Thursday, November 15, 2007

Heroes of Faith - David - Part 2

David the Giant Killer
This is my favourite story of the whole bible, and I am going to enjoy retelling this story immensely, as we will see, it is pretty awesome and all young boys love this story and wish they were David!

The story of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17) starts with the Philistines gathering their forces and camping at Socoh in Judah, while the Israelites camped in the Valley of Elah. Now the Philistines brought up what they thought was their trump card, Goliath. Now Goliath was a Giant, he was over nine feet tall, even Jonah Lomu would not attempt to tackle this guy! He was heavily armoured and he came out and taunted and took the micky out of the Isrealites day after day after day. He challenged the Israelites to send out their best fighter to take him on, but no one was brave enough (or maybe stupid enough) to face the giant.

Now David was sent to bring a packed lunch to his brothers, who were by this age old enough to fight. He stumbled onto the field when the Giant was giving his challenge. He watched and wondered, “why do the people wait, why do they face this injustice, we are Gods people!” Feeling a sense of righteous anger he asks a soldier, “why isn’t anyone doing anything about this?!” I love this first bit, David asks the question, why hasn’t anyone challenged the giant? “Come on, you are Gods people, don’t you have in God to take on this uncircumcised Philistine?”

Feeling anger at the injustice, David says “If no one else will slay this uncircumcised philistine, I will”

This is the thing I love about David, he is bold, he is ready to do what no one else is willing to and face the adversity head on, even though he is still a young boy and the least likely choice to take on the Giant.

This is the first place we will take out from the story and I will do some explaining. In the story of the exodus, the Israelites send out a group of spies to the land of Canan. When they come back, most of the spies are scared; they say tThere are giants in the land!” While the younger generation, represented by Joshua and Caleb say “no problem, we can take the land, it is a land fill of milk and honey that God has promised us, we should have faith in God that he will allow us to take it.” (for the whole story read Numbers 13-14.) Faced with Giants in both these cases, the bulk of the people run. But the leaders stand, ready to face the Giants and take what God has promised them. In both these stories, the leaders are the young men, not the old men. Bold and ready to take what has been promised by God, for their people.

So in his boldness, David goes to King Saul and says that he wants to take on the Giant. Saul replies, “but you are only a boy!” David does not get taken aback and explains that he has the skills to face the Giant. He replies “I have tended my father’s sheep and when a lion or bear has attacked the flock I went after it struck it and killed it.” He then explains that “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!”

Seeing that the boy would not be wavered, Saul replies “Go, and the Lord be with you”

Saul then says he can take some of his armour for the fight. David tries it on, but finds that it weighs him down.

David at this point realises something that many people do not, he did not try to put on the clothes and armour of someone else. How many times have we seen people try to step up and fill the shoes of some other leader in the same way. It does not work! They weigh us down, impede our vision and make us a sitting target for attack. Instead David picked up the tools that he knew would be successful with, five stones to put in his sling. David realised that God had enabled him for the task at hand with the skills that he had already. All he needed to do was put his trust in God, not in the armour which would cause much more harm than good!

This can be seen with Church today and in the past. I know, I know it always comes back to this, but since no one comments on my blog and I still get readership I will continue flogging the horse constantly. Many churches have put their trust in models/designs for church that have been developed in different cultural contexts and places and try to apply them to the area where they are in. Some cases it works and the church ends up being successful and reaching heaps of people but in other cases it implodes. The problem can be that we put all our trust in a model (a model that can actually impede our latent potential, weight us down, blind us and make us inflexible and luggards when faced with change) instead of putting our trust in God and the people he has given us. I will go a step further, the problem with church models and changing a church model is that it is cosmetic surgery rather than change to the heart, the ethos within a community of faith. If a community is selfish, judgemental, lacking in vision and changes model the likelihood is the community will to still be selfish and judgemental and will not be attractive to those who are not yet Christians, the change in model will do nothing for the heart of the church.

Back to the story, we get to the heart of the matter, which is the heart of David, David has faith that God will use his skills and potential to rescue Isreal from the oppression of the Giant Goliath. He sees that the God who he serves is much larger, more powerful and more amazing than anything that stands in front of him and he will take on Goliath despite the fact that his chances seem slim because of his stature.

So that next day David waits for the challenge. When Goliath calls his challenge, David steps up. Goliath surveys his challenger, surpised he says “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?,” “Come here and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.”

David, undeterred, replies with boldness “You come against me with sword and speak and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty and the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut of your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that the is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or speak that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all you into our hands.”

The Giant then runs at him, David picks up a stone and quickly slung it and it struck the Giant in the forehead, who fell facedown on the ground. Then David went and cut off the giants head and then the Israelites went and chased down the philistines, who ran from the field.

So what is the sense of faith described in this story, why is it important and what can we learn from this. We should realise that God is much bigger than those adversities we face. We are followers of the living God and we have faith in him. David trusted in the promise that when he faced the Giant, that God would be with him and would save Israel. As we will see later, in some cases we will have to take shelter, and trust in God as our comfort and our shelter from the adversities we face.

David remembered to give all glory to God, he knew that it was only through the LORD that he would be successful. He remembered to give glory to God. I think this is an essential part of being a Christian. Through both the hard times and the good times we should give glory to God. God wants to be both part of our celebrations of success in life and also in our times of grief or hardship God wants to be there grieving with us, comforting us and listening to us.

Also by having faith in the skills, in the character God has given us and trusting that God can use us for good works, we are actually giving him praise. God created us for a purpose, and he delights in seeing us fulfilling our purpose. One thing that God grieves is that many times we take the comfortable easy way, we take second best for our lives, sin, fall short of his glorious standard. But God delights in seeing his children fulfilling their potential, putting their trust in him and following his way for their life.

I love the story of David, his boldness to step up and do what God calls him to do. He sees that God does not like seeing his people and his name being dishonoured. David faces injustice with boldness and faith in God’s goodness and power.

No comments: