But it’s the random, patternless, scattered stars that sprinkle the sky of God’s will. Instead of God wanting David and Saul’s deaths, He wanted their lives. That meant a wilderness experience for David and a continued kingship for Saul. While Saul, a man out of sync with God, was granted time and opportunity to recognize the blessing and mercy of God, God’s will for David appeared much bleaker. The wilderness. A place where purpose was all about others’ success, a place absent of loved ones, where support systems left much to be desired, where provision was limited and the enemy was always lurking.
THIS was God’s will for the man God delighted in, the one God promised to promote, the one who had a deep relationship with God, the one God loved.
Like Saul and David’s men, we think the things that appear to be blessings are the will of God. Surely God doesn’t want us in the wilderness, where others have experienced spiritual deprivation, correction, and discontentment. Where others have failed miserably. Does God really want us in places of refining while those opposed to Him lounge comfortably beneath the shade trees of life? Isn’t the wilderness for those who don’t want the will of God? Those who need to wander aimlessly until someone else can inherit the promise? Surely God does not desire the wilderness for His CHOSEN. This can't be God's idea.
But it is. It is His idea. And if it's God's idea, then it's a big one. Just like hanging stars in limitless space..
God had a great opportunity for His people. But remember how Israel failed to inherit? How they wandered to get rid of the nay-sayers and to provide fresh opportunity to those who WOULD inherit? Remember those fearless moments when Joshua led the people across the river, around the city, and on to victory? It was victory Israel failed to complete, a Big Idea that Israel just couldn't grasp. Joshua died and land was left to conquer. The people grew stagnant, lazy, and fearful, which led them through a host of judges before opening the door for a king. Saul. Another dismal failure who quaked at the sight of Philistines and who focused his attentions on the have-nots rather than the opportunities to ride out in God’s power and conquer the land.
But God had a plan. A redemptive kind of plan. A big idea. And it hinged on David. David WOULD fight the battles. He WOULD conquer the Promised Land for God’s people. ALL of it. His was a big job...with even bigger benefits. His posterity would include a child who crafted the grandest temple for Israel's worship, and even huger, his lineage would bear The Christ Child, "the son of David" who would save the world.
As with the Israelites before him, David's inheritance came with wilderness travel. All Promised Lands do. These are the periods of time that train and develop character, the hardships that teach about the power and thrill of God. In the wilderness, pressure builds passion’s fire until the moment hindrances are removed, purpose is launched.
In this place, often associated with spiritual depravity and discontentment, David chose to draw close to God and to find joy in Him. Among the rebels, David learned to fully surrender to God and to trust Him alone. Separated from loved ones, he found a Friend, Who was closer than a brother. In the middle of lack, he discovered the Shepherd would never leave him in want.
Where others failed miserably, David became a success, gaining favor with God and man. In the wilderness, he gazed at the starry sky and knew the hand of God was mapping out the details of his life as intricately as He had designed the constellations. In the wilderness he gained certainty that God would keep His promise. He would become a part of the beauty of God’s completed plan. God's big idea for him would unfold. The crown would follow the wilderness experience.
The same is true for us. It may appear that God is leading us away from the blessing. It may feel like we are being thrust in the middle of the most unsavory circumstances. What we think SHOULD be God's will, isn't. But if we fix our hopes on God, we can trust that our wilderness is part of the master design. We can rest in peaceful assurance that we will receive God's promise. Indeed, a crown awaits at the end of our wilderness walk. Both now, and eternally, we will experience God's exquisite, star-spangled, supersized, Big Idea.
Tip/Tidbit: David achieved what no other king every knew, the favor of God, the love of his people, victory in conquest, and most of all, a posterity that birthed the Messiah. Do you think David glimpsed these glimmers of joy while he was in the wilderness? Why or why not? What else do you think he felt? As you ponder your own life and its wilderness moments, see how God has already unfolded a work of beauty in your life. What promises are yet to come? What Big Idea could your wilderness walking be leading you to?