These were the words of a very successful Rodeo coach that I heard repeated over and over at a Rodeo School where he was instructing. From a kid setting his bareback riggin’ to a bull rider having his rope pulled, Coach Cross continually reminded them to “trust the process”. He has had great success with that philosophy. Knowing that success will arrive at the end of it, the process was all the steps between now and then.
What is “the process” that God has for making men?
David’s anointing in 1 Samuel 16 boils down what it is that God is looking for in us. But to really see what God desires from us, it helps to go back a few chapters, to the anointing of his Royal predecessor.
Saul was a man’s man. He had a famous and well known father, “man of standing”. (1 Sam. 9.1) He himself was an “impressive” man, tall (tall people are always important), and without match in Israel (1 Sam. 9.2). He was from the smallest tribe and the least-est clan (1 Sam. 9.21) but Benjamin’s importance was not reflected in its size. This tribe would stand with Judah to comprise the Southern Kingdom. They weren’t slouches.
It was because of all of this that Samuel anointed him with oil. (1 Samuel 10.1)
Priests were anointed. Those set apart for the Lord’s work were anointed. Saul knew what was happening. He would lead the people of Israel.
But before Saul left, Samuel had to give him some instructions and God had to do some work. The instructions Samuel gave told him (Saul) to go to Gilgal and wait 7 days, until he, Samuel (and he couldn’t stress that enough), could arrive and sacrifice for the new King. (1 Samuel 10.8) God’s work involved “changing Saul’s heart”. (1 Samuel 10.9) Did Saul not trust Samuel and what he had told him? Did Saul need convincing of God’s faithfulness? Did Saul need some pressing to be King? Regardless of the reason, Saul’s heart was a problem from the get go.
This chapter of Saul’s life would come to an end in chapter 13 of 1 Samuel. In Gilgal, Saul waited seven days but Samuel tarried. Saul grew impatient and, taking matters into his own and hands in his own time, offered Burnt Offerings on his own behalf just as Samuel arrived. (1 Samuel 13.8-13)
Samuel’s last words about this event would show the things God is looking for in a man. Samuel said, “…the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.” (1 Sam 13.14b)
God is looking for: 1) a heart that follows Him, and 2) a person who waits for Him.
David fits both of these too a T. He didn’t have the resume Saul did, nor the stature. He wasn’t from a successful or important family. Just to prepare Samuel for his first meeting with David, God had to remind him of a truth: “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16.7) Just a reminder that the way God works is often different from the way man does (2 Cor. 10.3 and nearly ever Old Testament Battle).
So Samuel after a Brady Bunch moment, finally stands before David, the youngest son of Jesse. He was a good looking boy (1 Sam. 16.12), but he was just that, a “boy”. But he was God’s “boy” who would soon enter God’s “process of manhood” so that he could someday become God’s “King”.
The process of manhood, involved cultivating a heart after God and a person willing to wait for Him. David’s heart would be molded while in caves avoiding dogs and open pastures surrounded by sheep; in army camps among his most loyal followers and encamped with his enemies as he faked insanity; while his eyes gazed at the stars passing overhead and composing Psalm 19 (“The heavens declare the glory of God”); but also as his tears fell in repentance as he composed Psalm 51 (“Create in me a pure heart, O God…). God was after David’s heart. A “broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51.17)
The process of manhood that God took David on was also one of waiting.
Saul couldn’t wait 7 days, but David lasted 20 some-odd years. David finally realizes the effects of the anointing, 20 chapters after the fact. In 2 Samuel 5.4, David finally becomes King over Israel. There had to have been times while on the run, while famished, while resting, while fatigued, while Saul was trying to kill him, while his enemies tried to kill him, while bedding down in a cave, or on a mountain, or in a creek bed, that David thought back to that day of the anointing and wondered if it would ever materialize. David knew the type of people who were anointed: kings, prophets, priests…him. Now he was a outlaw. “When?” is a valid question. Where as Saul couldn’t wait a week, David was asked to wait 20 years.
There have been times when my hardened heart will not receive God’s commands. There have been times when my heart would not follow. Resisting the process.
There have been times when I moved when God had asked me to stay. There have been even more times when I would not wait for the things God was to give me and tried to take them by force. Resisting the process.
How are you doing with the process? Is your heart growing in response to his leading? Are you allowing God to shape and mold it? Are you out running His timing by trying to take control of the speed and pace of your own life? You want something so bad, knowing that God has promised it, but are unwilling to let Him make it happen?
Resisting the process.