December 30, 2009

seeing isn't believing

Listening to Danny Franks on Sunday convicted me/reminded me that while it's easy enough for me to open up scripture and read (or sometimes skim - yikes.), I need to study and meditate on God's word - and one good way to do this is by reflecting and writing.

I can get in a streak of writing in my journal for a while, then I just get lazy/"busy"/forgetful. It's when I write about my readings that, as Danny said, the text really comes to life. God reveals so much to me when I'm spending time unpacking and digesting His word. I not only can gain understanding, but insight - and discover how I can actually apply what I'm reading to daily life. I can see God most at work in me when I'm investing and soaking rather than skimming.

I write all of this to encourage anyone reading to do the same, and to preface this post.

So I read 1 Samuel 17 this morning, which is the story of David and Goliath.

It's funny sometimes reading these stories in the Old Testament - even though I know the outcome, I still get a little bit captivated and nervous for David.

So, as a little bit of background (and paraphrasing) . . . the scene is this:

The Israelites and Philistines are about to have it out. Each army is on one side of this valley, and they're waiting to see who's gonna make the first move.

So then, this over-9-feet-tall gargantuan dude, covered in armour, well-fitted with weapons comes storming out of the Philistine camp with a giant smirk across his face. He's all like - Aight. I gotta deal for you fellas (well, he was a little more insulting than that). If one of you little Israelites is bold enough, come step up to this pretty line and fight me - mano-e-mano. If you can kill me, we'll all become your servants. But if I win, then you will become our subjects and serve us. Now . . . who want it?!!

And of course, what is the Israelites response?

On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
[1 Samuel 17:11]

Can you see their hopelessness and fear? How it must've gripped them - and I'm sure they felt doomed to fail. They looked around at their army, their resources and then compared it to that of the Philistine's.

But this went on for 40 days. So every day, this giant was prancing out before the Israelites, taunting them with his size - daring someone to step forth.

Again - despair, fear, hopelessness must've paralyzed Saul and his army.

Well, God has a funny way of using the most unlikely people to do His work and display His love and glory.

So this random kid (and he's actually been anointed to be king, but Saul doesn't know that yet), David, comes traipsing up to the camp to check on his older brothers and get a report on how this whole war thing is panning out.

And he sees this punk Goliath, defying the Lord, shouting at and mocking the Israelites. Somehow, he gets the idea that he's gonna take this dude down.

So . . . he proposes the idea to Saul, and Saul's like - no way man. You haven't even hit puberty. But David's like - hear me out! I watch over my dad's flock, and one time, a lion snatched up a sheep . . . so I marched over there and took it out of his mouth. When he turned on me, I killed the lion. And it happened with a bear too. So if God delivered me from a lion and a bear, surely he'll deliver me from this giant.

So Saul's like - fine, have at it.

So, Goliath takes a good hard look at David and laughs to himself . . . and continues to taunt and curse him.

"Come here," he said, "and I'll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!"

David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands."
[1 Samuel 17:44-47]

And we all know how the story ends - David, wearing no armor and carrying nothing but a slingshot, launches one stone into Goliath's dome and it's over.

I'd like to point out a few things about David and what we can learn from this. David didn't see as the other Israelites in the army did. He wasn't crippled by fear, and he didn't limit God's ability to work by his ability to see. (the abilities and resources he saw before him). He saw this battle as Almighty God versus a human Philistine, not tiny David versus the all-around champion and giant Goliath.

Once he saw this battle as the Creator of the universe versus a creation, it was clear who was going to come out on top.

He had amazing faith. He stood very firm and confident that God was not only going to deliver this Philistine into their hands, but the entire Philistine army. It was obvious to everyone that David didn't stand a fighting chance against this dude. However, David wasn't relying on himself or his resources (I mean, he didn't even have any) at all. He was relying fully on the Lord.

So David . . .

-recognized that this was God's battle, not his. He fully trusted and relied on God to do everything. He saw that God was much bigger than Goliath, an army, or any form of weapon.
-didn't rely on what he could see (his circumstances), his abilities, resources or strengths.
-was completely fueled (and very firm) by faith, not fear or pride.
-was at rest, fully confident in what God was going to do.
-went into this for the Lord's fame and glory, not his own.

What if we all had faith like David's? What if we had the same trust, ability to rest and stand firm with confidence in all areas of our lives?

What if we quit freaking out because of the horrible scenarios we picture in our minds when we think about the future? What if we quit worrying about the future based on our limited viewpoint, current resources and circumstances?

What if we trusted that God was going to win the battle in our lives, whatever it may be? (our doubts, lack of faith, future plans, personal flaws, baggage, wounds, heartaches, desires, hopes, dreams, fears, struggles, shortcomings)? That it's ultimately His war, not our own. Knowing that He is going to take care of us, just as he took care of David and the Israelites.

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