Faithful Words for week of May 31, 2012

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 Lessons learned from David and Goliath

“So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone…” (See 1 Samuel 17).
Perhaps we sang it as children: “One little stone went in the sling and the sling went ‘round and ‘round. One little stone went in the sling and the giant came tumbling down”. I remember watching the news a few years ago and hearing that a 15-year-old Israeli boy had been killed . . . by a stone that was hurled at him. Most of us are familiar with the story of David, the shepherd boy, and Goliath, the Philistine giant. Goliath was a towering “nine to eleven feet” tall! He was among the contenders for the land of Palestine. His army was squared-off against the army of Israel, and he was taunting the “normal sized” soldiers facing him.
David, a young shepherd-boy not yet old enough to fight in the army, was offended that such an “ogre” would blaspheme his God and mock his people. Rejecting the king’s armor and armed with only a slingshot and his faith in God, David conquered the mighty Goliath.
The story of David and Goliath confronts us with two basic principles of life. The first principle is that God blesses and rewards faithfulness.
God is faithful to us and calls us to be faithful to Him. David took his stand, and God blessed him. Sometimes the blessings for faithfulness are immediate, and sometimes they are delayed, but it is a principle of life that ultimately God will reward righteousness. The second principle reminds us that there are consequences and penalties for attempting to defy God. We will, at least ultimately, “reap what we sow” (Galatians 6:7). This is true for individuals, families, and even nations. Life should be lived with the realization that these two principles are at work. It’s not a matter of “karma” – it’s a matter of consequences!
David and Goliath teach us valuable lessons for everyday living. All of us face giants in our lives. Perhaps a giant comes to mind as you read, but remember: our giants are often not as big or as powerful as they appear. Sometimes are giants are just gnats! The key to David’s success (victory) was a good working relationship with God. David trusted and God accomplished a victory. God blessed and David gave the glory to God. We must remember that David’s God is our God. He is the same God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, Elijah, Peter, Paul . . . is our God. We too easily forget our heritage (and our help). David also reminds us that there is a place for youthful enthusiasm and confidence in God’s work, and that we cannot fight effectively in someone else’s armor (17:38-39). We must be ourselves – our best selves. Victory, both immediate and/or ultimate, is the product of faith. If we were to ask David, “How do you spell faith?” he would answer, “T-R-U-S-T.”
One writer said that Jesus’ primary objective in the lives of his disciples was to build faith (the ability to trust). Whether David, or someone else, or you and I, “this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

Dr. Faught is Pastor of The LaFollette United Methodist Church.