Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday's with Jesus #147

#147 "Whose Battle Is This Anyway?"
May 13, 2008
"All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give all of you into our hands." (1 Samuel 17: 47) 
Scripture Passage:  1Samuel 17
An interesting map is on display in the British Museum in London. It's an old mariner's chart, drawn in 1525, outlining the North American coastline and adjacent waters. The cartographer made some intriguing notations on areas of the map that represented regions not yet explored. He wrote: "Here be giants," "Here be fiery scorpions," and "Here be dragons." Eventually, the map came into the possession of Sir John Franklin, a British explorer in the early 1800's. Scratching out the fearful inscriptions, he wrote these words across the map:
"Here is God."  
Because it's such an age-old Bible story, and because we've read it countless times, we tend to dumb down the account of David and Goliath. I was looking in the little Beginner's Bible that I have tucked away for cuddle time with my grandbaby, and I paused for the whole one minute it took to read this story. Simply, David came, he saw, and he conquered the giant. The illustrations depict a very young, tender faced little boy with slingshot in hand, clobbering a very mean looking, bearded big guy with a whole lot of armor on. Yay! David wins....end of the story? Not by a long shot.
What do you do when the giant is standing atop the hill defying you to defeat him? Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. For forty days Goliath came forward every morning and every evening and took his stand. He taunted the Israelites every single day. He was called a "champion". He stood 9'9" tall...a giant of a man, wearing armor that weighed more than most of us. He was a bully and a tyrant. This was one powerful warrior...a strong and mighty man.
You may not be out on a literal battlefield, on top of a hill today, but Goliath is alive and well. He comes in the form of a stack of bills that you pass every time you walk through the room. Debt that taunts you morning and night and defies you to ever come out ahead. The giant stands before you holding the doctor's report in his hand, and screams in your ear that you're going to die. Day after day, he tells you that you'll never have that child that you long for. That you'll never be able to make it on your own without your loved one who died. You'll never be able to beat that addiction that has had you bound for years. Goliath stands boldly in the divorce proceeding, the welfare office, the unemployment line, or right in between you and your child, and he taunts you, and tells you that it's all just too much to defeat. Gas prices, home foreclosures, recessions and unfulfilled hopes and dreams cause you to run away scared and dismayed and terrified. That is, if you are walking by sight and not by faith.
Giants come when we think we can't lose weight. When we're in dead end jobs and work for insufferable bosses. When our spouse walks out the door. Low self-esteem and abuse and betrayal make us feel so overwhelmed. How do we ever think we can make it without God? A McCain ticket won't help us. An Obama ticket won't help us. There are no answers in the liberal or the conservative camps. Cyclones and tornados and earthquakes.....My heart must cry out: "I lift my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." (Psalm 121: 1-2) If not...there is just no hope!
David saw Goliath for what he was. He said, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" He didn't run. He wasn't dismayed and terrified like his fellow Israelites. He was in essence saying, "Who does this guy think he is?"  David saw God. He remembered the God who delivered him from "the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear" and knew that the same God could deliver him from the giant, Goliath. Has God ever delivered you from something? When you look at your giant today, follow David's example and remember what your God has done for you in the past and know that He is the same God, yesterday, today and forever. Stop looking at the fierceness of Goliath...keep your eyes on God.
You may not have the energy to fight anymore. You may not have the financial resources to fight. Your body may not be cooperating with your dream. But in God, you have all of the strength, resources and supply that you need to defeat whatever the giant is in your life today. "With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies." (Psalm 108: 13) Did you get that? "With God". You are not alone. He is ready and able to help you. Delight yourself in Him and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37: 4) God is for you...He's on your side...who can be against you? (Romans 8: 31) Certainly not that uncircumcised Philistine of a problem that laughs at you every day! That giant is nothing...NO THING... in the presence of Almighty God.
But it's not enough to just tell yourself that. David could have played his harp and sang psalms on his side of the hill and the giant would never have been defeated. Because David believed, he went out and fought. He slew Goliath with no powerful weapons. He "triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him." (v. 50) David had enough confidence in God to face his enemy with what little he had. Do you? Baptist pastor, Bud Martenn said this, "Giants never completely go away until we face them and defeat them." I like to say that you cannot conquer what you don't confront. Look your Goliath in the eye... even if you have to look way up... and tell him that he is no thing compared to your God. Don't let him scare you into running and hiding. Face him, even if you're afraid. Speak the Word of God out loud to whatever your Goliath is today. Speak it in faith. It is your weapon. It is the sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:17) You think you don't have anything to fight with? Oh, my dear one...you have more powerful weapons than any old ugly giant sent from hell to torment you. You have God and His living, active, powerful Word. You are not left alone to fight. "The battle is the Lord's" and He will give the giant into your hands. (v. 47)
Two hundred years ago, Sir John Franklin wrote, "Here is God", all over a map. He didn't see the obstacles. He saw God. David didn't see Goliath. He saw God. Look with eyes of faith, not just your plain sight and write "Here is God" all over that doctor's report. Write "Here is God" all over that divorce decree. Write "Here is God" all over that broken relationship. Write "Here is God" all over that stack of bills. Only you know what your Goliath looks like. I know he looks scary. He looks undefeated. All you have is a sling and a smooth stone. But open your eyes and look....Here is God!!!




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