Saturday, June 2, 2007

I've gotta be me!

When David was about to fight the Philistine named Goliath, Saul, with good intentions tries to arm David with the equipment that he would wear when going into battle, but after David was outfitted with all of his armor and his sword, he couldn't even walk with it. David also says he's not used to it anyway. He'd never worn armor before. So what was good for Saul was a hindrance to David.

So often we just can't see how such tremendous tasks can be accomplished without fitting it into our own understanding and logic. But God doesn't work through us because we comprehend and understand, He works through ordinary people such as David just as he is, putting his faith in God and His wisdom, abilities and strength. Saul only saw David failing to accomplish the task from the very beginning when David stepped forward and proclaimed that he would fight the giant. You see a lot was riding on the outcome of this fight. Let's take a look at the challenge that Goliath cried out to the armies of Israel...

1Sa 17:8
Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, "Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.
1Sa 17:9
"If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us."

Well, David steps up to the challenge when no one else would. Yes he was the unlikely person in the group that day. A youth among the mighty men of the army, but the men of Israels army were afraid and this fear prevented them from facing the giant. The difference though with David was that when the Philistine defied the armies of the living God, David took offence. David knew he had to take a stand for the living God, and his past experiences had taught him that God would deliver him in this fight.

1Sa 17:32
Then David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine."
1Sa 17:33
And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."
1Sa 17:34
But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,
1Sa 17:35
"I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.
1Sa 17:36
"Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God."
1Sa 17:37
Moreover David said, "The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!"
1Sa 17:38
So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail.
1Sa 17:39
David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, "I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them." So David took them off.

I love this part where David takes off the armor that Saul had given him to protect him from this giant. Saul had heard Davids reason for being confident in his ability to defeat the giant. David had said that it was the Lord that had delivered him in the past and He will again. Saul even told him to go and the Lord be with you, and oh, by the way, take this extra stuff along for your protection. What more protection did David need with the Lord as his protector? None of course, but for Saul, he still didn't understand true faith and trust in God, yet! But David did.

1Sa 17:40
Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.

1Sa 17:45
Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
1Sa 17:46
"This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
1Sa 17:47
"Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD's, and He will give you into our hands."
1Sa 17:48
So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
1Sa 17:49
Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.
1Sa 17:50
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David.

Wow! A perfect picture of relying on God rather than physical resources. You know we can all relate to Saul, because we're not all that different. We usually view threats in human terms don't we? We immediately evaluate the situation in our own understanding and logic of what we think we can accomplish based off of our own abilities and resources. But when we do this, we could be dismissing God's resources and abilities, as did Saul. Saul didn't realize it at the time, but David was God's solution to Saul's problem.

So one very important lesson in all this would be this... Be who God had called you to be! The world offers all kinds of armor to fight our adversaries, but the One we must put all our faith and trust in is of course God and His resources and abilities. Be careful of advise or council from others. Often we turn to other people that have either more experience or maybe have been through a similar situation before, so naturally we look to them for advice. But as it was with Saul, his advice was all wrong for David. Advice can be good, but we have to be careful to not change who we are in the Lord. He has equipped you for His service and you need to operate on the basis of His word and to not simply try someone else's way of doing things.

Try using your own sling, not someone else's sword or armor.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank you for David and his courage and his confidence that he showed us all that day. He knew You had delivered him in the past and he knew this giant was against the armies of the Lord, and David knew that no one fighting against the Lord could ever win the battle. Thank You that he realized his strength was not of his own, but rather in You. May I always be the person You created me to be and may I completely trust You to deliver me through my challenges and trials in my life. There is no battle that You can't win. Thank You that we don't have to be mighty warriors to have victory, we simply need to put our faith and trust in You. Amen.

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