"....Then the Lord said "Arise and anoint him; he is the one. So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on, the Spirit of the LORD came upon David in power..." (NIV)
The first time we encounter David, Samuel was anointing him to succeed Saul, even though he (David) was still very young and Saul was still King.
David had a pretty unremarkable life up until that moment - he was the youngest in a family of eight strapping sons, a shephered boy - who spent his days surrounded by sheep on a loney hillside. Nothing ever happened - until he was attacked by both a lion and a bear, and he killed both beasts! The little shepherd boy was now a lion/bear-killer, but who knew? The power of the Lord had been upon him from the time he was anointed but his feats were not celebrated and he continued quietly in his life until he became a member of Saul's household (I Sam 16:21).
Following a series of events, David killed an enemy warrior (Goliath) and also became a giant-killer...finally, he was celebrated as a hero, but it was not to last. Instead, it was the beginning of his troubles:
- I Sam 18:10-11: Saul became extremely jealous of him and tried to kill him twice by throwing a spear at him.
- I Sam 19:1: Saul tried to get his (David's) best friend and Saul's son, Jonathan to kill David.
- I Sam 19:9: Saul tried yet again to kill him by trying to pin him to the wall with a spear.
David managed to successully escape all the attempts on his life and ended up living in a cave with his entire family (I Sam 22:1). However, Saul's jealousy and rage could not be contained; his insecurity and self-pity (I Sam 22:8) led him to extreme violence and he ordered the deaths of an entire family in an effort to get to his ultimate target - David, the shepherd boy.
David must surely have felt grieved by everything he had to endure - yet he refused on numerous occassions to retaliate and kill Saul - his tormentor, the man who had tried to take his life several times, caused him to be driven out of the only home he had ever known and made him a fugitive living in exile.
David survived the several attempts on his life, living in exile for years, the capture of his entire family following a war (I Sam 30), yet the Promise that God had given all those years ago would not be denied.
In 2 Sam 2;4, David was eventually crowned King over Judah - it would take more time (7 years) and more battles before David was also crowned to rule over Israel - and he became King of a united kingdom - fulfilling the Promise.
The fact that David had a Promise over his life did not shield him from trouble - rather, trouble was attracted to him BECAUSE of the Promise!
We all go through challenges - some minor, some major. Some of us may be living in a valley of trouble right now and wondering "Where is God?" Discouragement is a normal reaction in such circumstances, but we cannot dwell there.
We must constantly remind ourselves that there is a WORD over our lives, a Promise that only God can keep..."For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
Sometimes, travelling through the valley of trouble is a necessary journey that we must take in order to to receive the promises of God for our lives.