Effective Strategies for Spiritual Warfare - Bob Sawvelle - knight with armor

Last week, we began to examine the promotion of King David. In his journey of discovering his destiny and purpose, he received new anointings, new weapons for war, new levels of authority, and new breakthroughs.

David was discovering his destiny and transitioning to his future, but he didn’t fully comprehend what that would be or look like. He had to trust God through the changes and embrace his future while letting go of the past. The same is true for you and I. Your destiny is discovered through uncertainty and change. Embracing God’s purpose for your life sets you on a trajectory of transformation and discovery.

New Anointings

As I briefly shared last week, David was anointed three times in his life. Each anointing empowered him and elevated him to new levels of authority and responsibility.

First Anointing

God sent the prophet Samuel to anoint the next king of Israel—a young teenage shepherd boy named David, who was about 15 years of age. Jesse brought all his sons, except David, before the prophet Samuel. But the Lord told Samuel none of these were to be the next king. Samuel asks Jesse if he has any other sons, and he then called for young David.

So Jesse sent for him. He was dark and handsome, with beautiful eyes. And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.” So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the flask of olive oil he had brought and anointed David with the oil. And the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David from that day on. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.(1 Sam 16:12-13 NLT)

In terms of NT grace, we could liken what happened to David as a born-again experience.

Suddenly David, the youngest and apparently least respected of Jesse’s sons, was promoted by God to be the next king. Some scholars believe that David was an illegitimate son of Jesse, for David declared in the Psalms,

Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5 NKJV).

David was most likely looked down upon by his father and his brothers. He probably felt like an unwanted step-child. Additionally, if he was born illegitimately, he carried shame and low self-esteem. But you see, this wasn’t David’s true identity. God, who knows the end from the beginning, knows the days prepared for us before we ever lived one on earth (See Psalm 139).

Often, those who are marginalized and considered the least are best positioned to rule with God. Humility precedes honor; it is a tree of life.

Little did David know that after he was anointed by Samuel, he would spend the next several years in the wilderness hiding from Saul. He had a new identity and he was beginning to discover his true purpose. God was preparing him to be the next king of Israel, and in the process was removing the shame, low self-esteem and false identity of his past.

I shared last week how each of us is God’s masterpiece through Christ,

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Eph. 2:10NLT

Ephesian 2:10 speaks to our new identity and new creation reality as followers of Christ. We are God’s masterpiece, his crowning jewel of creation. To say that God values us is an understatement. This verse invites us to live out of divine initiative with the Holy Spirit to realize the fullness of our potential.

Consider this: as a born-again believer in Jesus, you are made alive in Christ and are God’s masterpiece, created anew in Jesus for good works. Masterpiece in Ephesians 2:10 comes from the Greek word poiēma, from which the English word “poem” is derived. It is used only twice in all of Scripture: once in Eph. 2:10 and once in Rom. 1:20.

Understand that nothing in your life can take the place of knowing your purpose.

Like David, each of us is given a unique assignment and purpose, and God gives us the opportunity to fulfill it in the style, creativity, and poetic form that he has woven into our being. Our identity and purpose woven into our being by God transcends the negative externals that we can experience in this world. David’s first anointing marked him to be the next king of Israel—your anointing, or born-again experience, places you in God’s family and empowers you to be a king and priest now with God and other believers in his authority (See 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6).

Second Anointing

Saul is dead, David is now anointed king over Judah, at age 23 by the elders of Judah.

David asked the Lord, “Should I go to any of the cities of Judah?” God said, “Yes, go to Hebron.” So, David went there with his family and his men. “Then the people of Judah came to Hebron and anointed David king over the house of Judah.” (2 Sam 2:4 CEB)

Third Anointing

Seven years later, at age 30, David is anointed king over all of the tribes and he reigns for 40 years.

So all the Israelite elders came to the king at Hebron. King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel. David was 30 years old when he became king, and he ruled for forty years. (2 Sam 5:3-4 CEB)

What is the anointing?

