In the Wilderness
As a shepherd, David spent many hours in the harsh wilderness, alone and isolated. Under the hot sun, he made sure that his dad's sheep were well fed and protected from wild beasts. The rest of his time was spent playing his stringed instrument, the lyre, writing and singing songs to God, and practicing with his slingshot.
Yet, here in obscurity, David was being forged, formed, and shaped. He might have been separated from his family, but Yahweh drew near. Like Moses, he discovered that barren ground could also become holy ground (Exodus 3:5).
Sometimes God will do that. He will separate us, set us apart, and pull us away from other people for a season. We might not realize it, but the isolation is actually incubation. He is birthing something inside us, and it can only grow well in certain environments.
In the wilderness we are vulnerable, and that vulnerability causes us to depend completely on Him.
God saw into David's heart. There was a beautiful purity there. A rare devotion. An unusual hunger. Exactly the sort of heart that God desired in the man who would lead His people. There was a king inside this kid.
On that particular day, when David was called in from the field, he had no idea what was about to happen. However, as the old prophet Samuel poured a full horn of oil over his head, he surely sensed that something significant was taking place. The biblical account tells us:
"...Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David..." (1 Samuel 16:13)
This anointing happened with only 10 people present – David, his dad Jesse, his seven brothers, and Samuel. However, the oil was only a visible representation of the anointing that had already taken place during those many hours that David had spent pursuing the presence of God out in the field.
A marriage might officially take place in front of guests on a wedding day, but it begins long before that. So too, in the secret place, David had built up a history with God.
The field that, at times, had represented failure, futility, frustration, and forgottenness was also the field where David found God's favor. He might have been overlooked by others – even by his own family – but he was sought out by God, handpicked by the Most High. (Photo via Unsplash)
Spirit Before Substance
The visible anointing by Samuel was simply announcing a reality that had already happened in the Spirit. It was God's public affirmation of a decision already approved in Heaven. We read:
"...from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David... Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul..." (1 Samuel 16:13-14).
Again, I want you to see that the transfer of authority was sanctioned in the spiritual realm long before it became apparent to the people. God was simply announcing what already existed.
Similarly, in your own life, you will often sense certain things in your spirit long before they appear in your reality. God will speak something to you about your future. You will discern what He's setting before you. But when you first receive the revelation, there's usually no visible or tangible evidence that you can point to. You perceive it by faith before you see it with your eyes. That's why the Bible tells us:
"Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality – faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]." (Hebrews 11:1 AMP)
David would spend much of the next 15 years in the wilderness. Even though he had been anointed king, while Saul remained on the throne, God would use the rough places to get David ready.
There was so much inside David, far more than even he realized. And God has deposited so much more inside you than you can comprehend or conceive of right now.
The transition between David being anointed and being appointed would be very slow, but God never hurries when something is this important. You can't cook a gourmet meal in the microwave.
Maybe you're going through a slow transition. God has spoken, but it's hard to see any sign of it coming to pass. In fact, much about your life currently looks the opposite of what God said.
Remember, it can take considerable time for the visible reality to catch up with the spiritual decree. But, if God said it, it's on its way. In the meantime, it's important to remind yourself that often the wilderness season isn't so much about what you are doing. It is about who you are becoming.
Nothing Is Wasted
Soon David would be called in to play the harp for a tormented Saul. At the time, I really don't think David made the connection between this musical job in the palace and his calling to be king. He probably didn't look at Saul, thinking: "I'm going to sit on your throne one day soon." He was simply using one of his gifts.
On the surface, the two things – kingship and music – didn't seem to be related. It's the same with you.
There are stages in our lives when God puts us in places or circumstances that may not seem to make sense for accomplishing our calling. Yet these places are important because they are part of God's plan for developing us and making us ready for the time when we do step into our purpose. (Photo via Picryl)
God's school of preparation began in the wilderness. It then moved to the palace when David was asked to play the harp to soothe the mind of a tormented King Saul. Soon it would move to the battlefield as he fought with the armies of Israel.
Each place was molding and shaping David's character, training and developing his skills, strengthening and deepening his devotion. All the stages of the process were necessary because advancement in God's Kingdom happens in steps. There is no elevator or escalator or fast track. God will take as long as it requires to get you ready.
Currently, we are experiencing a massive shift in leadership, both locally and globally. It's not only happening in the church world, but also in business, the media, the arts, education, technology, and politics. Old structures, denominations, leadership styles, and methods are being dismantled. They are outdated and simply no longer work.
As CEOs and other significant figures step aside, a leadership vacuum is being created. There is a need for a new kind of leadership...for a new breed of leader. God's greatest desire is that these positions would be filled with men and women after His own heart. He longs for the next generation of CEOs, entrepreneurs, church leaders, entertainers, politicians, and educators to be people of deep integrity, who can lead with Kingdom authority, and walk with confident humility.
In these days, I believe God is strategically positioning people like you, prepared in the wilderness and developed in obscurity, to come forth and take their place when the moment is right. Until then, grow in your gift. Develop your skills. Seek His face. Don't try to exit the wilderness prematurely. The field was designed with you in mind. There is favor that can only be found there.
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HOPE Church | Daily Prophetic
Craig Cooney¬†has been in ordained ministry for 15 years, leading churches in the north and south of Ireland. He is married to Becky and they have a very active nine-year-old son called Elijah, as well as a labradoodle puppy called Henry. Craig is the author of four books: "The Tension of Transition," "SPIRIT SPEAK," "I Hear Yahweh," and "When the Lamb Roars." His passion is to help Believers to hear God's voice for themselves and apply God's wisdom as they navigate through the transitions of life.
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