Wandering in the Wilderness 2/11/16

After David slew Goliath one would naturally think that David would be instantly recognized as the anointed of the Lord and established as God’s chosen vessel of authority. Not so! Instead, the remainder of the book of I Samuel gives a detailed account of how King Saul, like a driven mad-man, hunted David down like an animal. He chased him in the wilderness, on mountain tops, in caves and in towns. Despite the fact that the Philistines had regrouped and re-attacked Israel, Saul disregarded these, the true enemies of his people and sought with all his might to kill David. Likewise, we should not be surprised today when ministries go on the war path against Spirit filled believers. As long as they keep quiet, warm a pew and pass the plate, they’re okay. But let them heal the sick, prophesy or speak in tongues and “out the door they go.” While the sheep are taught to view these charismatics as heretics and fanatics the devil continues to destroy with depravity, disease, despair and death.

These spirit filled believers, called charismatics are labeled Cruise-o-matics as they fellowship like David, “from pillar to post.” Yet for some this wandering in the wilderness without a church home is too wearisome. And so they return to programs, preachers and familiar forms of fundamentalism. Rather than worship God in Spirit and in Truth, they abandon their new experience and seek the comfort of church games and politics. Even Saul’s daughter, Michal, David’s beloved wife thought cave life too treacherous. In her heart she must have reasoned that the life of an outcast would never lead to an anointing of authority. And so it was, she deserted her husband’s side and stayed in her father’s court. Likewise, Jonathan, Saul’s son, though he loved David and counted him his blood brother, would not go with him in the wilderness for his loyalties lie with the madness of his father, the King. Instead, David’s only companions were cut-throats, vagabonds, thieves and undesirables by most standards. In the natural, David was labeled a rebel, a pirate, an adulterer; someone so brazen that when he and his men were hungry, he stormed into the Holy Place of the Tabernacle and dared eat and distribute the shew bread reserved as an offering for the Lord. But God looked not on the outward.

Occasions were even given to David by the Lord’s design where he could have easily taken Saul’s life. But as the young shepherd boy had refused the King’s armour to fight Goliath, so too did he refuse to usurp the throne of Israel by assassination. Saul’s methods of fighting were useless to David. Instead he was anointed and empowered by the Spirit of the Lord to slay Goliath. And if he were to reign as king, again it would be because of an anointing, and not by the methods used by his predecessor. Unfortunately, all too often charismatics are enticed into positions of leadership using carnal or even natural methods to achieve that end. How sad it is to see these spirit filled believers fitted into the armour of advertising and politics to fight the spiritual forces of darkness. They call this battle “evangelism”…then when all is said and done, wonder why their goals are not achieved.

Even sadder still are the methods used by many a Spirit filled believer to obtain a position of leadership or authority. Like their King Saul prototypes they ignore the Spirit’s ability to teach them “all truth” and recklessly purse a Bible College degree. Upon completion and with a sense of accomplishment they field resumes and obtain interviews. This is so they can be chosen to lead through natural selection. But it is God’s desire to empower through a SUPERNATURAL ELECTION.

If you intend to walk in your calling and become that Son of God that rules and reigns with Him, you will in all probability find yourself like David, wandering in the wilderness somewhere with no place to call home. In addition, like David you will probably be despised and rejected most by those who you identify as your family, brothers and sisters or friends. It will not be unusual for you to be persecuted by church leaders and your only earthly comforters will be those who you would not otherwise seek company with. Not a pleasant life for anyone and yet this is exactly where David found himself. So too were Joseph, Moses, Elijah, the Apostle Paul and yes – Jesus. All of these had extensive, intense wilderness experiences because their own brethren rejected them and wanted them dead! But they, like David were all called and anointed with authority to fulfill God’s purpose.

But when David received news of Saul’s suicide, he didn’t jump at the opportunity and declare himself “Big Cheese.” Instead he lamented, rent his clothing, cried in anguish and mourned almost inexhaustibly though his tormentor’s life was ended. Why? Because David took no pleasure seeing King Saul, God’s first anointed King of Israel, wasted. He not only had accepted the wilderness as his lot in life, but had learned to rejoice and glory in his suffering. But there was no glory in the death and suffering of Saul. By learning to rejoice in tribulation God had truly created the heart of a servant in David. He accepted both good and bad as from the hand of the Lord and knew that despite the circumstances, God was faithful to His promises. By rejoicing in adversity, David’s heart was transformed such that the Lord commented of him that he had a heart after His own heart. (I Sam. 13:14)

Over and over David wrote in the Psalms, “His mercy (or love) endureth forever.” By glorying in suffering David not only received true humility of soul, but could write experientially of God’s love. It was this love that dominated his prayers for Saul, his king, his father-in-law, the once mighty man of God. The Apostle Paul describes this type of love. It, “suffers long, is kind, is not boastful nor puffed up.” This love does not behave selfishly, is not easily provoked and does not think evil of others. (I Cor. 13) Most important, David the praiser knew that love did not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoiced in the truth. No wonder David could not rejoice in Saul’s death since he was once used as the anointed servant of God. Likewise, David’s example of brokenness, sorrow and loss should speak to us about how we should view the current crumbling, criticism and collapse of charismatic ministries once blessed by God.

Jerry Turk's photo.