Monday, May 15, 2017

May 15

1 Samuel 17:1-18:4; John 8:21-30; Psalm 111:1-10; Proverbs 15:11

Today is my eldest son’s birthday.  A teenager now, it’s hard to believe how quickly these last years have gone.  The days, oh, they have been long, but the years, they have been fast.

I thought of our Caleb when reading about David.  We’re hopelessly biased toward him as his parents, but we think he’s pretty unique: kind, intense, sensitive, intelligent.  It’s crazy for us to look at who he is today and realize how he was much the same at 2 or 3.  We’ve seen these qualities manifest themselves in a toddler and an elementary-school kid and now as a teenager.  He’s living into the young man God has made him to be.

David does the same here.  David isn’t looking for glory; he isn’t searching after power or position.  He’s living into the young man God made him to be.  He’s had skills honed through work and struggle (see I Sam. 17:34-35), protecting sheep, whatever the personal risk.  He wasn’t chasing bears or lions for personal gain or bragging rights; he went after his flock because it was his job and his responsibility.  It’s interesting to see that Saul, who as king should have the responsibility to respond to the challenge from Goliath, is instead “dismayed and terrified” (I Sam. 17:11).  Saul’s not doing his job, so David steps into the breach.  The text indicates that David’s righteous frustration and anger over the impudence of Goliath are born out of his defense of “the living God” (I Sam. 17:26, 36, 45).  David is fierce for God’s honor and so he acts.  David knows God’s promises – that the land of Israel belongs to the Israelites – and he knows that Israel has failed to dislodge the Philistines.  Rather than impetuously rushing toward Goliath in the unreliable trappings of warfare, David recognizes this as an opportunity for God’s good will and word to be furthered.  Here’s a chance to defeat God’s enemies, in a way that could be nothing but God’s triumph.  And David is bold: see how he “[runs] quickly toward the battle line to meet him [Goliath]” (I Sam. 17:48).  This courage stands in total contrast to the men of Israel who “all ran from him [Goliath] in great fear” (I Sam. 17:24).

How I want Caleb (and his brothers, Noah and Levi) to be a man like this: confident in God’s promises, fierce for his holiness, reckless as he pursues the course of action laid before him by the Lord!  

How I need this for myself, too.  I’m convicted today by the words of a recent sermon out of James: do my actions match up with the Jesus I proclaim?  David’s actions did.  He moved out in perilous ways because of his certainty in God.  David was all in.  I’m not.  For me, I’m struck at my lack of generosity.  Not financially – we give generously to our church and other ministries; we set aside a mercy fund each month and are quick to respond to financial needs for those in crisis.  But my heart isn’t generous.  I often begrudge the time a friend might ask for – the moments it takes to respond to an email or the hours spent listening at a coffee shop.  I’m frustrated that my children need my time and attention once again.  I give money to offset an emergency, but with a frustrated spirit, full of judgment because I see how this emergency could have been avoided.  I take meals to new moms, but I remember who sent a thank-you note and who didn’t.  An ungenerous heart.  

Lord, I need to remember how much I have received, how much love has been extended toward me.  I want to be secure in who you are and in your promises, so that I might move out in boldness and extravagance.  May I, like David, “fear the Lord [as] the beginning of wisdom” (Ps. 111:10) and live fully into your promises.  Amen.

- Sarah Marsh

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