We have a few different places we need to go today.
One of the struggles of a pastor is that you care about everything in your own series. There's these gold nuggets that are just so important, and we can forget that other people are likely more ok with you cutting stuff than the preacher is.
I realized last week that we need to start making some progress on the story of David, unless we want to be here till we all have grandkids.
The life of David is filled with unbelievable highs and heart-wrenching lows. And up to this point, most of what we've been talking about is highs. Well that all changes this week.
Winrock Mall - How lots of people see their own life.
Growing up, my best friend Jesse lived right next door to another very close friend Danny Randall. Well they lived walking distance from Winrock mall, I remember going there. Baseball card shop, magic shop, arcade.
I actually have an old-is picture of Winrock Mall. (Pic)
Well now you all know this is that the 'mall' section has since been closed and it's in the process of being demolished. I have a pic of this also (Pic).
And I think there's a way in which lots of people see their lives like that. That there was a time where there was passion, and purpose, and calling, and vision. But now they find themselves in a season of life where it seems like all of that is forgotten.
And you really see that in the life of David in the years leading up to him becoming g King.
So what I want to provide is some connective tissue from where we have been to where we'll be for the rest of this message.
David has been anointed by God as King, but no human besides Samuel is aware of that. David is a faithful shepherd blissfully unaware. He has this great military battle where he defeats the Phillistine champion Goliath, he has this beautiful friendship with the Kings son named Jonathan,
You might be thinking after this moment, the next verse is 'And they all lived happily ever after.' Isn't that what's so hysterical about romantic comedies, that there's all this drama before they get married, and then at the end of the movie they get married and we're to assume that from there forward, the next 40 years were awesome. Absolutely bliss. Just cuddling in front of the fire without a care in the world, for the next 40 years. And all that married people in the audience are thinking "I have a question."
Expect David - up, up, up.
You almost can't help but assume that after he's been anointed by God and then he defeats Goliath, that his life is just going to go up, up, up.
If you were to open a children's picture bible and see the story of David, that's basically what you'd get. David is anointed, then he kills Goliath and then he gets to be King.
But it wasn't quite that simple.
David's path to Kingship has not been a linear path. Which is encouraging to me, because my life hasn't been a linear path. If your life has always been nothing but sunflowers and kisses, and God blessing you with amazing friends, and beautiful houses and beautiful cars, I don't understand you. I believe you. And I like you, but I don't understand you. I have no basis in the reality of 'Once you decide to follow God, there's never any challenges. Every day is better than the last.' - I don't know anything about that.
David defeats Goliath and the story changes and David finds himself at the lowest point so far. There's this decade of David's life where he's going to wander around in the wilderness, hiding from King Saul, who is trying to kill him out of jealousy. And it's really handy to leave that out of the story so you don't have to deal with this 10 years of David's life that's filled ambiguity and questioning.
I'll start with a simple premise: Today we get into David being anointed King. And in the same way that David has been anointed to be King, God has anointed you. - And it's all important that you get that.
That day David fled from Saul and went to Achish king of Gath. (1 Samuel 21:10)
King Achish is a local Philistine King.
But the servants of Achish said to him, “Isn’t this David, the king of the land? Isn’t he the one they sing about in their dances: “ ‘Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands’?” (1 Samuel 21:11)
This is interesting, "Isn't this David the King?" - Well the answer to that question is no. Saul is very much still the King. But they've heard about David.
David took these words to heart and was very much afraid of Achish king of Gath. (1 Samuel 21:12)
Why is David afraid? B/C he's in Goliaths home town essentially. And so David's thinking "These guys might be a little upset with me for killing Goliath. And chopping off his head and taking it with me. Do you think they're over that by now?"
So he pretended to be insane in their presence; and while he was in their hands he acted like a madman, making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard. (1 Samuel 21:13)
The King James uses the word "spittle" which is much more gross to me for some reason.
So David here, who has been this incredible leader who even his enemies have considered King, is now pretending to be insane just to stay alive. And not in that 'I'm just a little guy, but I'm crazy! At any second, I could go off and take you out.' No, David here is debasing himself to stay alive.