In the OT, priests were anointed for ministry, kings for rulership, and prophets (at times) were anointed to declare truth and revelation. The anointing also causes an empowerment and enlargement for the one (ones) who are anointed. The prophet Isaiah gives us a clue:

…the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.” Isa. 10:27 NKJV

And it shall be in that day that the burden of [the Assyrian] shall depart from your shoulders, and his yoke from your neck. The yoke shall be destroyed because of fatness [which prevents it from going around your neck]. (Isa. 10:27 AMPC)

The word anointing, from the Hebrew mashach, means to smear, to rub with oil (anointing oil leaves a residue, a fragrance). Mashach also means to enlarge.

The anointing then is both the presence and power of God. It is the power that created the universe, created man and the power that raised Jesus from the dead. The anointing will cause an enlargement and even break the yoke of oppression by the enemy.

Peter declared in Acts 10:38, that Jesus was anointed with Holy Spirit and with power. The Holy Spirit is the anointing, and his presence and power are the result.

The anointing caused David to grow, and the anointing will cause us to grow so that every confining weight falls from us. The anointing, mashach, empowers us to operate beyond human ability. We begin to operate from divine initiative.

The Psalmist declared of the anointing and its associated power,

but my strength you have exalted like a wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil.” (Psalm 92:10 NKJV)

The anointing isn’t for special people, but for all who hunger for more of God.

When you confessed your faith in Christ and decided to follow him, you became born again and adopted into God’s family. You were placed by the Holy Spirit into God’s family, the body of Christ, the Church universal throughout ages. The Holy Spirit took up residence within you. You have the Holy Spirit, but there are subsequent anointings by the Spirit for empowerment and ministry.

Peter and the disciples discovered this on the Day of Pentecost. After the resurrection, Jesus breathed the Spirit upon them in John 20:22 CEB “…Receive the Holy Spirit…”, but now they were filled at Pentecost with the Spirit and with power.

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them to speak.”Acts 2:4 CEB

But Later, in Acts 4, we see the same group receive another anointing, or infilling of the Holy Spirit.

After they prayed, the place where they were gathered was shaken. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking God’s word with confidence.” (Acts 4:31 CEB)

Jesus spoke of God’s desire to pour his anointing, his Spirit, upon those who ask him,

If you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”Luke 11:13 CEB

How much more, what a daring question! We are promised by Jesus to receive the “more” of the Holy Spirit’s presence and anointing by asking. David and Peter were ordinary men, who desired more from God, and their lives and the lives of many others through history testify to the Lord’s faithfulness to answer the cry of his people.

God uses the emptiness that we feel to draw us into a deeper experience with him. When we are full, we don’t hunger for more. But when we are empty, we want more. Hunger often precedes presence.

Our lack becomes God’s tool to draw us closer to encounter him. This is where the anointing deepens and grows upon our lives, when we become painfully aware of how empty we are.

His power is released through our weakness and dependence upon him—a beautiful mystery—it’s called grace! If we try and “earn” his presence, or use of the gifts, it’s now human effort and religion.

New Weapons for War

After David was anointed by Samuel, he soon faced Goliath willingly. God’s Spirit upon David gave him courage and boldness to go against a giant to expand God’s kingdom.

Then Saul dressed David in his own gear, putting a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David strapped his sword on over the armor, but he couldn’t walk around well because he’d never tried it before. “I can’t walk in this,” David told Saul, “because I’ve never tried it before.” So he took them off.(1 Sam. 17:38-39 CEB)

David couldn’t use Saul’s armor. Saul represented an old order, a different season. David chose not to use the armor of the last season but to develop his own, which would take down the giants in his path.

You must use the gifting that God has given you. You are the only you, don’t try and be someone else, copy their style, or function as they do. Just be you!

We must be a people who know how to operate in the power of the Spirit with the gifts and anointing that God has given each of us.

