It was so different to go from Mom saying, "God says this about that" to "Wow...God says this to me about that." When I read it for myself, I was able to claim the amazing promises, be convicted, and become totally amazed and ultimately glorify God. Now, I can't even imagine not reading a few chapters a day. If I miss a day, it is so obvious in how I act throughout that day! I (think) I'm on my third or fourth year now, and every year, I think "How did I miss this section last year?" Incredible!!
Soooo...anyways...I said all that to say this: in my daily read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year, I just finished 1 Samuel, and oh my goodness! Did I never read this book before or what? Entertaining, convicting, and encouraging!! But, there were two things that really stood out to me.
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1. The story of David & Goliath. Everyone's read it, every little boy loves it, but this time through was like reading it for the first time! There was one part that I stopped and re-read...and re-read...and scratched my head and re-read. It's 17:48. Here this good-looking teenager has come down, seen this 9 and a half foot giant, and told the king, "I can take him on, are you kidding?!?!? God's going to fight for me! What's that? Oh no, I don't need any armor." He goes out to the field, and said giant tells him, "I'm gonna feed you to the birds, kid." David's response is amazing. What faith!!
"“You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
And then here comes the real knock-out.
Verse 48 says, "So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine." Hurried and ran. Really?? Defenseless kid running out to meet this champion giant. Outrageous!! And amazing.
That is what real faith does! It RUNS to meet the trials God throws in our way...yes, even giants.
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2. The other thing God really showed me was Jonathan. I never really noticed him before, but wow was he a man of faith. And what a contrast to his dad!! There are so many circumstances where Saul reacts in complete fear and humanism, and Jonathan reacts in complete faith and trust in God.
First, in chapter 14, Saul is sitting in camp trying to figure out how to defeat the Philistines who are bigger and badder than the Israelites. Jonathan grabs his armor bearer, and says, "Come, let us go over to the garrison of these uncircumcised; it may be that the Lord will work for us. For nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few.” The two of them go up and defeat the whole Philistine camp!
The other contrast is how the two men reacted to David being chosen as king. "The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul...And Jonathan took off the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, even to his sword and his bow and his belt." The taking off of the robe, armor, sword, bow, and belt was symbolic of him resigning his place as heir to the throne and giving it to David. He immediately recognized that God had chosen David, and he had no problem with it! Humility!!
Saul, on the other hand, "was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, but had departed from Saul. Therefore Saul removed him from his presence..." and he eventually ends up hunting David down and trying to kill him. Pride!!
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So what kind of person do you want to be? Saul? or Jonathan? or David? Yes, David messed up...big time. He murdered a man and stole his girl...that's nasty and messy! But haven't we all done the same? Maybe not the same sin and maybe not outwardly, but in our hearts we're exactly the same. Until we reach Heaven and get to throw off this sin nature, we're going to be fighting our flesh and sometimes succumbing to it.
But the main thing is that we need to keep striving to walk by faith more and more and by our flesh less and less. It's hard. It's nasty. And it's messy. But by God's grace, we will overcome. Our pastor said something a couple weeks ago that I really liked...(I'm paraphrasing here) "In order to run the race, you have to learn to walk; and in order to learn to walk, you have to learn how to crawl; and in order to learn how to crawl, you gotta learn how to scoot. But as long as there's life, there'll be movement."
Keep trying to be a Jonathan.