life after being called, commissioned or given a life’s purpose by God. Already we’ve seen how David’s heart handled the anointing by Samuel (Pt.1 HERE) and how David had the humility to serve Saul as his royal minstrel (Pt. 2 HERE) while still maintaining his family responsibilities (1 Samuel 17:15). Now we move on to the defining moment that launched David out of his season of Anointing and into his time of Apprenticeship.

God Combines Anointing With Opportunity Pt. 2

Not long after David became the royal minstrel Saul and the Philistines went to war, to fight over control of territory in western Judah (1 Samuel 17:2). Israel was trying to retain the land taken by the likes of Joshua, Caleb and Othniel while the Philistines were looking to push inward. However, this time was different it wasn’t just two waves crashing together in battle this time there were theatrics at play. The Philistines had their super-weapon and they were looking to coax someone from the Israelite army to agree to a champions battle (1 Samuel 17:8-9). In this battle the Philistines had Goliath, a giant (Anakim), and a descendant (or even a distant relative) of a tribe of giants disposed by Joshua’s conquest of the land given to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 11:21-22).

Now a champions battle which Goliath was trying to bait Israel into is when a conflict is decided by a single warrior or small group of representatives from each army engaging in combat to determine an overall victor. This isn’t that crazy as it does prevent unnecessary loss of life in a conflict, although it appears to be more popular in stories than in actual battle, however there are real examples of this from history outside of the Biblical account.

This is the part of the account where David comes into play. After several weeks of the Philistine’s taunting Israel David’s father Jesse got the idea to send some supplies to the front lines of the pending battle (1 Samuel 17:17-18). David’s three oldest brothers were there so Jesse (fun fact: the son of Boaz and Ruth) asked David of all people to bring some food for them along with some cheese for their commander/regiment, then return home with a report.

David didn’t go to the front lines to specifically fight Goliath that day, he went at the request of his father to bring supplies to the army and his older brothers. David and Jesse probably had no idea about what was going on at the front line with Goliath taunting and challenging the Israelite army. David was just being obedient to his father, even though he was king Saul’s personal minstrel and the next anointed king of Israel.

David didn’t go to the front lines to specifically fight Goliath that day, he went at the request of his father to bring supplies to the army and his older brothers.

The Face Of The Giant

Once David arrived at the front lines days later the reason God led him there became apparent. As David was passing through the camp after delivering his supplies he overheard the commotion coming from the Philistine side of the battlefield (1 Samuel 17:23). After hearing the words of Goliath David demanded to know what would happened to the person that takes out this giant. David even goes as far to say “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” in verse 26.

It becomes apparent here that David’s trust and relationship with God gave him the faith to speak these words and to do the things he did later that day. By calling Goliath an “uncircumcised Philistine” he was declaring that Goliath was outside of God’s covenant and represented no real threat to those who serve and follow God. This is why David called Israel’s army the “armies of the living God,” as opposed to the Philistines who only served idols and demons.

David like Joshua and Caleb generations ago recognized the formidable foes that stood before them but had more hope in God’s ability to fight for them than in the giants’ ability to squash them. It’s the same with us today there will come times in your life where circumstances, opponents or even yourself will appear to be like this mighty giant that is taunting you to walk into what appears in the natural to be an unwinnable battle.

David like Joshua and Caleb generations ago recognized the formidable foes that stood before them but had more hope in God’s ability to fight for them than in the giants’ ability to squash them.

How many thousands of Israelite soldiers where there from all twelve tribes yet none of them had the faith (Numbers 13:33, Deuteronomy 1:28) to stand up against this giant (aka Rephaim, Emim, Anakim, sons of Anak) in the same manner that their faithful ancestors did (Joshua 11:21, 13:12, 14:12-15, 15:13).

Giants are not immortal or unbeatable but they are difficult to destroy if we go out in our own strength and without God’s assistance. David realized this He knew that God was more powerful than any living or breathing being outside of the covenant. To David this battle was not impossible and perhaps he was even reminded of the story of Caleb and Othniel fellow members of the tribe of Judah who killed several giants 300 or so years previously (Joshua 15, Judges 1).

