*This devotional is from the evening devotionals that were used by Nathan Brown and Eric Anderson with the Work & Witness Team in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico in March.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus also said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
The first is the fun part of being a Christ-follower. The second is the not-so-fun part of being a Christ-follower. But it is the inevitable rewarding part of walking with Jesus.
David went through the process that Jesus described. You and I will, too. Like David, we must allow Jesus to break us down so he can build us up, that is, to build us into the kind of people He desires us to be. Going through that process means He will strip us of every misplaced dependency.
You see, the good things in life can be a barrier to the great things God has for us. So God removes them.
Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from God’s mouth.”
In David’s case, it took ten years of tearing down as one-by-one all of the good things he’d once relied on got stripped away. Over the course of several chapters in 1 Samuel, God stripped David of just about everything.
So David, expecting to be king with a kingdom ends up with no position, no people, no pastor, no partner, no pride—and no prospect that it would ever be different— he was stripped of every dependency.
For David, it was the most frustrating period in his life—but in hindsight, it turned out to be the most fruitful. That is because the place of testing and tearing down is also the place of forging and rebuilding. As an unknown poet said, it is the place where you are, “pressed into knowing no helper but God.”
Pressed into knowing no helper but God—that’s what happened to David. Through the discipline of that difficult season in his life, God was instructing David that God was his true source, and that was the one thing David would need to be a great king.
God is teaching us how to “king it” too! It’s not always fun…but it is incredibly fruitful. And though we wouldn’t choose it for ourselves, thank God he tears us down to build us up!