by Wade E Taylor
The level of the Lord’s activity within our spiritual life experience is determined by our integrity, yieldedness, and sincerity toward Him. The Lord looks deep within us to see if there is an indication of a desire to go beyond our present level of spiritual attainment, and especially a seeking to personally know Him. When we become, in any measure, interested in Jesus, He will notice and respond.
“I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me… that I may cause those that love Me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.” Proverbs 8:17, 21
When a young man becomes infatuated with a particular young lady and she notices his interest, she soon becomes singularly interested in him. This is similar to the approbation, or the favor of God resting upon one’s life. Our desire toward the Lord moves His heart toward us – especially when we express it to Him.
It can be said that the Lord chooses a person who has chosen Him. The Lord knows our heart’s desire and intentions, and He responds accordingly.
“For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
Samuel was sent to the house of Jesse to pick one of his sons to reign in place of Saul. Jesse had eight sons, of whom seven were present when Samuel arrived and they had prepared themselves to impress him. Outwardly, it seemed to Samuel that the first, Eliab, would be the right choice, but the Lord had something else to say:
“But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his countenance, nor on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” I Samuel 16:7
One by one, the seven sons stood before Samuel, and were rejected. During this time, David, the eighth son, was in a sheepfold, helping in the birthing of a lamb. When not thus occupied, under the stars of the long nights, David sang of the majesty of his Creator and became a worshipper of God. Here, many of the Psalms that he later wrote were formed within him.
“He chose David also His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: from following the ewes great with young He brought him to feed Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance. So He fed them according to the integrity of His heart; and guided them by the skillfulness of His hands.” Psalm 78:70-72
The Lord had noticed the spiritual hunger and desire that was within David, and would give Samuel no rest until David was called.
“And Samuel said to Jesse, Are here all your children? And he said, There remains yet the youngest, and, behold, he keeps the sheep. And Samuel said to Jesse, Send and bring him: for we will not sit down till he come here.” I Samuel 16:11
David was brought directly from the sheepfold to stand before Samuel. There was nothing in his outward appearance that would seemingly qualify him (the smell of the sheepfold was still on him), but the Lord spoke to Samuel:
“…Arise, anoint him: for this is he. Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward….” I Samuel 16:12-13
There was something within the heart of David that had touched the heart of the Lord, and he was singularly set apart from his brethren. He was faithful in caring for the sheep, which only the Lord saw.
Now, through divine intervention (our part is to be patient), the quality of faithfulness that had been formed within David was lifted into a higher dimension of responsibility and purpose. Later, David was brought into the presence of Saul in the palace because Saul was being troubled by evil spirits. As David played his harp, these spirits were soothed and Saul had rest.
It became apparent to Saul that the anointing and the favor of God rested on David. Therefore, he became jealous and threw a javelin at David and ordered him killed. David fled and hid deep within a dark cave while Saul’s army was outside seeking to kill him. Here, under intense pressure, David began to quietly sing to the Lord, as he had done during the long nights of watching sheep.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.” Psalms 27:1-3
This dark cave became a “Temple,” the habitation of the Lord’s presence. Something had developed within David while in the sheepfolds that enabled the Lord to lift him above his circumstances. The spiritual hunger for the Lord that was within David transcended his local, physical circumstances. This cave had become the “house of the Lord.”
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple.” Psalm 27:4
For many of us, when things do not go as we feel they should, we complain, telling the Lord that He should change our circumstances because we are doing the best we can. Instead, we are to meet the Lord in the place where we find ourselves to be, and rise above it with a heart attitude of worship toward Him. All too often, we whine rather than worship the Lord in our place of pressure.
“To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne.” Revelation 3:21
For us to become an overcomer, there must be something for us to overcome. The way we react to our problems has much to do with the “approbation of God” (divine favor) resting upon us, and with our being lifted into a new realm of spiritual life and responsibility.
Many wonder why some are brought into a higher realm of spiritual responsibility and divine activity, when there appears to be nothing in their lives or background to justify the Lord taking an interest in them. This probably happened because the Lord saw the potential that was within them, which would manifest as faithfulness toward Him when they were subjected to difficult circumstances.
When David was in the sheepfold, the Lord knew (foreknowledge) how he would react while he was hiding in the back of a cave.
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…” I Peter 1:2
All that the Lord did was to provide an arrangement in which David had to make a choice. In this place of intense pressure, he chose the Lord – “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after.”
For us also, the Lord gives us plenty of room to see what we will do. In His foreknowledge, He knows, but we must make the decision. Therefore, He allows us to go through many trying circumstances in order to equip us (enlarge our capacity) for a higher purpose.
Where there is a demonstrated seeking the Lord in our place of pressure, a pathway will be formed that will lead us to God and result in a greater release into the realms of the Spirit. Others may not recognize that this higher level of relationship to the Lord is being formed within us, but we will know.
When we pray, we are told by the Lord to go into our “closet” and shut the door and pray to our Father in secret. Then our Father, who sees in secret, will reward us openly (Matthew 6.6).
When parents, who have a small child, plan to go out without taking the child with them, the child may say, “who will keep me?” This is built into a child. Jesus said that we cannot enter the Kingdom except we become as a little child. This child-like trust and dependence is important to our Heavenly Father.
There is a Kingdom principle that has nothing to do with right or wrong (the tree of knowledge). Rather, it has to do with the attitude behind the act, which will produce either life or death (the tree of life). This is because the Lord is using the circumstance to produce within us an inner spiritual quality.
Thus, the Word tells us that “all things work together for good (Romans 8:28).” Things do not work; rather, God works even terrible things together to produce His purpose – the image of His Son formed within us. When we understand and accept this, we have an alignment or a “set of spirit” that will bring us into the place of His higher calling and purpose. Then, nothing will be able to turn us away from this path.
Now, the difficult circumstances that I face can only enhance my relationship with the Lord in which He will teach me, not only His ways, but also, Kingdom principles (the Sermon in the Mount – the cause behind the act). My capacity for spirituals (the ability to function in the realms of the spirit) will also be enlarged.
David qualified for the throne of Israel while he was in the sheepfolds of the wilderness, which was established while he was hiding in the back of a cave. This should encourage us to maintain a right attitude while we also are in the sheepfolds of the Lord’s preparation. Only when we are tested in the darkness of what seems to us as being a cave, with no apparent light, will we be brought to the end of all our abilities.
Only then will we be able to say with David:
The Lord is my light and my salvation… for in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in His tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises to the Lord.” Psalms 27:1, 5-6
Now, our eye is single, and the Lord will deliver us from our cave.