This giant wasn’t there specifically to challenge David, Goliath was there challenging every person who followed the God of Israel. It was an open challenge to each and every soldier who claimed to follow the God who brought them out of slavery and into this Promised Land. Often this is how many “giants” in our lives operate they are not always looking not attack us directly but are looking to attack or embarrassed anyone and everyone who serves God. They do this to discredit God in the eyes of the people and to lure people into thinking that the giant’s gods/demons are the ones with real power and must be served.

David was there that day to honor his fathers request to bring supplies to the front lines, he didn’t go to fight or to impress the crowds he simply did as his father requested and once he arrive an opportunity was there waiting for him.

What’s Your Motivation To Face Unexpected Challenges

After seeing this display from Goliath David asked what if any was Saul promising to give the one who silenced this giant. A soldier responded to David by saying that the reward would be riches, Saul’s daughter, and tax exemption for his (and father’s) family (1 Samuel 17:25). On the one hand this sounds like everything you would want if you were anointed to be the next king. Riches to solidify your position among the people, a marriage to bring you into the royal family and the added benefit of you and your father’s house getting tax exemption status.

Many people would jump at the opportunity to receive this reward alone, except in this case they didn’t. There was something all of the other soldiers were missing, they were missing God in this equation. To David these rewards were not the reason for him wanting to challenge Goliath, David’s motivation came from wanting to stand up for God, the rewards were just a bonus for his faithfulness.

If one of the other soldiers had taken up Saul’s offer and lost then the army would have had to stand down and serve the Philistines as slaves, conscripts and Saul would become a vassal or be executed. The risk was too high just to receive riches alone, which is why things changed when David arrived.

I feel/fear today that far too often people who are anointed and called by God rush into these battles just so they can receive the natural rewards that are offered. They want the riches and recognition now and their hearts are in the wrong place. Often they only realize this after they have been defeated, but many times that defeat has lasting consequences on them and on those around them. Just as if an unanointed soldier had challenged Goliath and died the nation would have suffered the consequences I feel that often the same thing happens with the church at large.

I feel/fear today that far too often people who are anointed and called by God rush into these battles just so they can receive the natural rewards that are offered.

Far too often we seek out money, fame, influence and lose sight of why we are doing the things we are in ministry. It becomes more about advancement and position and less about pleasing God and doing what’s right in His eyes. David stood up against Goliath because of the things Goliath was saying not because he was looking for a wife or gold.

Courage To Face A Challenge Invites Judgement

David’s inquiries into the possible reward for killing Goliath didn’t go unnoticed, David’s oldest brother Eliab overhead his little brother and snapped at him. Eliab said in 1 Samuel 17:28 “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”

This is an astounding response from David’s brother because he knew who David was called to be, he was there when Samuel anointed him. Eliab knew full well that God had appointed David to be King of Israel yet he still responded in this manner. He took David’s questioning about Goliath and declared it as being prideful or just wanting to watch the battle and perhaps “play the role of a king,” or thought that David was hoping for to Saul be killed.

Eliab wasn’t alone as others mocked David as well, but this type of response always goes hand in hand whenever anyone has faith for God to do mighty things. Even Jesus received this type of mockery by the people of Nazareth (Mark 6:1-6). Others such as the prophet Jeremiah faced the same criticism from the people of his own home town Anathoth (Jeremiah 11:21). There is always this repeating resistance to anyone who tries to actually take God, his promises and His words at face value and try to do something to fight back against these so-called giants and unexpected challenges.

It’s no different for us today, if we believe that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives we have to be prepared to face several things. We have to be ready for unexpected giants to cross our paths and we need to be emotionally ready for the complaining and push back we receive from others when we try to do something about those giants. It’s always easier to sit back and complain about the challenges in front of us and its comforting to ridicule others for trying to deal with problems we have no desire or faith to overcome ourselves. It’s that notion of settling for mediocrity and making sure no one else tries to rise above that level, because if they do then our excuses of why we never did anything about those challenges evaporate and we are left in shame.

This is where David found himself, he saw the giant and heard his accusations against God and his people, he had enough faith to ask what would come about for the one who wiped out this accuser and he was faced with ridicule. Were the people so far removed from the victories of Joshua that they no longer had any faith in God’s intervention, and what did they expect would happen if no on answered Goliath’s challenge. I’m sure eventually Goliath and the Philistines would have run out of patience and overrun the Israelite camp, leaving scores dead and the people in slavery once again.

