Is David Up for the Task?

Searching His Word
  Seeking His Heart

David catches up to his brothers and hears the threats of the giant, Goliath. (See What’s Next for David?)

David says,

“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?” I Samuel 17:26

One of the soldiers hears David’s comments about Goliath. Apparently the soldier thinks that David is ready to challenge Goliath because he reports the discussion to Saul. Saul tells him to bring the challenger in.

When Saul sees that it is David, he protests that he is just a boy and this giant has been a fighting man from his youth. Here is the place where we find out about the details of the lion and bear story. David tells of striking the beasts to rescue a sheep, then grabbing them by the hair, striking them again and killing them. He concludes his account by telling Saul,

“…this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” I Samuel 17:36-37

Do you see the value of the preparation God gave David? Do you hear who he believes in and trusts explicitly? Saul doesn’t have that kind of mindset. Since no one else has offered, and these are desperate times, Saul agrees to let him try.

You know the story—how Saul dresses David in his coat of armor, helmet, sword, the whole nine yards. Never mind that David is maybe five foot seven, while Saul is a head taller than anyone else.

     

David tries to walk around with all this soldier stuff on his back and proclaims that this is not for him. He must stick with what he knows best—sling shooting!

David takes off all of the soldier garb.

Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag, and with his sling in his hand approached the Philistine. I Samuel 17:40

As I picture this scene, just the mere differences in size compounds the drama. I think of our pastor who stands 6 foot 5 inches while our minister of music is about 5′ 5″. They generally avoid standing next to each other at the pulpit. Being pitted against someone 9 feet tall is hard to imagine.

Differences come in many packages. Differences in size, yes, but also differences in opinions, differences in ideals, or ways of doing things; differences in temperaments. We all have our differences to overcome. Will David meet the challenge of size, experience, and equipment? Perhaps the greater question—on whom is each depending? Self or God?

As we face the giants in our lives, may we find strength in God to carry us through.

~ Joyce ~

Walking on Water

Searching His Word
 Seeking His Heart

Several months ago, we talked about the feeding of the 5,000. Let’s look at the wild adventure of that evening and on into the night.

The day had been long and exhausting. Jesus taught and healed many. How many? Well, out of 5,000, you can only imagine. Then came the great miracle of blessing the five loaves and two fish with the disciples organizing and helping feed the crowd.

Jesus tells the disciples to push out in the boat and meet him on the other side. He opts to walk up a nearby mountain. For what?

After he dismissed them, he went up on the mountainside by himself to pray. Matthew 14:23

Many times in Scripture we see Jesus going off alone (a rare delight) to pray. I always think, if Jesus had the need for prayer, most assuredly I do too.

        

While He’s refueling himself, the boatload of disciples are a good ways from shore. The wind begins to blow across the water and soon, it is so strong the waves beat against the boat. The howl of the wind, the rocking of the boat, and the slaps of water in their faces cause great alarm for these twelve sailors.

Sometime between 3:00 and 6:00 A.M., the fourth watch, one of them suddenly points out toward the water and shouts, “Look!” They see a figure coming toward them and it’s on top of the water. 

“It’s a ghost!” one of them cried out in fear. Matthew 14:26

Jesus, who is walking toward them—yes, walking ON the water—yells out to them over the wind and waves.

“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14:27

Impetuous Peter jumps up and calls out.

“Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” Jesus said.

Peter does three positive things. He gets out of the boat in faith, walks on the water, and keeps his eyes on Jesus. However, things go downhill when he takes his eyes off Jesus.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Matthew 14:30

Jesus rebukes Peter for having little faith and doubting.

In some ways, it seems that he actually demonstrated amazing faith, but Peter still has much to learn about trust. Jesus grabs his arm; they get in the boat, and the winds die down. The disciples fall before Him in worship. They say,

“Truly you are the Son of God!” Matthew 14:33b

Did they not already know that after their incredible journeys with Him? After the day they had just spent with Him? 

But their eyes had never been blind. Their limbs not withered. While they absorbed the teachings, they weren’t in fearful places. But this time they experienced fear themselves. It was personal. Greater fearful times were ahead. This was training ground for learning to trust more and more.

Lord, help us keep our eyes fixed on you. Build our trust in the storms-of-life training ground.

~ Joyce ~

 

 

Life Verses – Off to College

 Searching His Word
  Seeking His Heart

As we think more about “Searching His Word, Seeking His Heart,” I’m reminded of some of my life verses. You know, the kind of verses that have been dear to you in certain phases of your life. The verses you felt like you really have lived.

Our oldest grandchild will graduate from high school this year, which brings on the next phase of grand-parenting. Guess I’ve got graduation on my mind.

Any way, I think back to my high school youth director and her influence in that phase of my life. She gave me a verse to take with me to college.

“For I, the Lord, thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, ‘Fear not, I will help thee.’ ” Isaiah 41:13

I looked at it from time to time and then one day decided to make a small poster of the verse to hang up on my dorm room wall. It was easy to memorize since it hung in front of me all the time.

Occasionally, I thought about the verse as I strolled across the campus going from one class to the other. I imagined God holding my right hand, the hand I use most.

Then the thought struck me. It doesn’t say he grabs my hand, but holds it. He stretches out His hand offering me direction and confidence, but I must reach out to place my hand in His. It was a meaningful mental picture for me.

I prayed to be sensitive to His leading and to reach out for His hand in good times as well as fearful times. Indeed, there were some fearful times that required holding on tight.

“For I, the Lord, thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, ‘Fear not, I will help thee.’ “

How wonderful when we can claim verses of promise to sustain us. I’ve claimed this one many times.

~ Joyce ~