The Crucible // Part 1
Bible Text: Proverbs 27:21 (BSB) | Speaker: Parkey Cobern | Series: The Crucible | Difficult bosses, job losses, marriage issues, death of a loved one, bad decisions, broken relationships – and other difficult situations. Circumstances such as these become a “crucible” in our life.
God uses difficult situations in life as a creative force. What is He creating? He uses difficult situations to remove attitudes, actions, and beliefs from His children that ultimately will destroy them. He uses difficult situations to create within His children a faith that totally depends upon the power and goodness of God. He uses difficult situations to create a life that is lived to glorify God in all it does. Before we go on, it needs to be said that the “crucibles” of our life are not always difficult situations or circumstances. Often, a “good” situation which creates a temptation to promote “me” can be a “crucible” through which God works for His glory.
A crucible for silver and a furnace for gold, but a man is tested by the praise accorded him. /// Proverbs 27:21 (BSB)
For the next few weeks, we will discover how God creates a man and woman of God. We will use the life of David as the prime example of our study. David was the youngest of eight sons living in Bethlehem. His father was name Jesse and was quite old as we start our study. Little is usually expected of the youngest in a family. All eyes are usually on the oldest since they are expected to take over family businesses and lead the others. The youngest has learned to manipulate or they will be stuck with “hand me downs” and “left overs”. They usually are stuck with the jobs no one else in the family wants to do.
During David’s early days, King Saul of Israel was faltering. He was not following the direction of God even though he was blessed with a tremendous spiritual father in Samuel. After neglecting to follow God’s instructions in the matter of the Amalekites, God rejects Saul as king. David is oblivious to all this. He is growing up in his father’s house doing what the youngest does. One of those jobs was to shepherd the family flocks. The life of a shepherd is a whole study in itself. We’ll skip that for now.
Samuel shows up in Bethlehem to offer a sacrifice. He invites Jesse and his sons as special guests. Think of it: the most powerful prophet in Israel invites your family to his special service. David is not even invited to the service. Anyone in this room ever been the object of low expectations? It hurts. It tends to define your image. It tends to really speak to you of what those around you believe you are capable of. It sets you on a pathway of living below. There are two things that we can bring out from the story of David that will help those who have struggled with low expectations:
1. God has a plan for you that is above what others expect.
The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.” /// 1 Samuel 16:1
If God has something planned for you, low expectations, limitations, and manipulation cannot keep it from happening! Oil is symbol of anointing. It is also a symbol of life. Although Samuel anointed David with oil as a symbol of God’s calling on David, the actual anointing was a heavenly one! Wherever your background – however difficult or painful – regardless of your treatment by others – God decides where you will end up! Your destiny is in His hands!
2. What has happened to you – while not deciding your destiny – will shape your heart for God’s service.
David spent hours in the fields with the flocks of his family. There are three constants in shepherding: care for the needs of the flock; time to think and pray; and threats against the flock and shepherd. It was in these periods that David learned the basics of what would serve as his foundation for the future. He had to learn to put his desires aside for the flock. He had to learn to protect them and win victories over their enemies. He had to learn to embrace some things and let go of some things. In the field, David learned the lessons that became the words to one of the most famous passages of scripture we know: the 23rd Psalm. Here’s the premise:
The Lord is my everything. He provides for my lack. He is leading me to good places. He is the healer of the pains of my soul. He is my righteousness. He is my victory in times of difficulty. He is my discipline and hope. He prepares my destiny no matter the plans of my enemies. He has a destiny for me that brings me joy. His goodness and mercy and love are my constant companions. My dwelling is in the house of the Lord and His presence is my inheritance.
What is the constant source of focus? The Lord! So, even when his own father nor the prophet of God considered him for greatness, God did! We’ll leave you with His words:
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” /// 1 Samuel 16:7
Proverbs 27:21 (BSB)
1 Samuel 16:1, 7
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