Avoiding these unexpected challenges is never an answer because eventually they will overcome you and your walk with God. You can’t just camp out of the battlefield and hope the opposing force gets bored and walks away.

Avoiding these unexpected challenges is never an answer because eventually they will overcome you and your walk with God. You can’t just camp out of the battlefield and hope the opposing force gets bored and walks away. That’ll never happen, the only solution is to partner with God and stand against them. That’s what was in David’s heart He saw the giant, heard His words but unlike the other Israelite soldiers he had a firm grasp on who God is, what was available to him through the covenant, and how little a threat Goliath was in God’s eyes.

Taking A Stand

We can move out in the same faith today to see these unexpected challenges through the lens of our New Covenant and the power of God. We need to do this because if we don’t succeed in these challenges we will find ourselves in bondage to them and our anointing, calling and purpose will either become imprisoned or we will be forced to take the long way to our ultimate destination.

These times of unexpected challenges are the times when God proves to us that what He promised is real, they are times where our own strength cannot prevail and through these victories the next stages of our walk with God begin to open up.

Next week we will see how David faced this unexpected challenge head on and how it took him into the next phase of his calling. As he progressed from the place of Anointing to the place of Apprenticeship, because someone overhead David talking and rather than ridiculing him went to the king to tell him the news that someone was ready to fight Goliath (1 Samuel 17:31)

Bonus: The 4 Keys to Know You’re Ready To Face the Giants In Your Life

  1. You know your Covenant [Bible]
  2. Your not looking for a fight
  3. You care more about Gods name/glory than your own
  4. Your faith in God is greater than your fear of failure
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Creative Commons LicenseBe Ready For Unexpected  Challenges Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
 

How To Live After Being Anointed

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.

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 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).

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.

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.

People are not just tools or commodities to progress the manifestation of God’s promise on your life.

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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The Key To Receiving A Promise From God

The Key To Receiving A Promise From God

What did David do to earn God’s attention? What was it about that the shepherd from Bethlehem that garnered God’s attention to the point that he was the one chosen to be the future king of Israel? That is the question, and it is the starting point of our look into the process of New Beginnings and how God can take us from a promise all the way up to its manifestation in reality.

To get a good look at this process and how we can work along side God to see it come to pass we will be looking at the lives of two people in the coming weeks. Later we will look at the transformation of Saul into Paul but today I wish to begin taking a look at the life of David. Before David became a king and received the fulfillment of God’s promise he first had to receive that promise in the first place.

All the way back to the beginning at we find this teenager out among the sheep living a normal quiet life. The son of Jesse and the grandson of Boaz and Ruth, David was just ordinary, he as the youngest of eight sons took care of the family’s heard of sheep. He would have spent long lonely nights out in the wilderness as he completed his yearly grazing circuit (see Psalms 23) throughout the region. During this time it is evident that David used that isolation to build his relationship with God.

At this point in his life he was mostly sheltered from the controversy unfolding in the life of Saul, Samuel’s prophetic ministry tour between Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah, and the Philistines encroaching on his tribe’s territory. Those were problems outside of the realm of control for a simple shepherd boy, but it seems that David did not waste his time outside of all that was going on. David sought God, he learned how to worship through music, he meditated on the scriptures (Psalms 63:6) and he learned the lessons of protecting his flock with God’s help (1 Samuel 17:34-35).

Earning The Promise

Eventually the day came when Saul took things too far, he disobeyed the words of Samuel the Prophet/Judge and took his place as priest so that the people would be appeased and the battle could commence. Following the rebuke God gave through Samuel it was clear that in God’s eyes that it was time to appoint a new king. Samuel was then sent by God to seek out Jesse of Bethlehem to find this new king. However, God wasn’t looking for another man that was literally head and shoulders above the rest like Saul was, a man the people assumed would make a good king. Instead God lead Samuel to appoint someone whose heart was worthy to lead the people, more as a shepherd and less as a warlord (1 Samuel 16:7). Eventually after turning down Jesse’s seven other sons it was revealed that an eighth son was out in the field, so David was sent for and appeared before the prophet.


