The following is an adaptation of the sermon ‘Called to Greatness Part 3’ preached by Pastor Michael White on Sunday, 3/31/2019, at CityLight Church. To listen to the full podcast please click the play arrow above.
Called to Greatness Part III
In Part One, we discussed the reality that every believer is called to greatness. Moses (Exodus 3), Saul (1 Samuel 10), and David (1 Sam 16) all had their lives divinely interrupted by God, as He called them out of the mundane and into their destiny. Saying yes to God’s call would position them to fulfill their design: a function that would facilitate God’s plan and change the world.
In Part Two, we examined the various forms of resistance that typically rise to the surface when we say yes to God’s call on our lives. When you say yes to greatness, unfortunately the enemy – Satan – typically paints a target on your back. Sometimes the enemy will defy you to your face (see David and Goliath; 1 Sam 17); but more often than not, he will work through other people to try and get you to give up your destiny and sacrifice your call to greatness.
Hurry Up and Wait
In this chapter, I have some sobering news for you: your destiny is going to take some time to unfold. Quite often, God will show you some major things He wants to accomplish in your life up front, and all at once; but what we don’t always want to hear is that those things are going to unfold slowly, in a process that often takes years or even decades.
So, once we accept the call to greatness, how do we wait wisely for God’s destiny over our lives to unfold?
He Behaved Himself Wisely
We turn again to the story of David. In Part One, we saw David’s Call to Greatness:
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah. – 1 Sam 16:13
What an incredible scene. Historians estimate David was between 10 and 15 years old when he was anointed to be king. He was called from the field, shepherding sheep, and the Old Testament prophet Samuel anointed him in dramatic fashion. David was anointed, “…in the midst of his brothers;” in other words, this was not a private ceremony! Everyone around David – his father and brothers included – knew there was a kingly call on David’s life!
But do you know what David had to do next? Wait. David was anointed at a young age; but David wouldn’t become king until he was thirty years old:
David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years over all Israel and Judah. – 2 Sam 5:4-5
At age 30 David became king over Judah. Then, 7 yeas and six months later, he became king over the entire nation of Israel.
God’s destiny for David was real! But what David didn’t know up front was that his call to greatness was going to take some time to unfold. So, how did David wait well? What did he do in between receiving his call to greatness, and seeing it play out in his life? How did he position himself to receive everything God had to offer, and make sure he didn’t miss out on everything God planned to do, in and through him?
Here is our answer:
So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. – 1 Sam 18:5
David “behaved wisely.” The King James Version says David, “behaved himself wisely.” To “behave wisely” is the Hebrew word, sakal (Strong’s H7919). It means to be prudent (i.e. showing care for the future), to be circumspect (wary and unwilling to take inappropriate risks), and to wisely understand: to have insight and comprehension that result in prosperity.
You see, David had plenty of opportunities to be foolish. He was young when he was anointed to be king. He could have told everyone around him, and bragged about the calling on his life. He could have adopted a lavish lifestyle, knowing that some day he would be able to pay down his debts. He could have become a complete jerk, because he knew he would rule over the people around him!
But David did none of those things. He understood that his future was much more important this his present. He “behaved himself wisely;” and because of that response, God had everything He needed in the form or a response, to make David’s destiny come to pass.
So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted (Hebrew: he “made them glad”) in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 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?” – 1 Sam 18:5-8
David’s actions made the people glad; but they made Saul mad! The people were falling in love with David! But Saul was starting to hate him. What’s the point?
When you “behave wisely” in response to God’s call to greatness, not everyone is going to be thrilled. But your job isn’t to please people; your job is to simply step out and do whatever God is calling you to do, with, “…clean hands and a pure heart” (Ps 24:4).
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. Now Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul. – 1 Sam 18:9-12
As time went on, Saul lashed out at David more and more. But notice why David made Saul so uncomfortable: Saul was “afraid” (v 12). Saul knew the Lord was with David, but no longer with Saul.
What does it mean that a, “…distressing spirit from God came upon Saul” (v 9)? I believe God was trying to make Saul uncomfortable, because Saul was no longer supposed to be king! David was the one who had the Holy Spirit on him to be king! But Saul was afraid to lose power. Saul started to give away the kingdom with his words (v 8); and David would be there to accept the throne.
Sometimes other people won’t respond well when they see the call of God on your life. But your response should not be to prove them wrong. Your response should not be to try and silence them! Simply “behave wisely.” Trust that God is going to put you in the right place, at the right time, to step into your divinely appointed destiny. It may take some time, and other people may not like it very much; but God will do everything He has promised to do.
