Monday, May 15, 2006

David (as in Goliath) the Instigator

David the instigator (1 Samuel 17)

You've probably heard the story, if not all the details: Goliath, this 9-foot Philistine warrior, taunts the Israelites, daring them to appoint a man to face him in one-to-one combat. David the shepherd boy volunteers to go up against him, and nails the giant with a stone to the forehead.

There are a lot of lessons here. David's language shows his faith in God, a faith that everyone else seems to have abandoned. He is not foolhardy, but his eyes are open to the spiritual dimension of the conflict; he sees the objectives and the power of God, not just the size of the enemy. This is a good lesson for me when I'm feeling grouchy about committee meetings at church (only there the enemy is my own laziness and impatience, rather than other people); God wants to accomplish things through these committees. That doesn't mean that I have to join every committee, but I need to remember that these are part of God's plan, God's mission.

David wants to do good, but faces opposition from his own brother. Come to think of it, Jesus faced opposition from his own brothers, too. Have you ever found resistance from other Christians when trying to do something good and worthwhile for the kingdom? We shouldn't be surprised to see some opposition to just about anything we feel God leading us toward. Sometimes, of course, oppoosition comes because we mis-read what the Lord wants to do with us. But sometimes people are grouchy or envious, as was the case with Eliab.

David goes down to the stream and selects five smooth stones. He only uses one, but he takes five. He's not faithless here; he's being prudent. What if the first stone missed? He had plans B, C, D and E in his shepherd's bag.

Something else I noticed here.
David asked the men standing near him, "What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" ....

He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.
- 1 Samuel 17.26, 30-31
David seemed to know how to get a hearing with the boss. So David could not be described as "so heavenly minded that he was no earthly good"! He knew how the system worked, but as we have seen above, he was not a mere politician; he was a practical man of faith. A man with a practical (not just theoretical) faith.

Now that's how I'd like to be remembered. What will I do today to move in that direction?

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