Wednesday, January 20, 2016

“To have courage for whatever comes in life – everything lies in that.”

Scripture Text: (1 SM 17:32-33, 37, 40-51)
David spoke to Saul:
“Let your majesty not lose courage.
I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine.”
But Saul answered David,
“You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him,
for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.”

David continued:
“The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear,
will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine.”
Saul answered David, “Go! the LORD will be with you.”

Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi
and put them in the pocket of his shepherd’s bag.
With his sling also ready to hand, he approached the Philistine.

With his shield bearer marching before him,
the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David.
When he had sized David up,
and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance,
the Philistine held David in contempt.
The Philistine said to David,
“Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?”
Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods
and said to him, “Come here to me,
and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field.”
David answered him:
“You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar,
but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted.
Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand;
I will strike you down and cut off your head.
This very day I will leave your corpse
and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field;
thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God.
All this multitude, too,
shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves.
For the battle is the LORD’s and he shall deliver you into our hands.”

The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters,
while David ran quickly toward the battle line
in the direction of the Philistine.
David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone,
hurled it with the sling,
and struck the Philistine on the forehead.
The stone embedded itself in his brow,
and he fell prostrate on the ground.
Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone;
he struck the Philistine mortally, and did it without a sword.
Then David ran and stood over him;
with the Philistine’s own sword which he drew from its sheath
he dispatched him and cut off his head.

“Who’s my Goliath and how best may I slay him?”

Now it’s fairly easy to rationalize away why we are not closer to God, and often that involves blaming others, our busy lives, and so forth. However, I wonder if it is more productive to think about the “Goliath” within, the things we think or do, that keep us from getting closer to God. Is it impatience, intolerance, selfishness, an addiction, or possibly one of the seven deadly sins of lust, gluttony, greed, laziness, wrath, envy, or pride? Reflection will help us to not only discover the enemy we are up against, but also a plan for successfully taking on this battle. Is it scary to confront these “Goliaths?” – sure it is. But keep in mind that although David seemed confident on the outside, I have to think that deep within he had doubts and fears like you and me. So as we attempt to follow through with our commitments to be better and to embrace God more fully, we just have to remind ourselves that God is with us, as He was with David, and that He will keep us safe from harm as we face our Goliaths. Keep in mind, in the end, all it took was a simple sling and a stone to conquer the beast. So what’s it going to take for us to conquer our own shortcomings in order to enhance our relationship with the God we love?

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