11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.
1 Samuel 16:11-13
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be “anointed” by the Lord.From David’s experience I’ve come to a few different conclusions, each connected to the next for the glory of God and for the service of His chosen workers.
First, God’s anointing of David acted as a public decree of the Lord’s call to David to serve in the position of King. God had David in mind from the beginning. He didn’t settle for one of his brothers, but insisted on pulling the young man, David, from the fields, to be His King. Amidst David’s brothers and gathered family, God singled out David and called him to service. God publicly proclaimed David, a simple shepherd boy with pretty eyes, to be His King of Israel. Samuel ceremonially marks David with the pouring of oil over his head. God had set him apart publicly for a purpose. The anointing of oil established God’s call and promise over David, and showed the people that David would be empowered by God to serve Him.
The anointing also brought the filling of the Holy Spirit. No, the oil wasn’t magical. The Lord used the oil to symbolize the covering and power God was giving David to serve Him as King. The power of God in David would be the fuel that would seed David’s faith, his courage, his strength, and his leadership. It didn’t make David incapable of error or sin (remember Bathsheba?) but it did give him the power to act in accordance with the Lord’s will in an intimate way. So, an anointing from God brings power from the Spirit of God.
When I look at David’s struggles, the time and energy and fear and sorrow that plagued him after his anointing until the time he actually got to be king, I see a life plagued with trials. So, anointing isn’t without its warfare. After David got anointed he got to see just how much the Enemy hated him. Saul kept trying to kill him. He had to hide in caves. At one point he even ran off to the Philistines in sorrow and defeat. He made his home with the enemy because of the profound obstacles and attacks that came at him after God’s declaration over him. David didn’t get anointed and instantly made king. He had to go through trials to build and develop his faith and character. The job God had for David required a lot of training! And while the commissioning was instantaneous, the promise took time to be fulfilled.
David’s anointing remained on Him through the years of struggles he spent waiting for the Lord. Unlike Saul, who had the favor of the Lord removed from him for his disobedience. David continually waited on the Lord to act. He didn’t try to make things happen. He didn’t try to orchestrate a coup or murder Saul and take his place, even though he had multiple opportunity to do so. David trusted God. And God fulfilled His promise.
When I think about how the Lord has called me, and I consider the anointing that the Lord has poured over me, I am reminded to be patient. God keeps His promises. He strengthens and empowers me by His Spirit. He teaches me perseverance and patience and builds my character, because He has a plan for me to use me for the Glory of His Kingdom. I don’t need to doubt my calling, or question God’s judgement to choose me for such a task. My job is to wait patiently on the Lord, to trust that He will keep His promises to me, and know that He will empower me to do what He is asking of me. As the song so simply states: “Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.”
Lord, help me to trust You. Help me to accept Your partnership, Your authority over me, and Your assignments for me. Let me serve with faithfulness and joy even when I’m hiding in the cave of Adullam so that I don’t get killed. I want to have Your perseverance, Lord. I want to have Your obedience. Help me, Father to be more like Jesus so that I can do what You have anointed me to do. Amen.