Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 26, 2013 … First the Anointing … Then the Testing

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 26

Passage of the Day: 1st Samuel 28: 17b [NLT] …  
17 The LORD has done just as he said he would. He has taken the kingdom from you and given it to your rival, David.

Contextual Study of today’s passage: 1st Samuel 28 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

My Journal for Today: When God calls and one is called for a task of God’s choosing, the Lord pours out His grace (i.e., His anointing) upon the one He calls to follow His will. If you’ve followed me in my journaling here, you’ve read a truth I learned from my mentor years ago … that God’s calling comes with His enablement. Perhaps you’ve experienced a definite calling in your life to carry out some Spirit-led task or ministry or mission; and along with it, you witnessed or felt the anointing come along with the task, drawing you to be able to use your talents and gifts at “God levels” to fulfill the calling.

Os Hillman, in my devotional today, writes that such an anointing usually comes along with some testing which takes place after God’s calling so that God’s Spirit can determine whether the anointing will remain on the called one. Hillman posits that these tests can come in several forms testing four areas of character or resolve; and these areas are in the form of CONTROL, POWER, GREED, AND BITTERNESS.

In today’s highlight passage and contextual reading we read 1st Samuel, Chapter 28, we read of King Saul being run through this gauntlet of testing after the anointing of God had fallen upon him to become the first king of the Israelites. And as we know Saul failed the test miserably; and then historically, we read how God had to move on to anoint young David as the later king. But in the process of his anointing, Saul went through the testing of God’s Spirit.

When we’re called to a task of God’s willing and leading, He will often test how we handle CONTROL. Will we simply follow what Jesus taught in Luke 9: 23, denying self and following the Lord; or will we, like Saul do all we can, in our own flesh, to arrest and hold on to the control vested in us?

Then there’s the POWER test. As Hillman points out, self-driven power-mongering is the opposite of what God is looking for in His calling; and that is the character of humble servanthood. Jesus, of course, was our New Testament model of that servanthood in meekness and humility serving His Father; but Saul was just the opposite, doing all he could to take any power away from anyone surrounding him, especially young David.

Then there’s the test of GREED because, along with God’s calling, as I said above, comes His providence and often His empowerment; and it’s very easy, given the nature of our inner being (see Jeremiah 17: 9), to let our own deceit-ridden hearts drive us to be greedy with God’s anointed grace and try to use it for our own aggrandizement, rather than humbly using God’s Grace for HIS GLORY as He would intend.

And finally, over the long haul of God’s calling, we will be tested as to BITTERNESS. In other words, how do we avoid becoming angry and bitter when we face those who challenge us? As Hillman points out, … every anointed leader will have someone come along to challenge him. Saul certainly did – many of them, including the prophet Samuel and his perception of young David. Jesus had his challenge in the handling of Judas. But we know that these two handled their challenges 180 degrees in opposition to one another. Saul tried to kill his challenger, David; and Jesus anointed the feet of Judas.

 So, as a fellow Christian today, how do you think you’d do with the test of anointing and leadership? Personally, having been called into leadership in my church and God’s kingdom, I’m a bit sobered by the test today; and I need to take these factors into account with more vigilance so that I can be used maximally for God’s glory rather than to squander God’s anointing as did Saul.

So, my testing goes on; … what about yours? 

My Prayer for Today ... Lord, help me to pass Your tests and to use Your grace for Your glory from Your anointing. … Amen

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