How and When: Will This Happen.
1Samuel 16 – 31.
The Church today is so obsessed with being practical, relevant and helpful, successful, and perhaps even well liked that it only mirrors the world itself. Aside from packaging, there is nothing present in most churches today that cannot be satisfied by any number of secular programs and self-help groups.
Choosing what you want out of life, figuring out what you have to do to get what you want and then following the rules, gives plenty of pressure. When the law doesn’t work, we come to agree and condemn ourselves that we simply didn’t follow the rules well enough. We believe someone failed (us). We become more deflated than trusting. It does not occur to us that the rules or laws we are trying to apply might no longer be in effect.
A linear/direct life is the desire to make this life to work and the willingness to do whatever it takes to make it happen. There is a thin line between the practise of spiritual disciplines and the experience of spirituality.
When things go right or work well, when things go the way we have planned, we publicly say “praise God” but privately whisper “of course I did what I was told, I got it right”. When things go poorly, we publicly declare “God is working for our good, we will trust Him” but then again privately we will again whisper “what did I do wrong”?
Therefore the spiritual journey is not about living as we should, so that life can work out as we want. It is not a linear path.
The secular/the nonspiritual journey (wisdom of this world) is rooted in linearity. The bondage of control: the belief that if I do this… that will happen, that’s how we believe things work. You can have the life you want if you live wisely and well.
Without spiritual direction, millions of Christians will continue to walk the old way, thinking they are on the path to knowing God well. Faith versus Merit has always been the core issue. At no time even when Sinai thundered, was merit the basis for God’s favour.
We no longer depend on a linear relationship between performance and blessing, to arrange for the life we want. It then becomes a surprising and clearly disturbing thought that obedience to biblical principles can be wrong. But when doing right becomes a strategy to getting what we want our energy turns to pride and our focus becomes SELF.
Biblical principles are reduced to the basic principles of the world when they’re followed in order to gain the better life that we selfishly aspire to. Biblical principles remain biblical principles when they become guided opportunities for Christians to draw near to God, to express to others the character of Christ.
Christians who follow Jesus with the intent of a pleasant life, materialism or even the pleasant life of exciting adventure and meaning, have their heads buried in the sand. The devil distracts us by directing our attention from the person of Christ as the source of the deepest joy toward the blessings of life as what we really need to be happy.
If we are good people who have lost our way but with the proper instruction and motivation can become better people, we need only a life coach and not a redeemer.
The story of David and Goliath readily comes to mind. God had asked Samuel to anoint David as the King of Israel. The people had chosen Saul to be the King and here is God, anointing his own King in the family of a man called Jesse.
David has been anointed King by the greatest power and force and the next question is when he would be enthroned, while there is a King in place. What should he do to accomplish that which God has enabled him for? Surely he should be able to do one or two things so that his dreams can be realised, making his journey in life a linear one.
Amazingly, David went back to tending his father’s flock. No one blamed him for going back there, not even his father or the Prophet Samuel. It was God who chose David and it should be God who will work to make him the King. So what should David do? He should go about his normal day-to-day business because there is nothing he can do to become King.
David was also skilled in playing the harp and as soon as Samuel anointed David, the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul and an evil spirit from God troubled him. A cunning player on the harp, (a musical instrument), would have to play so that Saul can be relieved of the evil spirit from God. Immediately Saul called and looked for only one person and guess who that was? David. Remember God had anointed him King and the process to the palace has to begin and end with God. The evil spirit departed from Saul as David played the Harp. He also became Saul’s armour bearer.
What a good position to be in some may say! He is close to the King, He has found favour with the King, but that was not what God anointed him for. He is in the palace and besides, he is close to the King, unknowing to David and Saul, and he has to see how things are done in the palace so that he will not be ignorant of the protocol in the palace as he journeyed towards this Kingship. He would be able to learn a lot from the happenings in the palace for his new position.
Being the armour bearer will never get him to be the King, so something must happen again, and unknown again to David. How will this happen except by God. So there must be a battle between the Jews and the five enemy nations. The five enemy nations will present a giant called Goliath who nobody in Israel or Judah will be able to fight. At the battle, Jesse, his father will send David to the battlefield to check the welfare of his elder brothers. David had to be at the battle one way or the other, which might probably be the stage that will make him King.
No one could defeat Goliath and as David got to the battlefront, he chose to confront Goliath without an armoury; all he had were five smooth stones. He defeated and killed Goliath, which made the whole of Israel turn their attention to him. His status immediately changed from being the shepherd boy and an armour bearer to a warrior par excellence. They started to sing about David’s victory: Saul has defeated the thousands, but David the ten thousands. In a victory like that the normal thing is to make David King after saving them from the five enemy nations, which endangered his life because Saul would be jealous of him.
Remember God told Samuel to anoint David as King, not as a warrior, so something else must happen to take him into the palace. God has to organise this again, unknown to David and there will be a plot to kill David by Saul.
Saul would allow his daughter to marry David to ensnare him. 1Samuel 18:21. God anointed him to be King and not to be killed. So the plot to kill him will not work and therefore becomes an exercise in futility. God would have to prevent the plot from distorting His plan and purpose for David; Jonathan will become His friend saving him from some of the many plots and traps. Some of the people who helped David would be discovered by Saul and he would kill them, but David’s would be preserved because he had been anointed.
Jonathan will become David’s best friend who will reveal the secrets of the palace to David. David will have two opportunities to kill Saul, which he didn’t take advantage of. Some would have said, “kill him so that you can become King”. But the instruction was not for David to kill to become King.
The Philistines fought against Saul and wounded him; he called for one of his armour bearer to kill him. The armour bearer refused to kill him but Saul fell on the spear and killed himself. That was his end, so David can become King now!
What did David do to become King then, NOTHING; he found himself flowing from one situation to the other until he came to the purpose for which God apprehended him.
It’s not in how much we need to know how to pray or fast (nothing wrong with those), but totally based on the plan of God for each of our lives and how God has predestined that we arrive at His goal for our lives. The spiritual walk is not a linear path.