Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! …”
On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and
terrified. (1Sam 17:10-11)
How would you face that Philistine? It was a very difficult time for the people of God, the Israelites. There an army stood before them and challenged them to the point that Israel was dismayed, terrified, deeply shaken and greatly afraid. They froze and couldn’t do anything – they couldn’t advance to fight, they couldn’t pray, they couldn’t think, they couldn’t answer the challenge! This situation can represent well the difficult times that stand before us sometimes: Is it the end of year final exams or new life pressures at University? Is it loss of a job or a botched business deal? Is it apolitical campaign race? Some of these challenges can sound and punch like the Philistine’s words?
How do you face difficult times? Let us quickly observe that when all the Israelites
were dismayed and terrified, they had only heard the Philistine’s words – and they
had not considered the Lord God with them. One way to face such frightening
situations is to freeze and go numb as one stung and paralyzed, or to panic in fear
just as the Israelites were greatly shaken. When all you hear are the words of that
enemy and all you see is the large size of that problem and all you think about is the complexity of the situation, your strength will go down and it can make you sick. Yes, we may hear the Philistine’s words – the times may be difficult and the load may be heavy, but we should not succumb and respond without hearing some more –
hearing from the Lord God who is on our side.
Even the Philistine, he was looking at the armies of Israel and saying, ‘I defy…’
–thinking, this is just another nation; he had not considered the God of that nation,
who is also a mighty fighter. This ignorance continued when he spoke to David
contemptuously… but he learnt some news when David responded with words and
action: ‘I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel’ (1Sam 17:45). This is the winning posture: Listen all the way; when you hear what God is saying, the Philistine’s words will not shake you. When you know the Power of God who is with you, you can face that mountain with confidence that you will surmount it.
The Lord God Almighty will give you the discipline and wisdom to overcome; He will
give you the vision of His Power greater than that giant before you, and your ears will hear and you will speak more powerfully that the Philistine’s words. Now you are not stranded perplexed – you can think and plan, you can worship and pray, you can
advance and fight and win. May the Lord dress you with the courage to face the days ahead with assurance that His Power will carry you to victory.
God bless you all.
So he asked Jesse; Are these all the sons you have?” “There is still the youngest,”
Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.” Samuel said,
“Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.” (1Sam 16:11)
You are warmly welcome!
For those in primary and secondary schools, third term is here – a season of high
excitement as serious exams knock on the door. May the Lord dress you with the
courage to face the days ahead with assurance that He will carry you through
successfully. He has a clear purpose for your life and He will not fail any who trust in Him. When he was anointed king, David was not only the youngest but he was also physically young and tender. The fact that the Lord searched for him is evidence that there is no one too small to be missed by God’s roving eye. He sees each one of us– even in a mammoth crowd, every name is known by the Almighty God. Trust Him and you will not be disappointed.
Prophet Samuel announced that they would have to wait for the youngest; this was
after seven sons of Jesse had passed by and the prophet himself had been warned
by God not to look at outward stature but to listen to the Lord who looks at the heart, then He calls and equips. In this life on earth, the Lord has an assignment for you; He is searching for you to point you to your rightful duty station, and He will give you the required resources to perform your duties. Do not waste time in activity that is off-side when your Maker is waiting for you to occupy your place.
The Lord has promised eternal fellowship for those who believe and follow Him when he calls. The ultimate is the promise that as normal human eyes saw Jesus Christ
ascend, we shall behold him come. He will be faithful to His covenant (his part). The faithful on earth respond, ‘Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!’, while some do not want to imagine what this would be like. And when He comes, accountability is demanded from all. A true longing for the coming of the Lord can only reside in a heart washed, ready and sure to receive Him with fruit to show from faithful stewardship.
There will be no excuses for not performing your duty, because the master who calls also equips – with material and intellectual resources. For those whose house is
always set, they beam with joy at the surprise of a visitor (with no pretense). Keeping the house ready is tough but necessary business. Is your heart ready and are you faithfully trading with the gifts you were entrusted? Will you be among those singled out to receive words of appreciation and conferred with a new name: “good and faithful servant”? Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming soon” (Rev. 22:12).
God bless you all.
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today,
so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the LORD promised on oath to your ancestors. (Deut 8:1)
The question of ‘who will get there’ is real in many life situations: in a politically charged atmosphere with campaigns reeling, or when you have submitted your tender or job application, or even when waiting for University admissions after high school. The fever drives some people to speculate or take opinion polls or review historical trends, in order to predict what result may come. After forty years of the historical
exodus journey, those who have not lost hope are anxiously asking how it will all be when they enter and possess the land; and after losing parents, uncles and numerous
neighbours to death in the wilderness – an entire generation gone – it is realistic to ask the question of who will finally get there and see that Promised Land.
Moses provides the answer and repeats it several times to emphasize the importance of the formula: ‘Be careful to follow every command’. Many have heard, but will they follow? Head knowledge seems not to readily translate into action, and the tendency to go astray is not only seen among the Israelites who heard Moses speak but even among today’s Christians who read these stories. Jesus said, ‘… unless you change and
become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt 18:3). Overcoming worldly ambition and the lust of power is vital. Little children will more easily be taught to follow and obey a Master, and they will get so accustomed that it will become to them second nature. Although some ask many questions, they are more easily convinced and settled with simple answers.
Moses was speaking to those who were preserved because they were ‘little children’ at the beginning of the Exodus; the rebellious who were 20 years and older perished in the wilderness. However, while there are lessons to learn from little children, it is not just about age alone. In Deut 8:1-6, Moses makes clear four important principles:
The Reason for the human race to be in reverent relationship with God; The Refinement of the human race is through testing and discipline; The Resourcing of the human race is through divine providence; The Result of the reverent relationship with God is eternal joy and peace – to live and increase and enter and possess the land. These four
principles still hold for pilgrims of our generation, and we have the task of casting away all manner of distractions to stay the course, walking in obedience to God and revering him. This is the only assurance for a beneficial inheritance.
God bless you all.