March 23

1 Samuel 15-17, Psalm 82

D.A. Carson said, "We overcome the accuser of our brothers and sisters, we overcome our consciences, we overcome our bad tempers, we overcome our defeats, we overcome our lusts, we overcome our fears, we overcome our pettiness on the basis of the blood of the Lamb." When Muhammed Ali was getting older in his boxing career, he developed a tactic called the rope-a-dope. He would cover up his face and abdomen as best he could and allow his opponent to wear himself down throwing blows to his side. Then when he was worn out he would come out swinging and defeat his opponent. If one were watching the battle between David and Goliath unfold, they would have all bet on Goliath and probably only wondered how long David could avoid the death blow, or how long he could wear Goliath out. The shepherd boy without armor against the seasoned giant who was over nine feet tall with armor weighing over 150 pounds seemed to be a ridiculous contest.

Part of the problem is we size things up with our eyes, but God sees things entirely different. We read in 1 Samuel 16:7 (our memory verse for the week), "But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." We read in 1 Samuel 17:26, as he approached the taunting scene of Goliath, "...For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" When day after day no one in the entire Israeli army was willing to fight Goliath we read David's words in 17:32, 36-37, "Then David said to Saul, "Let no man's heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine...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." 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." The army looked at Goliath's physical stature, but David saw him only as God's enemy and acted on faith. Before battle and before this giant, in 1 Samuel 17:45-47, David gives himself entirely to God, "...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...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." Lastly, and significantly notice what David did as he approached Goliath in 17:48-49, "...David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine...and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead...". There was nothing sheepish about David's approach, this little shepherd boy actually charged the giant. The strength required to make that stone penetrate Goliath's skull reveals it was the strength of the Holy Spirit, not David's.

So how do we face the giants in our life? When we face obstacles and challenges do we resemble the army of the Israelites who sheepishly stood on the sidelines being paralyzed by the magnitude of their opponent? Or do we resemble the army of the Philistines and their champion Goliath, who were overconfident due to the apparent human strength of their side? Or do we approach it like David, who completely saw it through the eyes of God and realized that in Him, no opponent stood a chance? We will all face our battles, the only question is how we will perceive them and what power we will use to approach them. When we are on our mission field (and every sphere of our life is our mission field: our home, our workplaces, our social outings), will we sheepishly stand on the side fearing the reaction of others, or fearing to upset them, or fearing difficult questions which might be asked? Or will we be like David, who literally charged into the situation being filled with the Holy Spirit. We tend to forget or minimize the true strength of the Holy Spirit, yet it was by this Spirit, that Jesus did all that He did during His earthly ministry. Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." If we want to see revival in our land, we would do well to face our obstacles in HIs power rather than our own.

Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley:

Marj Lancaster