1 Samuel 16:12-13 12 So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah. (NKJV)


Just like that, in an instant David went from being the lowest of his family to being commissioned to become king, of not just his family or tribe but of the entire nation. This is the kind of calling many Christians dream about, especially those who aspire to be in ministry. The idea that one day a prophet, or preacher or denominational leader will be commanded by God to come to your house and hand you the keys to the kingdom. This is something many people want and desire but very few ever encounter, and for good reason as we will soon see.

You see David didn’t do what He did to become King or hope someone would notice what he was doing. He wasn’t playing his harp to impress the tabernacle’s band-director, David wasn’t at the hunting lodge showing off the bear and lion pelts and David wasn’t in the gate of city advertising himself as the next great leader in the tribe of Judah. David was just living his life for God and in relationship with Him, it wasn’t about impressing other people, but it was about drawing closer to God out in the field where no one saw him.

David didn’t do what He did to become King or hope someone would notice what he was doing.

I fear that today we often try to earn God’s commission through our works and actions and miss the point entirely. We do volunteer work, attend bible studies and do a host of other things to try and impress the right people and hope that they notice enough that they play the role of Samuel in our own lives. It’s about impressing everyone else other than God, because we convince ourselves that if the people are happy and impressed that God must be as well. Especially when we use the results of whatever we are doing to justify it as helping to build the kingdom.

Using Work As Currency

I find it hard to believe that David would have developed his relationship with God because he was hoping to convert those hours, songs and prayers into some sort of currency or rewards points which he could exchange for a blessing or commission. I don’t think for a second that David ever expected anything like this to happen to him and that is why God was able to choose him and say that he had a heart like his own.

It’s because David wasn’t working towards receiving a calling, rather he was just loving and worshiping God simply to love and worship God. So much of what came later in David’s life is rooted and grounded in those early years alone with the sheep, when no one was looking. It’s becoming more and more common today that we base everything we do in relationship with God and what we do in and around the church around what the “net benefit will be for ourselves.”

I’m not immune to this either I was led into this trap as well where I volunteered and oversaw ministries not only because of the impact it could have on people but I saw them as stepping stones to something better than what was in front of me. When you have a heart that is corrupted (or at the very least flavored) by this lie eventually we learn how to do life, ministry and relationship without God being involved. That’s because we are serving the system instead and prayer, worship and devotion are just seen as necessities that need to be done to keep the machine running.

We have it all backwards and the life of David confronts us with that truth.

God Is Looking For Those Who Love Him More Than His Benefits

We don’t serve God to become superstars, or to get popular among people, or even to get a promotion at work/ministry. The end result or our life and actions isn’t to reap the rewards our benefits (be it financially or in any other arena) for ourselves, but it’s in becoming closer to God. Then and only then do we progress and succeed because that kind of promotion in life comes out of the overflow of our relationship with God, not the other way around.

My prayer life is not about advancing my ministry or career, my ministry or career is advanced because I regularly spend time with God.

My prayer life is not about advancing my ministry or career, rather those things are advanced because I regularly spend time with God. I think we have everything backwards. It is like we see ministry, or whatever our calling is as being like a boat on the water, pushing forward and leaving waves and ripples behind. We them assume that those waves and ripples represent our relationship with God. However, the opposite is true our relationship with God is that boat, while our life and calling is represented by those ripples. Everything else is supposed to come afterwards and like ripples and waves they remain as the evidence to other people that we were there while God was moving across the water.

Our attention must be placed solely on what is happening inside that boat which is our relationship with God. We pray, we study we communicate with God and we set our face towards His then as that happens our boat continues to push forward faster and faster leaving behind a greater wake behind us.

That is how ministry works, that is how we live out our callings (no matter which arena of life your day is spent in) and that is how we change this world. Not buy serving some ideal or mission that we think will please God and change the world but by loving and serving God. This is the lesson from David he worshipped in the wilderness not because He as trying out for Israel’s Got Talent but because he loved God. Doesn’t the phrase about David having a heart (1 Samuel 13:13-14, Acts 13:22) after God’s make so much more sense now?

