The Crucible // Part 4
How does God create a man/woman of God? What does He use as His instrument to shape them after His image and for His purpose? This is the subject of our study. For the last four weeks, we have been looking at the life of David to see how God shapes us into a man/woman after His own heart. Remember the last time we were together – David won a great victory. He defeated Goliath and revealed to us several truths along the way. The victory over Goliath was received by King Saul as a great blessing until… something happened that turned the victory into a crucible of fire for David.
Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”
Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” So Saul eyed David from that day forward.
And it happened on the next day that the distressing spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied inside the house. So David played music with his hand, as at other times; but there was a spear in Saul’s hand. And Saul cast the spear, for he said, “I will pin David to the wall!” But David escaped his presence twice. /// 1 Samuel 18:6-11 (NKJV)
Saul is an insecure man. He lives for the validation of the praise of people. This weakness removes the ability of Saul to be objective and leaves behind fear and jealousy. The praise of the women isn’t even correct yet Saul’s heart turns against David. David did nothing to bring this change. All he did was to believe God. What will happen when your faith becomes a stumbling block to someone important in your life?
Saul now sees David as a threat so he has a spear near him when David is around. David sings and plays for Saul but Saul twice throws his spear at David to kill him. Then, he sends David out to fight on the front lines hoping David will be killed in battle. But, God is with David and gives him victory wherever he goes. David is with the people – fighting the battles of the Lord. The people love David. This only made Saul fear David more.
Since the people love David, Saul must be careful in his plans. So, Saul asks David to be his son-in-law intending to use these events to kill David. But, God protects David and Saul’s plans against him fail. Jonathan, Saul’s son and close companion of David intercedes on David’s behalf:
Thus Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father, and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant, against David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his works have been very good toward you. For he took his life in his hands and killed the Philistine, and the Lord brought about a great deliverance for all Israel. You saw it and rejoiced. Whey then will you sin against innocent blood, to kill David without a cause?” /// 1 Samuel 19:4-5
Saul listened to Jonathan and brought David back to his presence and position. David continued to fight the battles of the Lord and to be successful. When David is playing for Saul in the palace, Saul tries to spear David again. David realizes that Saul will kill him and he flees for his life. How does God use such circumstances to create a man/woman of God? By teaching them:
1. Life will not always respond fairly to your obedience.
Many believers think that if they do exactly what God says – if they obey the Bible, they will experience nothing but blessing. Nothing could be more wrong. We live in a world of competing agendas. If you do everything right and cross an agenda that is working against the will of God, you will experience conflict. Sometimes, that conflict is short lived and victory comes quickly. Sometimes, conflict lasts a long time and faith must be exercised to experience victory. Don’t be surprises when you are treated unfairly for doing exactly what you were supposed to do.
2. Sometimes, the way “up” in the kingdom of God is “down”.
Again, many believe that obedience to God brings a static, consistent path to promotion. Well, often in the kingdom of God the way “up” is “down”. Think of Joseph. He did right but went to slavery and prison. Think of Jesus. He never did anything wrong yet was rejected and killed. Jesus warned His disciples against thinking that they would never experience hard times when living their lives for Him:
Remember what I told you: 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. /// John 15:20 (NIV)
They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said. /// Acts 14:21-22 (NIV)
Remember, God is forming in us a character that matches His.
3. When God allows a “Saul” to attack you, His target is the “Saul” within you.
If God allows you to be at the mercy of a “Saul”, His goal is to use that person to kill aspects of sin in you: judgment, bitterness, lack of trust in God’s sovereignty and love, pride, etc. Instead of wasting your time hating your “Saul”, you should allow God to crucify the very same instincts in you that you hate in others – because they are there! Remember, internal stewardship is important in the formation of a man/woman of God. Allow God to work on your heart to make you into a vessel that can truly be used for His glory!
- 1 Samuel 18:6-11 (NKJV)
- 1 Samuel 19:4-5
- John 15:20 (NIV)
- Acts 14:21-22 (NIV)
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