David was anointed by the prophet Samuel at Bethlehem to be God’s chosen king in Judah. We read (1 Samuel 16) that the Spirit of God rushed upon David and remained with him throughout his reign; the Spirit of God, for the glory of God, and for the good of his people. By virtue of his natural gifts (under God) David may still have achieved greatness; but he could never become king according to God’s design, until he received the anointing of God’s Spirit; the anointing that would define his reign as king, and his life as a man.
Now, remembering David’s experience of the Spirit at work in his life as he described it in Psalm 23 and accepting that his experience of the work of God through his life was, at least in part, a reflection of that, what about us? What is the Holy Spirit’s role in our discipleship in this time and place? Are natural gifts alone ever enough to do the work of Christ in the world? Does our sin, grieving the Spirit, ever put an end to our discipleship?
It helps me to recall that though David’s role and his reward, at least in this life, were diminished by his sin they were also, to a degree, and under God’s hand, shaped by it.
David was, at his anointing, and would remain forever, a sinful man in the hands of a gracious God; he remained a wandering sheep in the care of a faithful Shepherd.
Christians, spirit-filled or living in that fleshy state Paul writes about (1 Cor. 3:3) learn that the Spirit of Jesus, who promised to remain with them and to keep them to the end, still works in them to make them a blessing, to his church and to the world and, like David, they learn that their wanderings find them continually in the care of their Good Shepherd.
David, at his best, was seen and heard to be the saving arm and guiding voice of God for his people, but what will a spirit–filled Christian look like? Well, I suppose that, at his best, he will bear a strong family likeness to his heavenly Father, and so to Christ; but then, like David, no Christian is always at his best.
Anointed disciples of Jesus will learn, as David did, that power for service never rests in their natural gifts alone but always in the Spirit of God who works in and through them (Philippians 2:13). We will learn that ‘apart from him’ we can do nothing (John 15:5). We will learn that it is only by the gifts that Christ himself adds to us at our anointing, only by his own spiritual graces that he works within us, that we may bear the fruit which marks us as his and with which we may serve in the church and in the world for his glory; and we will learn, as David did, that ‘…the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.’ Rom 11:29