We see this lifestyle of David’s demonstrated in his psalms:


Psalm 13:5-6 “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.” (NKJV)

Psalms 18:1-2 “I will love You, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised; So shall I be saved from my enemies. (NKJV)

Psalm 25:12-15 12 Who is the man that fears the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.13 He himself shall dwell in prosperity, And his descendants shall inherit the earth. 14 The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. 15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord, For He shall pluck my feet out of the net. (NKJV)

Psalm 63:3 “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.” (NKJV)


These aren’t the words of someone putting on a show for God or people, but they are the declarations of a person who knows God and is seeking Him out. That kind of knowledge and wisdom only comes out of relationship, true relationship with God. Not because you deserve it, or your think it will benefit you in the long run or because God’s owes it to you as payment for previous services rendered.

David in these verses is talking about trust, love and reverence towards God, they are the foundation stones to a real relationship with God. As opposed to the false foundation stones of obligation, duty and tradition which lead us not into a relationship with God but into a business arrangement where we exchange service for blessings. This is another example of why God could trust David to no just be a king but also a person declared to have a heart like His own (1 Kings 9:4, Acts 13:22).

Having a heart after God’s also means being obedient to His words (Acts 13:22) and that is one of the missing links in all of this. How is it any different than what Jesus said in John 15:14 “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” David was faithful to the covenant between God and Israel and used those words to ensure that his heart was following after not just the idea of God but the standards he commanded through Moses.

What’s The Great Key?

What is “The Key To Receiving A Promise From God” the key is relationship, and it is relationship that is not self-serving but is based out of a desire to be with God just for the sake of being with God. Is it any different in the natural, do you have friendships or even a spouse that you only spend time with just to get something tangible out of it? Did you marry that person to impress their parents enough to hire you (this applies to business and at times even more so in the church!), or do you use friendships to advance your career (even if you’re not even qualified for that promotion)? We take these ideas and try and use them against God but He can see through our façade and that is why we never seem to get what we want out of a relationship with Him.

We could also picture our relationship as a great key and upon that key of are ridges of faithfulness, obedience, hope and love which are used to unlock our purpose in life. Now we begin to understand the heart of David and why he was chosen by God to become king. Simply because David as a boy was not trying to become a king but was rather focused on pleasing and following after God. As David loved and followed God he found himself in the place where God elevated him to the place of being a king. We need to keep the order correct, serving and loving God results in destiny being unlocked, and we do not chase after our destiny in the hopes that it will lead us to serve and love God.

Hebrews 11:6 “… for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (NKJV)

Even with me personally my biggest “advancements” in ministry didn’t come because I was advertising myself or trying to outwork or out maneuver others around me. Rather those opportunities came because someone else in prayer heard God say to give me an opportunity, or to help them out in what they were doing. While on the other hand whenever I have tried to “play the game” so to speak it never resulted in anything beneficial and usually brought me to places of burden, frustration and hopelessness.

I can’t base my prayer and devotion time around trying to impress God or other people. Those times are for me and God and what I’ve found is from those times of relationship is that ideas, books, concepts, and articles just naturally flow out of those times. To a much higher degree than when I “set aside time to get a word to talk about.”

Ministry is supposed to be an overflow of your relationship with God. Your relationship with God is not supposed to be a by-product of your ministry.

Ministry is supposed to be an overflow of your relationship with God, and your relationship with God is not supposed to be a by-product of your ministry. I am not just talking about full-time ministry here I am talking about whatever place or opportunity God has placed you in to either spread the gospel or to strengthen/support existing believers. This also applies to every arena outside of the church as well along with your job/career, everything you do should be an extension of your relationship with God and God is looking to use you in a variety of different ways beyond just preaching about the great commission.

David’s heart made him a king in God’s eyes and we must never forget that being a king didn’t make David’s heart like God’s. This is the beginning, David’s life, devotion and relationship with God paved the way for everything that happened in his life afterwards. It propelled him into a life of twists and turns and when David backed away from that relationship or he silenced his heart that is when trouble arose in his life. It is that heart of devotion, worship and closeness to God that set him apart and when he drifted away from that is when things went wrong.

Now David has gone from a live of sheltered devotion to receiving a grand promise from God and next week we will learn how David started to live a life that would cultivate the promise into a reality.

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Are you looking to develop your relationship with God and better understand the Bible? Pick up a copy of one of my books today.

Understanding Who You Are: A Survey of 21st Century Christian Beliefs
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Six Minutes of Grace: The Key To Finding Happiness and Purpose
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Six Minutes of Grace Journal
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Creative Commons LicenseThe Key To Receiving A Promise From God Cameron Conway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.