The 23rd chapter of 1 Samuel provides a practical guide to some of the processes God uses to shape “the person after His heart”. What I so often fail to realize is that life as I know it is not about me “getting what I want out of God”; it’s about God transforming me into who he wants me to be. As I look at my life God uses two primary tools to accomplish this in my life the first of which we looked at this morning adversity. Most often this adversity is seen in situations or circumstances that go against us. Such was the case at the city of Keilah when the Lord used a city to “carve and toss away” parts of David’s life preparing him for the throne. Ah but there is another useful tool God uses to further transform us and the use of this tool is much more difficult for me to appreciate, “PEOPLE”. Geographically David and his 600 men retreat into the desert hill country of Judah between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. The area where David seeks refuge is called the “Wilderness of Ziph” and as we shall see that those who make this area their home are called “Ziphites”. The word means refining, thus this area would be the “wilderness of refining”. I don’t know about you, but I always find when the Lord is refining me I seem to be in a wilderness. Furthermore, according to verse 19 that would make those that dwelt there the “refiners”. What fascinates is that these refiners were not strangers but rather family as they were from the tribe of Judah. It has been well observed that we can always determine what kind of servant we are not by what we do for the Lord but rather by how we act when someone treats us like one! People can be abrasive can’t they? Why they tend to “grit” on us rubbing us the wrong way. Oh, but don’t miss this saint, have you ever considered the possibility that the Lord has sent them to sand off some of your rough spots? Could it be that the Lord may be using the misbehavior of others to further shape you into His image? Jonathan, Saul’s son and David’s friend coming to him in verse 16 informs us of God’s plan to, “strengthen his hand in God.” God brings refinement our way to strip away those things that we have held onto that have lessened our hand in God! They don’t necessarily have to be sinful or bad things, why they can be wonderful things that we have held onto, but they were never designed to be that which is strong enough to support us. We tend to grab as many of these things as we can and with our hands full of them there is not enough room in our grasp’s for the One thing that can support our lives, God! So periodically the Lord sends us out into the wilderness of refinement to “strengthen our hand in Him”!
This has been Pastor Dale, Blessings!