When the Lord is raising us up in maturity for leadership and for life, He uses very unconventional methods. And the truth is, identity is the most important skill he teaches in those he has called as shepherds and leaders. King David went through 5 seasons of training that were centered around his identity and I think many of us can relate to some of these seasons, only most of the time we don’t recognize them for what they are. In Mike’s message which can be found HERE, he walks us through 5 prophetic seasons of King David’s life; seasons that God used in order to cultivate an authentic identity in David. God knew that David’s identity was found in not what others thought of him but in the fact that he was loved by God. And God chose David and anointed him because he knew how to encounter God in the midst of a boring and mundane life (aka sitting out in a field all day watching sheep). God knew David was grounded enough in His heart to be able to handle life as a king and still commune and place intimacy with God as priority before his role as ruler and leader.
So what does God do? He promotes David. He promotes him when he is still a teenager, in fact. Then he takes David’s promotion away and drives him into the wilderness where he runs for his life for seven years. And yet again God tests him in Hebron and finds that David is still ONLY seeking God’s heart and not to impress men. David could have become king of all twelve tribes right away but instead, after hearing the counsel of the Lord, he chose only one tiny tribe in the desert when he could have taken all 12. Over and over again God promotes and takes away in order to strengthen David’s identity. That is why David is known as the man who is after God’s heart. He wasn’t after promotion or prestige, He simply cared about gazing on the beauty of God.
This is how we know what true authority looks like. This is how we know when God has placed someone in authority. It certainly wasn’t men that placed David as King. When men are seeking success, promotion, control, prestige and power, they will inevitably fall and they do not hold true authority from God. God is always looking at the heart and where it is in relation to Him and how willing they are to come into alignment with Him in intimacy and how grounded their identity is in God’s thoughts and feelings toward them.