This message deals with the seasons of your life, especially in ministry. If you are in a season of wilderness, or haven’t had your season in ministry yet, this message is for you.
Was for King for 42 years, but he was disobedient and lost God’s anointing after 27 years. His season was over when the Lord told Samuel to anoint David as King in Saul’s place.
- David is anointed king in Saul’s place in 1025 BC at age 15 years old. Saul is now 57 years old. David then goes back to the being a shepherd and keeps sheep.
- That same year, David kills Goliath when he is about 15 years old
iii. He marries Saul’s daughter and serves in Saul’s army for 7 years when Saul comes to hate him for becoming so popular and tries to kill him twice.
iii. David is hunted by Saul for 8 years and must stay on the run until Saul dies in 1010 BC
- He becomes King and serves God, but when he has the affair with Bathsheba and kills Uriah, a new season begins, and not a good one. There are horrible consequences for his family – rape and death being among the things that happen to his children.
Elijah – 8 years
It took some doing for Elijah to be recognized and respected as God’s prophet in Israel. At the beginning of his prophetic ministry, it was necessary for him to hide out by the brook Cherith, and then at the home of a Gentile widow and her son who lived in the Sidonian town of Zarephath (1 Kings 17). At the end of his ministry, Elijah was able to travel freely about Israel, without fear of being bothered by wicked men. After all, the nation not only knew that he had called down fire on Mount Carmel, but that he had called down fire upon two groups of soldiers who had been sent to arrest him (2 Kings 1:9-12).
Elisha – 56 years
We know next to nothing about Elisha’s early life until sometime around the year 856 BC, when he was probably in his twenties. He appears to have come from a wealthy land owning family, if the number of oxen they had for ploughing is anything to go by (1 Kings 19:19). When the prophet Elijah arrived suddenly his response to his call was immediate. Elijah made it clear that it was up to him whether or not he responded to God’s call when Elisha asked permission to say farewell to his parents. To demonstrate his determination to follow Elisha dramatically severed his links to his past life by slaughtering the pair of oxen he was ploughing with and cooked their meat over the wood of his plough and gave it to his friends and relatives. Scripture tells us that he then left and became Elijah’s attendant or servant in similar way, perhaps, to that in which Joshua had served Moses (cf. Exod. 24:13; 33:11; Num. 11:28).
We hear nothing more of Elisha for at least the next four years, but we can assume that he faithfully served Elijah during that period and learned from him. Knowing that the Lord was about to take him Elijah tested his servant’s devotion by asking him three times to remain while he went on in turn to Bethel (2 Kings 2:2), Jericho (2:4) and then over the Jordan (2:6).
By the time of Moses, the Israelites were workers. Because of the drought, over the centuries, they had sold themselves to Egypt as slaves so they wouldn’t starve to death. Egypt provided food, and they worked to build the pyramids. All they knew was working and drinking beer. God had been silent for about 400 years (the time of Joseph) when God heard the Israelites’ cries and selected Moses as the deliverer.
But when Pharoah finally said the Israelites could leave Egypt, and after the Egyptian army was drowned and the Israelites were on the other side headed toward the promised land, instead of taking the direct route which would take 4 days, it took 40 years. Why? Because the promised land was owned by other nations. They would have to be warriors who would have to not only fight for the promised land, but also to keep it. These were slaves, servants, manual laborers who had no idea how to fight. If they had gone directly into the promised land, they would have been slaughtered.
So they started learning how to fight against the other nations in the desert. They learned about war and being soldiers, leaders rose up, different people discovered their skills and talents.They learned how to defend and protect themselves, God’s way.
In addition, they had to take the long way around because they didn’t know and trust God. They didn’t have a relationship with them, they didn’t know what He wanted from them. They didn’t know how to listen to and obey Him yet, something they would need if they were to get from where they were to where they needed to go. All of these things would take time to happen, a time of preparation to learn what they needed to complete God’s mission for them.
After Paul was converted, it was 12 years before he went on his first missionary journey, 14 years before he attended his first council with the elders, and 18 years before he wrote his first Epistle. He started learning about Christ and getting to know him, preaching in small areas like Tarsus and Antioch.
He didn’t start His ministry until He was about 30, and it only lasted for 3 years. God led Him into the desert to be tempted by the enemy so he would be prepared for what was to come.
A season in the wilderness, in the desert, will either be a season of preparation or a season of misery. How we handle those years of preparation before we are given responsibility and privilege will determine how long we will remain in the wilderness.
When Ronnie and I left our home church, we were very church hurt from Ronnie being let go without anyone ever talking to him about it, and me being promised for years that if I just did whatever I was asked, I would get to head up adult education – only to find out that someone else had taken it over without anyone telling me about it. We went from the late service to the early service and then just stopped altogether. We never spoke against the leadership because we never wanted to be the cause of a church split and or anyone else taking offense against leadership because of anything we might say.
We could have gone to another church or stayed involved in a ministry, but we didn’t. We got more and more isolated as we became more and more depressed. For 8 years we were in the wilderness, and we did not handle it well. We could have been studying and praying and ministering to people and serving in another ministry – but we didn’t. We licked our wounds, until our marriage fell apart and we almost divorced.
Now, God did not cause us to not serve Him during this time period. What He did do is allow us to be put in a situation that showed us what was really inside of us, and let it come to the surface where we would have the opportunity to take notice of it. Even there, we didn’t handle that well. We paid no notice and just dug our wounded heels in even further.
But when we finally faced up to our problems, individually and as a couple, and returned to Him and rebuilt our faith and our lives, He took everything we had been through and promised to use it for our good and His Kingdom. For the first time, we understood why people don’t like to go to church. We understood being church hurt. We understood not being able to feel at home at any church. We understood what it was like to fall so far, and yet be the recipients of God’s unending forgiveness and amazing grace to restore us.
We are very different people than we were in the last 90’s. We had to face and defeat a lot of personal demons that would be in our way if we were to fulfill God’s call for us in our next season. But it was always up to us if we would be open to let Him search us and see if there was any wicked way in us and then DO something about what He showed us that was in us. Luckily, we found Celebrate Recovery and have found a lot of healing in the past 6 years.
I’ve talked about Oswald Chambers, who died suddenly in his 40s, not doing anything of wide acclaim, but serving as a chaplain in the army. He had created a bible college for several years, but that season passed. You would think that Oswald’s season had come and gone without much to show for it, but his wife, Biddy, took all of his writings and wrote My Utmost For His Highest, one of the most internationally renowned Christian books of all time. He never saw the results of his season is basic obscurity, but God took Oswald’s faithfulness to do whatever God told him to do and transformed it into a tool to reach millions of people after his death.