I hope that you had an enjoyable and meaningful July 4 – and that you took some time during “Independence Day” to celebrate and give thanks for our “dependence” on our God who sustains us, protects us, and guides us.
One of the ways our God sustains, protects, guides us is through our prayers for each other. As I mentioned in Worship, our Pastoral Care Ministry, led by Pat Rajda, has a goal of every family being a part of our Prayer Team, which receives a Prayer List every Friday and prays for all those on it. If someone in your family is not yet a member, pray about it, and contact Pat to become a part of this important Ministry of Meadowlake. (Send an email to Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org, with a copy to Cathy Micun at email@example.com.)
A Heart for God – To Overcome
On Sunday, we continued opening our lives to a heart for God, through the life of David – seeing how his heart for God enables him to overcome the giant Goliath, and enables us to overcome the giants in our lives, by seeing that our giants are enemies of God; having faith in God because of the ways He has saved us in the past; and staying alert for God to give us what we need, when we need it, to overcome. (1 Samuel 17:3-11, 32-51)
- We are opening our lives to receiving and growing a heart for God – a heart so centered on, and filled with, God that He directs everything in our lives. Last week, God had his Priest Samuel anoint the shepherd boy David to be the next king of Israel, because of his heart for God. His selection of David remained a secret until God chose to reveal it. But this week, David’s most important secret was revealed – His heart for God, the power it gave him, and the power a heart for God can give us.
- David’s heart for God enabled him to overcome the giant Goliath. His confrontation with Goliath took place at the valley of Elah in Palestine. The armies of Israel and the Philistines faced each other across the Valley. The Philistines were led by a giant (9’9” tall), who cursed the Israelites, and challenged one of them to fight him. David came to the Valley to bring food to his brothers, who were in the Israelite army. He heard the giant, and stepped forward to fight and overcome him.
- When we hear of this experience of David, we are tempted to say it has nothing to do with us, because we no longer fight giants. But, in fact, we do, every day. Giants are anything in our lives that keeps us from the life God wants for us: We lose our jobs; our jobs rob us of our time with our families; our marriages are crumbling; our children are turning away from what is right and good; we are seized by addictions; our thoughts are filled with bitterness; we are lonely, depressed… The list is limitless! We all have faced and will face giants….
- David shows us three truths to overcome our giants. The First Truth is this: Because our giants keep us from the life that God wants for us, they are not only our enemies, they are the enemies of God!
- Because David has a heart for God, he looks at his giants through the eyes of God; and in his situation, he sees that Goliath is keeping the people of Israel from living in peace in the Promised Land as God wants them to live.
- David tells us to have such a heart for God that we see every giant that limits our life, through God’s eyes – and if we see that it is not what God wants for us, then our giant is not only our enemy, it is God’s enemy. This means that God is with us and will fight together with us to overcome our giant – if we will let Him!
- Whether we will let Him, depends on whether we will accept the Second Truth of David: We can trust God to help us overcome this giant, because He has been with us, sustained us, protected us, saved us, helped us overcome our giants in our past!
- As David turns to face Goliath, he affirms: “God has saved me from lions and bears, and He will save me from this Philistine as well!” David did not have “blind faith.” There is no such thing as blind faith. Faith is founded on seeing what the unseen hand of God has done for us already.
- I confessed to you how many times I have faced giants, especially the times when I was headed down the wrong path, making wrong decisions, in my marriage, family, school, job – and God saved me, overcame my giants. All of you affirmed (with your nods) that God has done the same for you.
- So the next time that we face a giant, before we do anything else, pray for God to remind you of all the ways that He has been with us, sustained, protected, saved us, has overcome our giants. Then rise up with faith, and trust that He will also enable you overcome this new giant.
- Which leads to David’s Third Truth: If we seek God and trust God, He will give us what we need, when we need it, to overcome our giants!
- Because David had a heart for God, he looked for God to give him what he needed. God led him away from the useless armor of Saul, to give him five smooth stones, and just the right moment to use them. When David knelt by the brook, he was in prayer for God to lead him. We know this by the Psalm that David wrote later when looking back at this moment (according to some commentators) – Psalm 9: “The Lord will never forsake those who seek Him and trust Him. The Lord will overcome our enemies. We will be upheld!”
- What this means for us when we are faced with our giants, is to stay alert and seek God. He will place in our path just the right word, person, opportunity to enable us to overcome. God will give us just the right words of love, confession, forgiveness, compassion to say to our spouse; just the right time to spend time with our child; just the right teacher to turn our school life around; just the right co-worker, friend, to save our job or open the way to a new job….
- We must not cower in fear, God invites us to seek Him, trust Him. He will not forsake us; He will uphold us. Our giant, no matter how fearsome or powerful, with God’s help, will be overcome!For, as Christians, we know even more than David. We know that when we face the most fearsome giant of all, death – If we seek God and trust Him, God will not forsake us, He will be with us and defeat this powerful giant, and hold us in His hand forever. We know this because His Son died for us and was raised from the dead for us, to defeat this giant – as we remembered on Sunday, as we came to His Table, to remember, have faith, and trust….
Connection for the Week: If you are facing some giant in your life, pray for God to affirm that this giant is His enemy, and to remind you of all the ways He has saved you from your/His enemies in the past; pray for Him to give you what you need, when you need it; then be alert to receive and seize what He gives you – and, with Him, overcome.