Monday, October 27, 2008

1 Samuel 17

Today’s passage is one of the most famous stories in the Bible. The story of David and Goliath is known by almost everyone. Even non-Christians are familiar with the underdog story. It is a story that shows the faith of David even as a very young man as well as how the power of God can accomplish anything. David was facing overwhelming odds, yet his faith never waivered. At a time when even the king of Israel was afraid and faced a hopeless situation, God used the faith of a boy to topple a champion.

It looked impossible too. Goliath was a giant of a man. He was experienced in fighting for more years than David had been alive. That gave him a deadly combination of size, strength, and experience. David, however, had the advantage by knowing he had God on his side. As we read the story in 1 Samuel 17, we see how David was mocked, yet he never let go of his faith. Even as he prepared to fight, those around him couldn’t get around their human weaknesses. They tried to prepare him in conventional ways, yet David knew he would triumph regardless of how much he prepared, simply because he had God on his side.

What I love about this story is that David saw a problem and did something about it. Here we have the entire Israelite army standing around and doing nothing. They were presented with a challenge and did not nothing. They didn’t accept or deny it. They simply waited and hoped it would go away on its own. David saw the adversity facing Israel and did something about it. That is what I am struggling with so much lately. I see the adversity of working a job I despise, yet I don’t know what I can do about it. God plainly wants me here, and if I walk away it only makes matters worse. I want to do something that will take me away from here, but all my other efforts are met with silence at best. I feel like I am facing my own Goliath in the form of a four-year stretch of little professional growth.

34 But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." – 1 Samuel 17:34-37

Can you feel the conviction in David’s words here? This was not a man who felt he was facing impossible odds. This was not a man that even showed fear. He knew he was going to win because he had God on his side. This was as confident as saying, “I’m going to go get a drink of water from that creek over there.” I lack this conviction, this sheer instinct at knowing that victory is a mere formality right now. I even face less dramatic odds than David faced. Still, he knew it was over, and in his favor, before the battle even started.

45 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. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. – 1 Samuel 17:45-46

Again, we see so much conviction in his words. On human terms, if Goliath were to be defeated, many thought it would be an epic struggle to take him down. Instead, the battle was over almost before it began. Only one blow was struck, and that was by David. That was enough, with the power of God behind it, to triumph over evil. David was not even cocky in his conquest as so many might have been. He continued to humble himself, giving credit for this glorious victory to God. These words are words that give us the strength and courage to face our own Goliaths.

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