I Samuel 17 part 3–What to Wear When Facing a Giant

Growing up in the country has a tendency to make one look at life more simply. When one has a task to complete you do not take courses, read books, hire consultants and buy a bunch of equipment.  Instead you assess the situation, take what’s near and trust your instincts and proceed.  That was David’s approach to defending Israel.  When he was commissioned by the King, he was Armed with the Kings finest armor, given the Kings very sword and helmet and coached by the King to use the equipment.  But David knew he was not used to that stuff so he set it aside, picked up some rocks and faced the giant with the one thing he knew would affect the outcome—God.

When life seems filled with Giants, we often prepare for battle by employing the newest tools, latest theories and counsel from the best and brightest.  We try methods and theories that for our purposes simply do not seem to fit and are extremely uncomfortable.  What we should prepare for battle is a few simple tools—a Shield of faith, the sword of the spirit—(God’s word) and the helmet of salvation.  Like David, we walk into battle armed with the one thing that assures victory—God. 

It is great to read and grow knowledgeable in theology and life tools. The clear truth is, however, that without the Lord being in charge, all other tools become obsolete! Help me Lord to trust you and follow your leadership.

God Bless You

Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them.

“I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. 40 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.

41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 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.”

I Samuel 15 part 3–Arrogance and Rebellion

 There is a point that is too far. As we journey with the Lord, there comes a time when our arrogance and rebellion set the stage for the remainder of the journey. Cain’s murder of Abel, Samson telling Delilah his secret, and Saul’s decision to run the battle his way were turning points in the lives of these men.  It was at that point they rejected God and he rejected them.  See, as most fathers, God wants for us to be free and blessed.  But as we continue to fight him for our independence, he will ultimately oblige us and allow us to be independent of him and let us struggle with the bondage and misery our independence brings.

We should not favor independence, we should favor freedom.  When God led his people out of Egypt, he was leading them to freedom from slavery.  As they followed–they were truly free. The more they tried to walk away from him, the more they found themselves in bondage. The same holds true for us.  If we can submit to his leadership and truly seek him, we will be free—free to follow and free to experience his peace and provision. But the more we wrestle with him over who will be boss of our lives, the more we find ourselves entrapped and enslaved. Our arrogance and rebellion will be perceived as witchcraft and idolatry.  Truly, the god we then worship is ourselves.  Just as Saul was building a monument to himself at the battle with the Amalekites.   It is simple, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness—and all the remains will be added to you.  Help me Lord to avoid arrogance and rebellion in my life.

God Bless You

But Samuel replied:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.”

26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!”

I Samuel 15 part 2–I surrender Some

There is an old hymn that I sang as a child—I Surrender All, by J.W Deventer that always haunted me.  The Hymn is very straight forward and simply speaks of a walk with God that pictures complete surrender and the freedom that brings.  Sadly, as I compare that to my life, I find that rather challenging.  So did Saul. God’s command was clear.  Completely destroy the Amalekites, leave nothing alive.  Saul mostly destroyed the Amalekites, he kept the King and some of the livestock, but, the issue was not an issue of misunderstanding, it was an issue of Lordship.  This became obvious as Saul was building a monument to himself after the battle, it was also obvious as he told Samuel he kept livestock to sacrifice to the Lord “Samuel’s” God. God always looks at the heart, and Saul had made Saul lord of his life.

We often battle the same temptation.  We set out to follow the Lord and surrender to his leadership, but, somewhere on the way, we decide to amend God’s plan to benefit us –just a bit.  We think ourselves clever—we figure God will understand.  Sadly, the Lord does not take partial allegiance.  His throne only has one seat.  He is a gentleman—he will only take charge if invited to.  But, he will never condone partial surrender.  This journey has to be under his care and authority.  That allows God to provide and protect those in his family. If we only partially surrender, there can be no consistency and no real faith.  When circumstances get easier, then we reassert our Lordship—We do it our way.  As with Saul, God says, I cannot allow a shared throne, I neeed a leader that is seeking me with his heart.  As Joshua said—choose this day whom you will serve…As for me and my house—We will serve the Lord.

God Bless You

Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves[b] and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.

10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.

12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.”

13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”

14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”

15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”