So how is it that you have this incredible leader with this incredible calling, to guy with loogie in his beard pretending to be insane?
Now this is hysterical:
Achish said to his servants, “Look at the man! He is insane! Why bring him to me? (1 Samuel 21:14)
This is something every leader understands:
Am I so short of madmen that you have to bring this fellow here to carry on like this in front of me? (1 Samuel 21:15a)
I have said this as a pastor. "Do I lack crazy people? Why are you bringing more to me?
Must this man come into my house?” (1 Samuel 21:15b)
This is amazing: David goes to work for this man. Think about that: The man who defeated Goliath, would later come back and serve a Philistine king.
"Part - brilliant plan - right?"
And you might be thinking "This is all part of a brilliant scheme that David has cooked up right?" - I believe David's great plan was this: "I want to stay alive, today." And his great plan the next day "I want to stay alive, today." "I would like to not get my head lopped off today."
And it would seem that the farther down that path David goes, the less and less likely that this incredible calling is ever going to turn into reality.
I wonder how many of us have found ourselves in the middle of a circumstance that seems to be the exact opposite of everything you believe God has said.
"I thought God said this." "I thought my purpose was this." And then life changes and that seems utterly impossible now.
This is the story for most of us when it comes to our calling.
What you need to understand is that this is the story for most of us when it comes to our calling. That we find ourselves in these seasons where it feels like absolutely no progress is being made with what God has called us to do.
That just like David, you're in a decade where it literally feels like you're walking in circles in the desert no making any steps towards what God has called you to.
But what you'll see is that it's not up to David to just 'make it happen' on his own. That, like it says in Jeremiah, God 'watches over his word to perform it'.
And it's not our job to force it, to just grit our teeth and make it happen. But simply to partner with God, knowing that this is his initiative. That the best we can do is to simply be usable.
But it's not always linear. It's not a straight line. There are setbacks, and disappointments, and challenges. That's just the way that it is. And it's so important when it feels like you're in tornado to not let go of the rope. And to trust that God has a way of pulling you forward into your calling even when you can't see a way.
Even when you look in the mirror and see a mad man with spittle in his beard, that God sees you and says 'King'.
And also, I think often times, just like King David, when you look at yourself and see the madman, other people look at you and say 'That's the King'. That they recognize that there's something unique on the inside of you even when you don't see it yourself.
So let's just go get David anointed as King already. Which takes us to 2 Samuel In 2 Samuel chapter 2, David will be anointed as King over Judah, which is basically over the southern Kingdom. In chapter 5, the folks will come from the northern kingdom of Israel and they recognize him as King too.
And just before that all happens, we see what is possibly the darkest moment in the life of David so far. And I think it's important to not gloss over it.
When you get to know David in the Bible you get this sense of him being just so… innocent. Am I the only one. There's this purity there. And you know, he's the youngest of his brothers, and he's out there keeping the sheep, it's kind of like the original Cinderella story when he's being picked out from among his brothers.
And it makes sense then, that we want to just understand David as anointed by Samuel, defeats Goliath, becomes King.
Lord of the Rings
Who here is a fan of The Lord of the Rings? Who here knows the Lord in that way? Saved, sanctified, filled with the Holy Ghost.
I love the first few minutes of the first movie when we're in the Shire, and everything's bright, and they have these tiny houses, and they drink their little hobbit drinks and dance their little hobbit dances. And it's sweet and it's innocent, and it's bright.
And even when they band together and decide they're going to do this thing, there's still a feeling of 'this is going to be the greatest adventure!' - But as your track Frodo through to the end of the movie, and he's just getting the tar kicked out of him, it's clear that there's moments where he wishes he never left the Shire. Where he wishes he was back where it was safe and happy and bright.
Destiny, calling, purpose, OVER-RATED. I just want to sit with my family and drink hobbit drinks.
I think it's significant that David experiences one of his darkest moment just before he's anointed King.
