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November 14, 2007 / Nick

David vs. Jack & The Beanstalk: God’s plan for your spiritual development

Growing up I loved the story of Jack and the beanstalk. As the village idiot Jack didn’t have much going for him, in fact he foolishly trades his cow for some beans. His mother understandably is vexed with his actions. Jack throws his beans away, goes to bed and the next morning he’s got an Empire State sized beanstalk on steroids sized foliage soaring into the heavens. You know the rest of the story: Jack slays a giant, retrieves a golden egg laying goose and lives happily ever after.

Unfortunately, many people are deluded into a fairytale ideal of Christian growth. Yes, we are promised a happy ending and there is a giant we have to slay (many in fact) but that’s where Jack & The Beanstalk and true Christian experience part ways.

Lesson #1 God Doesn’t Promote Fools.

For a true pattern of growth in God, we have to look at David’s life and career. Unlike Jack, David was no fool. Instead of spending his youthful days idly he was constantly worshipping God. One striking thing about the life of David was that he didn’t praise God because of who was around. He had a private relationship with God. It has been said that God really knows us by what we do when others are not around, or “character is who you are in the dark”. God doesn’t promote fools, we only need look at Jesus’ teaching about the investment of the talents to realise that!

Lesson #2 God promotes by installment, not overnight

‘I love buying new things, its paying for them that I hate’ (Jesusblogger, 2007). I think we could all agree with that statement. Thank God for the ability to pay by installments! I personally only ever pay for the most important biggest purchases by installment… it’s never worth paying for something on credit which you are not going to be able to appreciate and enjoy before you’ve finished paying for it. So, tip for the day is: don’t buy food on a credit card! Anyway, back to the subject… Unlike Jack’s beanstalk, God doesn’t promote us overnight. Responsibility is given to us by installments.

Take a look at the progression of David from Sheep-cote to King of Israel: –

ANOINTED OVER HIS BRETHREN: “Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward.” (1 Samuel 16:13)

David is first promoted over his brothers. God is looking for how he treats his family, will he be proud and arrogant? Or is he still willing to run errands, serve his brothers and wash sheep? God’s Spirit is on him, yet he has no crown, no kingdom – just the promise of greatness and the favour of God. If some of us were David we’d have been down to the tailors to get fitted for a crown – “do you know who I am?!”

ANOINTED OVER HIS TRIBE: “And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah…. And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months (1 Samuel 2:4,11)

After years of faithful service, when God has proved He can trust David, He promotes him as King over the tribe of Judah. David remains faithful to God, he does not seek more than God gives him, despite knowing Saul and his lineage are rejected – David remains king of Judah for seven years and six months. I love that scripture records the ‘six months’, we know that ‘seven’ is God’s number for completion and perfection, maybe David thought that after seven years it was His time – but God added an extra six months just to prove Him. Can God trust us not to fail Him if He were to add ‘six months’ extra to our wait?

ANOINTED OVER ALL ISRAEL: “So all the elders of Israel came to the king in Hebron; and king David made a league with them in Hebron before the LORD: and they anointed David king over Israel. David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months; and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah.” (2 Samuel 5:3-5)

The final installment. At age 30 David begins his ministry of King over all Israel. This is the task David was born for. But unlike our friend Jack, David has had to wait for his success. He’s built relationship with God, slain a bear, lion and giant. Served under a demonic leader without striking back. Never assumed a position although he was always God’s man. It amazes me that at every anointing David waited for God to send someone to anoint Him. We do not and can not anoint ourselves, we need for God to send someone to anoint us.

Finally, throw your beans away (whatever plans you had for a quick rise to the top) wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart (Ps 27:14).

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