Because of David’s many mighty acts and the legacy he left, it is easy to forget that for a dozen or more years he lived as a fugitive and spent many hours of discouragement and disillusionment in the wilderness. He was a broken, humbled man during those days as a fugitive. He learned much from those crushing years, but little good would come from his reliving the pain they brought into his life.
Finally, though, he becomes king, the second king of Israel, chosen and anointed by God Himself. How did he take the throne? Did he storm into the role and demand everyone to submit to his rule? No. David was a sensitive man. He had learned how to lead and how to rally others around him in the afflictions of his yesterday . . . especially while he was a cave dweller.
Often we’re better at handling affliction than we are at handling promotions. As Thomas Carlyle, the Scottish essayist and historian, said, “But for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred that will stand adversity.” But David was a man faced with success. His predecessor was dead, by his own hand. If there was ever a chance for a person to take life by his own two fists and demand a following, it was now. But he didn’t.
David remembered when Samuel anointed him and whispered, “You will be the next king.” He remembered that from many years earlier when he was only a teenager, so he asked, “Lord, shall I go up to one of the cities?” He really wanted to know, “Is it time now, Lord?” He didn’t rush to the throne and take charge. He waited patiently on God for further instruction. And God revealed His plan to him. He said, in effect, “Begin your reign in Hebron.”
In those days the Lord spoke audibly to His servants. Today He speaks from His Word. You might be in a situation where you are wondering, “God has opened the door, and I’m about to walk through it. But is that what I should do?” Our tendency is to race in when there is some benefit that will come our way. Sometimes it’s best to begin very quietly, to pace our first steps with great care.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.