Learn to recognize what God is doing, how the Holy Spirit is communicating to you. Learning the language of the Spirit is vital to you. Learning how to wait in his presence, not just to petition God, but to wait on the Lord to hear and see what he is revealing. Learn how to operate in this new anointing and authority. (See 1 Cor. 12:4-11; Rom. 3-8; Eph. 4:11-13.)

With the first anointing David received, he immediately began to grow into a warrior. He defeats Goliath and defeats the Philistines in battle. David’s exploits give him a reputation, but David is still in the process of being trained to be the next king.

New Levels of Authority

The anointing will bring you into new realms of authority, which will be challenged.

After David was anointed to be king over all of Israel, he goes with his army to retake Jerusalem, which had been occupied by the Jebusites since the time of Joshua (Jos. 15:63). Jerusalem was on the border of the northern tribes of Israel and the tribe of Judah. By retaking Jerusalem, David exercised the new authority God gave him. The result, Israel—under David’s leadership—was united!

Next, the Philistines confront David after they heard he had been made king over all of Israel.

So, David inquired of the Lord, “Will you defeat them by my hand?” And God said, “Yes, I will deliver them into your hand!” And David defeats them. (2 Sam. 5:19-20)

We see in David the result of God’s anointing and authority. David was functioning as a prototype of a New Testament believer, with Holy Spirit and authority of Jesus.

God invites us to embrace new levels of his authority in our lives. Paul wrote in Romans 12:3 that each of us is given a “measure (Greek: metron) of faith.” A sphere or measure of faith and authority that will increase with new assignments and new seasons.

The ministry, motivational, and spiritual gifts God has placed in and upon you may change with the seasons of your life. There may be an increase of “measure” with some, while others may decrease in order for others to take a more prominent role as you mature and are brought into new assignments.

With each anointing that David received, there were greater giants and challenges to face. The fresh anointing brought about a greater authority.

The Lord is bringing us into a sphere of authority where we decree his righteous purposes on earth.  Where we have his power and authority to break the chains of darkness that holds others captive. Where we are able to remove the strongholds in our minds, our paths, and every power of the enemy that would hinder our progress. Where we are able to help others remove those same strongholds and help them find freedom through Christ!

New Breakthroughs

When David defeated Goliath, a breakthrough was achieved for Israel that day.

The soldiers from Israel and Judah jumped up with a shout and chased the Philistines all the way to Gath and the gates of Ekron. The dead Philistines were littered along the Shaarim road all the way to Gath and Ekron.”(1 Sam 17:52 CEB)

David’s defeat of Goliath brought both an individual and corporate breakthrough. The breakthrough released a “shout,” and courage to defeat the enemy. It’s a shout of victory, but also a shout or sound before they advance on the Philistines, on their enemy.

The Lord told David many years later, after he was anointed king over all of Israel and the Philistines came against him and his army,

As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the trees, then attack, for God has attacked in front of you to defeat the Philistine army.”(2 Sam 5:24 CEB)

New breakthroughs release new sounds. Every new season and every movement is preceded by a new sound. We sing before we advance. New songs break old cycles. Sound goes before and creates movement. Often new songs confirm or help establish a new movement, even theology.

In Exodus we read of a sound released by God’s people for deliverance,

Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. (Exod. 2:23 NKJV)

God heard their cry, the sound of future deliverance and breakthrough, and delivered them!

Paul writes that there is an inner “groan” by the Holy Spirit through the life of the believer that makes intercession from God to God,

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Rom. 8:26 NKJV)

It’s time for God’s people to release a sound again! A cry of deliverance, but a cry of declaration of unity and hope over our nation!

blessed are the people who know the joyful sound …” (Psalm 89:15 NKJV)

David’s breakthrough released a corporate breakthrough—will you be God’s champion today?!


For a greater look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message: “Destiny Discovered, Part 4

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Bob Sawvelle

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