After the death of Saul, David returned from striking down the Amalekites and stayed in Ziklag two days. (1)
On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s camp with his clothes torn and dust on his head. When he came to David, he fell to the ground to pay him honor. (2)
“Where have you come from?” David asked him. He answered, “I have escaped from the Israelite camp.” (3)
“What happened?” David asked. “Tell me.” “The men fled from the battle,” he replied. “Many of them fell and died. And Saul and his son Jonathan are dead.” (4)
I'm not sure I can adequately describe to you what a gut punch this is to David. Knowing like we know, how Jonathan was for David was quite literally the one thing that stops David from giving in to despair. And now he's just casually talking with someone who tells him that there's been a battle and Saul and Jonathan were both killed.
I know many of us have had the experience of hearing news, that when you heard it, just made time stand still. Your heart stops. You forget how to breathe.
Then David said to the young man who brought him the report, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?” (2 Samuel 1:5)
“I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and their drivers in hot pursuit. (2 Samuel 1:6)
When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, ‘What can I do?’ (2 Samuel 1:7)
“He asked me, ‘Who are you?’ “ ‘An Amalekite,’ I answered. (2 Samuel 1:8)
“Then he said to me, ‘Stand here by me and kill me! I’m in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.’ (2 Samuel 1:9)
“So I stood beside him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord.” (2 Samuel 1:10)
Then David and all the men with him took hold of their clothes and tore them. (2 Samuel 1:11)
They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and for the nation of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword. (2 Samuel 1:12)
On the eve of David being anointed as King, he gets the worst news imaginable. His best friend dies. And he experiences grief like he never would have imagined possible when he, so to speak, first left the Shire.
When Samuel comes and anoints David and says wonderful things about David, I'm certain this is not what David had in mind.
Significant - us - seasons ≠ imagined.
And I think this is important for a number of us in the room that truly feel like God has called us to something that matters. That we have a calling, an anointing, but then we find ourself in situations and seasons that we never imagined.
I've learned a number of things in my 10 years of being a pastor, but I think one of the most affecting is that I've learned what it is to hurt. I've learned what it is to be wounded.
I've learned what it means to feel grief that's so strong that you wish you'd never left. That sense of 'God, even if you DO have great things for me, I wish you had just let me be, happy in the Shire. I think it's significant that just before God will is going to reveal his plan for David, David is hit with his greatest battle yet.
Later in the chapter we read a dirge by David, which is a type of funeral song for his beloved friend Jonathan and his father Saul, the King.
“Daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments of gold. (2 Samuel 1:24)
“How the mighty have fallen in battle! Jonathan lies slain on your heights. (2 Samuel 1:25)
I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. (2 Samuel 1:26)
David is saying 'I've had wives and all that, but Jonathan your friendship to me, meant more to me than any wife.' - What does becoming King even mean after that? Does it even matter anymore, when there's no one to share it with.
I've done funerals of beloved spouses who have died and the husband or wife left behind is left with all this uncertainty about the call of God on their life. Because so much of how they saw the call of God on their life was them doing it together.
You see this with pastors, when a married couple pastors a church together and then one of them dies and it leaves the other trying to figure out what that means for their calling.
And it's not just the horror of death of a loved one. It can also be a huge array of other things. Think of a painter who is progressively losing his sight. Or a dancer who is in a car accident and is bound to a wheelchair. Or think of a woman who from when she was a child, believed God put her on this planet to be a mother, and now she finds out that biologically, she can't have kids. At least not the way she was imagining.
This is the moment David stops having fun.
This is what's happening in the story of David, that up till this point, even when he's on the run, there's still this sense of adventure. But this moment right here, I believe, is where David stops having fun.
And I think it's significant that this happens directly before he's anointed as king by the people.
And I think that's a pretty common story. I believe the reason for it is that the devil is not one to throw in the towel. He'll fight you to his dying breath.
Church staff - conference - something bad
We joke about that here on the church staff, that the week leading up to a a big church conference or something where we're really expecting God to do something amazing, almost without fail, something bad happens to one or more people on the church staff. Like almost 100% of the time.
And this might sound weird, but I think the forces of darkness see what's coming and they don't like it and they want to do everything they can to stop it.
Unimaginable grief -- Full circle:
And so David is going through this unimaginable grief, and right on the heels of that, everything starts to come together. His story comes full circle.
