Saturday, May 21, 2011

One Chance, One Stone, One Thud

The story of David and Goliath is a very familiar and favorite of mine. It is repeated in every Sunday School circle time in every church in America as one of the greatest examples of God's power on display. It presents such a contrast of winning vs. losing and once again proves that God is awesome.

As 1 Samuel 16-17 relates, the handsome, young David is doing his daily duties as a sheep herder attending to his flock. He comes from a large family and had just by-passed his older brothers on the fast-track to kingship when he was publicly recognized and anointed by Samuel. The Spirit of the Lord was upon him in power.

The Enemy shouts. It was a time of war for the Israelites vs. the Philistines. Goliath comes to the front lines dressed in the finest armour the Philistine army could provide, laced with pride. As if he needed all that heavy metal, seriously, he was a giant! The champion measured nine-feet tall. His intimidating size was the fundamental element that gained him recognition for his fighting prowess. Because of it, all he had to do was show up and people scattered.

Two Hills. So the Israelites were on one hill and the Philistines were on the opposite hill and the scene was set for battle. Goliath goads the Israelites with, "Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will be our subjects and serve us." That one battle cry incited fear and interpretation into all those who heard his booming and defeating words.

David Shows Up. Jesse, his dad, had told David to take some bread and cheese reserves to his brothers who were on the front lines. Actually, there wasn't much fighting going, just a lot of taunting from one tall, loud dude. When you are tall and loud, yes, you will get the most attention. Forty days each army had been showing up for battle, for forty days the giant spewed his threats. That day, as David was delivering supplies, he heard Goliath shouting his usual defiance. By this time the Israelites where in a "duck-and-cover" mode. There was one word to their battle cry...RUN!

David prepares. David accepts God's call to fight the towering opponent. Saul, in his attempt to help David get ready, dresses him with the finest the forces have to offer. But David already had his strategy set. As God had delivered him from every lion and bear attack in the sheep pastures, God had proved himself as the only armor this young warrior would need. He went to the nearest stream and picked up five smooth stones, along with his sling and approached immanent battle.

The valley. As the opponents face off, I can help but notice the contrast in the valley. Evil vs. Good. Old vs. Young. Tall vs. Short. Proud vs. Humble. Loud vs. Quiet. Brash vs. Meek. Harsh vs. Soft. Fury vs. Calm. Disdain vs. Favor. Fear vs. Courage. Conflict vs. Resolution. Defeat vs. Victory. Death vs. Life. In the valley, opposites clashed.

The battle belongs to the Lord. After the two "giants" exchanged their personal predictions regarding the certain outcome of the impending onslaught, David knew this was his one chance. With his eye on the target, he catapulted one stone. The smooth stone struck Goliath smack between the eyes, impacting his forehead, causing his lumbering frame to fall with a heavy thud. A cloud of dust rose from the impact of the dead. Both armies stood in amazement of what had just occurred. God's will was accomplished as David proclaimed, "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 will give all of you into our hands." 1 Samuel 17: 47. So the whole world would know, one act of obedience shouts.

One stone changed the course of history. One action in the face of fear. One action in a valley of a man's faith journey. I can't help but be moved by David's mantra of "doing it afraid." He was confident, not in his own skills, but in his Lord. When he heard the call of the enemy, he knew in his pure heart, that God was calling him to prove to the world the power and might that he had experienced in a pasture. As David stood at the water's edge gathering his gumption, I imagine he flashed through his past hero-moments where God proved himself faithful. With that understanding and unstoppable faith, David knew how to fight this epic enemy.

Our battle cry in the face of fear, adversity, insecurity and hopelessness, should be the same as David's. Life presents plenty of good vs. evil scrimmages for God's faithful maneuvers to manifest complete in our campaigns. We must show up for battle, dressed for engagement, equipped with the Spirit's boldness, and move forward in assurance so that the whole world would know. The battle is the Lord's! Let's do this afraid! Let's do this!

God's got this battle just like He's got the last battle. What battles are you facing?
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