Wednesday, January 18, 2012

1/18/12 - Sling Shot!

1 Samuel 17:32-33, 37, 40-51

David spoke to Saul:
"Let your majesty not lose courage.
I am at your service to go and fight this Philistine."
But Saul answered David,
"You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him,
for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth."

David continued:
"The LORD, who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear,
will also keep me safe from the clutches of this Philistine."
Saul answered David, "Go! the LORD will be with you."

Then, staff in hand, David selected five smooth stones from the wadi
and put them in the pocket of his shepherd's bag.
With his sling also ready to hand, he approached the Philistine.

With his shield bearer marching before him,
the Philistine also advanced closer and closer to David.
When he had sized David up,
and seen that he was youthful, and ruddy, and handsome in appearance,
the Philistine held David in contempt.
The Philistine said to David,
"Am I a dog that you come against me with a staff?"
Then the Philistine cursed David by his gods
and said to him, "Come here to me,
and I will leave your flesh for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field."
David answered him:
"You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar,
but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts,
the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted.
Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand;
I will strike you down and cut off your head.
This very day I will leave your corpse
and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air
and the beasts of the field;
thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God.
All this multitude, too,
shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves.
For the battle is the LORD's and he shall deliver you into our hands."

The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters,
while David ran quickly toward the battle line
in the direction of the Philistine.
David put his hand into the bag and took out a stone,
hurled it with the sling,
and struck the Philistine on the forehead.
The stone embedded itself in his brow,
and he fell prostrate on the ground.
Thus David overcame the Philistine with sling and stone;
he struck the Philistine mortally, and did it without a sword.
Then David ran and stood over him;
with the Philistine's own sword which he drew from its sheath
he dispatched him and cut off his head.

We all know about David and Goliath, today's 1st reading gives the Scriptural account of the story. In 1 Samuel 16, God calls David "a man after my own heart". In this passage, we begin to see why. The whole episode is defined by David's faith. He walks up against Goliath with confidence. He knows from experience that the Lord has delivered Him in the past. That experience gives him the faith to go forward against the giant.

I think this is an important point. Faith builds over time. If I am conscious of God's involvement in things in my past, and I know how those things work out, my faith grows. I know from experience what happens when I turn a situation over to God, and when I rely on Him completely. As I face a new situation or trial, I need to remember how God has delivered me in the past. It may not have been from the claw or a bear or lion, but it is delivery nonetheless. That knowledge should be able to give me full confidence going forward.

That .... is FAITH. Faith is far deeper than believing something to be true. It is having full confidence that God's is involved in my situation, that the situation is happening according to God's will, and that I can completely rely on Him and leave it under His control. It's more than that too, but I can't come up with the words to describe it.

In my experience, there is always some type of fear to overcome as we take a step of faith. My personal belief, though I can't prove it, is that these moments are the battlegrounds of the spiritual war. We are constantly tempted to NOT have faith, in little and big ways. This drama plays out over and over and over, throughout our whole lives.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a Comment!