So in 1 Samuel 16, where we started this series, Samuel anoints David to be King, but in a secret way. And now in 2 Samuel it finally starts to happen.
All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, “We are your own flesh and blood. (2 Samuel 5:1)
In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, ‘You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler.’ ” (2 Samuel 5:2)
Things I think are significant.
And there's no way we can mention that without thinking about Jesus. I'm trying to not draw too many parallels between David and Jesus, that's not my emphasis in this series, but you can't help it in this case. Of course it's Jesus who will come and be THE great shepherd. It's describes Jesus as the shepherd who will lay down his life for his sheep.
When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. (2 Samuel 5:3)
David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. (2 Samuel 5:4)
In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years. (2 Samuel 5:5)
And David's reign, despite having some major failures that we'll talk about, overall, David's reign over Israel was an absolute success.
Here's what I'm wanting you to get. 2 Samuel 5 is where the people anoint David to be King, but it's way back in 1 Samuel 16 that God anoints David to be King. And I believe it's very important to understand and appreciate the difference between those two moments.
And so 2 Samuel 5 is really just confirming what God had already done. I don't think 2 Samuel 5 is nearly as interesting as 1 Samuel 16 where God anoints David.
Everything that mattered / important - Anointed by God.
I think the reason for that is that everything that mattered, everything that was important, happened when he was anointed by God. And once that's happened, it's just a matter of time before people recognize what God has already decided.
A lot of us - waiting moment - God affirms us - public way
The reason I think this is significant is that I think a lot of us are waiting for some moment where God affirms us in a very public way. Where people finally recognize how gifted or talented or holy you really are. "This is my son David, in whom I am well pleased." That may not be as big of a deal as you think it is.
We've talked about this before, but crowds come and go. And they're not nearly as loyal as you think they are.
The crowd is with David here, but that doesn't mean they'll be with him for long. If you need an example of this, you don't have to look any farther than, oh I don't know, his own kids.
So just because the crowd recognize how great you are today, doesn't mean they'll recognize it tomorrow. Jesus being the ultimate example of this. - "Hosanna Hosanna" 2 days later: "Crucify Him, crucify him." "Jesus I will never betray you, I'll die for if I have to." 2 days later "Jesus, never heard of him."
There of course are those times when God shows us off in that special way. And that's great.
But it can't be where you get your security from. The approval of man is great candy and terrible food.
It's nice, it feels good. But it's not enough to live on.
I remember years ago when I was in a weird rock-n-roll band, I would put on headphones, and listen to these Woodstock sized festivals, and picture me being the center of attention.
I'd walk on, and all the girls would pass out, like with the Beatles. - I think that's the kind of moment that some of us are waiting for.
And not just to the world, it's also true for the people closest to you. Don't you want your wife to truly grasp and appreciate what a brilliant, talented, hunk of a man you are? And wives, don't you want your husband to realize what a hard-working, loyal, selfless person you are?
We all want our family, our spouses, our coworkers, our friends to say "Wow, I had not idea how special you were."
Here's my point: That's not the big moment. David being anointed by the people is almost an afterthought to the main event which is being anointed by God.
The real action always happens in obscurity. And we get all hung up on how we're being perceived from the outside, like that's the most important thing.
The purpose-filled life has everything to do with what God says to you and over you when nobody else is looking.
And of course being recognized is nice. Like Tom Petty said 'It's good to be King. At least for awhile.' But don't you know that there were times when David looks back to when he was just a shepherd boy, singing songs in the field and wish he could go back there?
My point in al this is that there's almost always this amount of time between promise and fulfillment. And even when you find yourself in that liminal space, to grasp and embrace the identity that God has already assigned to you.
I believe that the main reason David was able to 'last' as a King and Saul wasn't was because David grasped who he was in God in a way that Saul never could.
Even before he became King, he believed he was King.
Revelation chapter 1 beautifully talks about how God has made us 'Kings and Priests'
See, it's not like it was in the Old Testament where there's this handful of chosen leaders and holy men, and then there's everybody else. In Christ, we're all called to be Kings and Priests. And so I want that to be something you don't have to stress about, because I know what it feels like to question whether or not God has really called you to something. Let me put that to rest: Yes he has.