Saul hated David so much that he threw spears at him! But David didn’t fume and try and get him back. Years later, David would have two chances () to kill Saul! But his response was, “Who am I to stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed?” At every turn, David did the right thing. He refused to take matters into his own hands, and attempt to accelerate the destiny over his life. He “behaved wisely;” and that was all God needed to see.
Therefore Saul removed him from his presence, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people. And David behaved wisely in all his ways, and the Lord was with him. Therefore, when Saul saw that he behaved very wisely, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them. – 1 Sam 18:13-16
What Saul meant as a punishment, God turned into promotion. By the time David was forced into exile, all of Israel loved him. On the surface, it seemed like things couldn’t be going worse for David: he was being pushed out of the country he was supposed to rule, by a king who didn’t want to give up the throne! But the whole time, God was perfectly positioning David to step into the call of greatness over his life.
It’s All About Your Heart
As you’re waiting for destiny to unfold over your life, what matters most is the condition of your heart. God had plenty of warriors to choose from! He had plenty of men who knew His word. But He had only one who was, “…a man after His own heart” (1 Sam 13:14).
What is your heart condition like? Are you frustrated God is taking so long? Are you angry at the people around you who are making your life difficult? The unfortunate reality is this: you are going to have to wait for God to fulfill the call to greatness on your life. Greatness takes time! But as you wait, are you willing to “behave wisely?” Are you willing to protect your heart? Are you willing to act with integrity and character while God takes His time? Are you willing to refuse to take matters into your own hand, electing instead to allow God to do everything in His own time?
David constantly invited God to examine his heart:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Ps 139:23-24
Was David perfect? No (see 2 Sam 11:2). But what David had going for him is an insistence to “behave wisely:” to make sure he didn’t do anything on his own, but that he waited on God for every good and perfect thing to come to pass.
As you position yourself for greatness, can you stand before God and honestly declare that you are a (wo)man after His own heart? Can you bare your heart before Him, and confess that you have zero ulterior motive to serving Him? Can you say your heart hasn’t been tainted by the people around you who aren’t as excited about your destiny as you are?
It’s not just about what you do as you wait for your destiny; it’s about how you do it. David “behaved wisely” because his heart was right! He constantly let God in to poke around under the hood, and examine what was going on in his heart condition and his thought process. And the result was that David did all things well.
Anger and Bitterness
Anger and bitterness can interfere with your destiny. If you are angry and bitter, your emotions will cause you to hear things you think are from God, that aren’t really Him. Jesus explained this to His disciples:
Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. – Matt 5:23-24
Take this test: when you go to pray, who is the first person you think about? It should be Jesus! But many of us think about someone else. We go to pray, and we think about other people. God, change him, we start. Lord, tell her to help me! But whenever you think about someone else instead of Jesus in prayer, we have a problem.
Remember this: bitterness and resentment will negatively impact your ability to hear from God objectively. If you want to “behave wisely,” you have to let it go! Whatever people have done to offend you: is it worth hanging on to the offense at the expense of your destiny?
David didn’t allow Saul’s hatred to penetrate David’s heart. He refused to, “…give place to the devil” (Eph 4:27). David knew this powerful truth: if your heart is anything put pure before the Lord, the enemy has a foothold to your life. But if you constantly come to the Lord and ask Him to protect and preserve the state of your heart, He will answer your prayer!
The battle is in your heart. Do not give the enemy room to disrupt the call of God over your life. Do not give the enemy room to delay the call of God over your life! Forgive quickly, and love lavishly; and you will find yourself perfectly positioned to receive everything God wants you to have.
It’s All About Perspective
When did David really become king? He was thirty years old when other people first recognized him as king (2 Sam 5:4). But he was just a boy when God recognized him as king (1 Sam 16:13).
I would like to argue that David really became king when God anointed him, not when the world finally recognized him. David knew it. He didn’t need affirmation from other people when He already had it from God! He knew he was already king in God’s eyes, so it didn’t matter what anyone else thought! And if he was already king in God’s eyes, what reason did he have to be impatient?
David had plenty of opportunities to become frustrated and offended; he just didn’t take them. And neither should you. Behave yourself wisely. Ask God to keep your heart in the right place; and you will find yourself perfectly positioned to step into the call to greatness God has over your life.
You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side. – Ps 71:21
© Michael D. White, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael D. White with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
yatab; Strong’s 3190