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 Samuel 16:13 NKJV
Samuel anointed David king, way cool huh? What happened next? David got to have Saul try to kill him, not once, nor twice, but many times, chasing David into and through the wilderness for years, even killing those who tried to help him. So what did David do wrong? NOTHING, not a single thing. But wait a minute you say, if he did nothing wrong, why did God punish him by allowing such vicious persecution? Simply put, it wasn’t punishment, but preparation. God allowed, even caused David to be persecuted so that He could try and teach David, preparing him to lead His chosen people, becoming their greatest king, one whose throne would be everlasting, of whom Paul would say:
And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’ Acts 13:22 NKJV
It was the trials in the wilderness that prepared David to rule and reign, serving God faithfully all his days.
What about Esther? Orphaned, and raised by her uncle, only to be kidnapped and forced to join the harem of the king, knowing only that she would never leave there alive. How could God permit this innocent, godly woman to undergo such a horrible fate? Why would he subject her to such a fate? Once again we see God preparing and positioning His chosen instrument to step into their destiny. Her destiny? To save her people, as Mordecai said:
“…Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:15 NKJV
God placed her into that harem, preparing her with twelve months of bathing in precious oils and perfume, and granting her wisdom to learn how to find favor with the king. Why? So that she would be in the place where she could save her people at their moment of greatest peril. She was born, chosen and positioned for such a time. I could choose others as well, Job, Moses, Jacob who after a long wrestling match, received a new name from God, no longer known as Jacob, “The schemer”, but as Israel, “God Prevails,” Let us not forget Paul, Peter, John, etc., but most of all let us not forget Jesus.
Yes that’s right, even Jesus had to face tests and trials before He could step into His destiny. His first test was one of simple obedience:
Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.
Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:46–5
Clearly, even at age twelve, Jesus knew his calling and destiny. Maybe not all of it, but certainly enough that He replied to His parents, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” So He returned with them and remained obedient (subject) to them for eighteen more years. Finally at age thirty, Jesus is at last launching into the ministry He was born to, one He has awaited for many long years, working beside His father, studying, preparing, and obeying His parents in all things. Jesus comes to the Jordan, and there is His cousin John preaching and baptizing the people. Jesus comes forward and John baptizes Him, and a dove is seen descending from heaven to rest upon Jesus. Then a voice thunders from the heavens:
“… This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17 NKJV
Wow! What a high! This was a significant statement. When a young man came of age, his father would take him into the town square and make this announcement from the platform before all present. In essence, he was saying this is my son, when he speaks he speaks with my voice and when he acts, it is on my behalf. On top of that, imagine, physically hearing God, Creator Of The Universe calling you beloved, and saying He is well pleased in you! I don’t know about you, but I would have been charging into my ministry, “Look out world here comes God’s anointed!”
But that’s not quite the plan the Father had in mind. The very next sentence tells us that Jesus was led or driven into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Did Jesus do something wrong to have to face this trial? No, the Word makes clear that He was filled with and led by the Spirit into the wilderness in order to be tempted by the devil. So then why did He have to face the trial? It was too prepare him for what was to come. It was, in part at least, the reason Jesus was able to say in the garden of satan “…he has nothing in Me.” In the wilderness, Jesus learned to lean completely upon the Father, and His Words, resisting every sort of temptation.
Oh by the way, in the Amplified Bible, the Word also tells us that while in the wilderness Jesus was continuously tempted by the devil. Not just at the end of His fast, the whole time. How did He resist? We have a clue in the verses at the end of the passage. Jesus resisted with the Word, He did not try to stand on His own, but fell back into the shadow of the Father’s Wings, allowing the Living Word to fight the battle for Him.
Now if even Jesus had to be tried and tested, why are we surprised when we are as well? We will face trials, guaranteed, but we can do so with the confident expectation that as we walk in the midst of them, they will do a good work in us. We will be tested, but we can also be confident that we will never be tested beyond our ability to endure, and that God will use those trials to refine us and form us into the image of our Lord.