I remember reading my bible as a teenagers, and reading about Esau, you know who God did NOT choose. And I'm wondering if that's me. Perhaps God destined me to fry for all eternity. Please do not waste any time wondering whether or not God has chosen you. HE HAS CHOSEN YOU.
Each and every person in this room, I am telling you, God has a calling and a purpose for you. You have a choice to walk in that or pull a Jonah and run the other way, but that's not because God didn't choose you. He did.
And if you're in this heretical business of thinking perhaps God chose some people to be with him and others to sit in the frying pan, please get away from that and become a part of a legitimate Christian religion.
This isn't what this message is about, but let me just say that I would never serve a God like that. A God that before time looked at everyone who would ever live and said 'Down, down, down, up, down, down.' I would never serve a God like that.
That's not what Romans 9 is about all you theological people.
God has chosen you.
'Chosen me to do what?' - Lots of things. It can have to do with being a mother or a father, it can have to do with your vocation, it can and should have something to do with the gospel. And it's important that you see yourself like that. Especially when you're not acting very Kingly. You're making a mess of your life and you're thinking 'Clearly God hasn't chosen me.'
David - long painful road - always believed.
The story of David is a long, winding, painful road. But through it all, David always finds his strength in what God said about him. Even when it didn't look like it, even when he had drool hanging from his beard, he believed that what God said about him was true.
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” (Frederick Buechner)
Football players / dentist
Football players who make a great catch, and then they get down on one knee and point up to the sky. Well what are they doing there? - They're saying "God is the one who has enabled me to do this." - So I want you to try that if you're a dentist. Let's say you've just drilled the perfect root canal. With the patient still sitting on the chair, raise the drill up in the air, do a circle in the room, get on one knee and give God the glory. B/C the truth is, what you do in the dentist chair is absolutely as much Kingdom work as preaching a sermon or playing a worship set.
Your job : help heal - world.
The important thing is: God has called you. Your life has meaning. God wants to use you wherever you are to help heal the world.
Whether you're called to vocational ministry or not. Most people are not. But don't for one second think that because you're not a worship pastor or a preacher or something, that you life somehow means less to God, that's simply not true.
Whether vocational ministry or not.
And what's super important to remember is that GOD is the one who chose you. GOD is the one who anointed you. Not people. Him.
And you need to find your identity there. Both when people acknowledge that about you and when they don't.
When everyone around you is celebrating you and recognizing you, that great. Enjoy is while it lasts. That's gonna be a great 3 minutes. But when that's over, you'll still be chosen by God. Enjoy people's approval, but when that's over, God still has a job for you to do.
I think there's some big general concepts in the Christian faith that are really easy until you get around actual people. I'm incredible at loving my enemies for the first 17 seconds of the day. Like really good. Until I'm actually around people. So your work whatever that is, they could be a stay at home parent, a full time grandparent, a dentist, a pastor, a handyman. That's one of the places you get to practice being like Jesus.
(Prepare - Communion)
I'm always afraid that my sermons get muddled, so I'm gonna make this really simple. Here's the thought for the week: In the same way that God called and anointed David, God has called and anointed you.
I really do believe that each of you are chosen, called, and anointed. I really believe that. And not in some generic way, I know most of you, not all of you, but most of you. I think sometimes it's easier to believe in someone else than believe in yourself, so let me just say this: I believe in you. What is that thing that's in front of you and you're not sure if you're strong enough, or brave enough, or eloquent enough, or smart enough. I believe in you. And more than that, God believes in you.
There's things you can do in just a certain way, that no one else can.
Pray - You know our hearts, we have no desire to make something up, all we want to do is open up our hands and our hearts to come and move in us. Anything positive that could be said about us is simply an affirmation of what you have said about us.
I pray that even today you would establish in us, an identity where we would just KNOW that we are loved. That we would KNOW that we're chosen.
And for others that here today maybe feel like they used to know what they were called to, but it has become really ambiguous at this point. I believe that those people would receive a word straight from you reminding them who they are, and what you'd have them do.