Week 17 April 22-28, 2018

One of the most beloved figures of the Old Testament is the mighty King David, who is often revered as a Psalm-writing poet and a Philistine-killing warrior. Through both his words and his wars, his achievements set him apart all other kings who took the throne of Israel.

But if we look beyond what David accomplished to how and why he was so blessed, we will quickly learn that his success was based solely on his surrender.

The most vivid portrait of David succeeding through his constant surrender to God’s will and power is found in his famous battle with Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. In this chapter, the author paints a clear picture that David has no logical reason in his own strength to expect victory against such an imposing Philistine.

While David is referred to a mere shepherd boy and the youngest of Jesse’s sons, Goliath is described as a champion who towered over everyone and was suited up from head to toe in layers of heavy bronze armor. While David approached the battle with just five smooth stones and a slingshot, Goliath carried a javelin of bronze between his shoulders with the spear’s head weighing six hundred shekels of iron.

Simply put, David did not have the power, the experience, or the tools to slay the giant Philistine.

However, what David did have was a heart surrendered to God’s will and a goal of displaying God’s power so that God alone would be glorified and His divine identity would be known.  

In 1 Samuel 17:46-47, David approaches Goliath and says, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand.”

True to his word, we discover just a few verses later that David slings a stone that sinks into the forehead of Goliath and that brings him to his inevitable death.

Most of us have heard this story so many times that we can easily miss the entire point. We usually exalt the bravery of young David instead of pointing to the sovereign power of God because we skip right past verses 46 and 47 to see the true purpose behind David’s surprising victory. David says “the Lord will deliver you into my hand” so “all the earth may know there is a God in Israel” because “the battle is the Lords.” In these verses David does not boast in his own bravery, but he instead finds security in his surrender to the Lord. He fully understands that his power comes from God alone, and the ultimate purpose of the victory is for God alone. He was simply called to be a surrendered instrument that God could use to bring glory to His name and point directly to His Kingdom.

As believers in Jesus Christ we can learn a lot from the surrender of David. We need to understand that God is not calling us to be strong, but to admit that we need His strength; He is not calling us to fight, but instead is expecting us to be faithful; He is not impressed by our power, but wants to supply us with His provision. To live daily in the grace of God is to continually surrender ourselves to Him as He works in us, through us, and for us, to accomplish what we are incapable of accomplishing on our own.

 So let us celebrate the most important lesson that we are called to learn from a young shepherd boy and his slingshot. The battles we fight belong to the Lord, and He does not need us to be strong but simply to be surrendered.

Our Battles Belong to the Lord

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Blinded by the Light

One of the world’s most memorable Christian conversion experiences is Paul’s Damascus Road meeting with Christ in Acts 9:1-19. In this narrative, Paul is blinded by a light as Jesus announces His identity and questions Paul for persecuting Christian believers. Paul eventually regains his sight several days later as the scales are removed from his eyes, and he immediately responds by being baptized. The great irony of this conversion is that Paul had to become physically blind to fully understand that he was spiritually blind and needed to be saved.

Make Us Measure Our Days

David makes a strong plea to the Lord in Psalm 39:4-6 that he may always know the measure of his short days in this earth. He refers to human life as fleeting, a few handbreaths, and a mere shadow in the light of God’s eternal plan. David wanted to be continuously aware of his short life so he could remain focused on fulfilling his divine calling. We too may admit occasionally that time on earth is short, but perhaps we also need to ask God to keep us ever mindful of the little time we have so we can be faithful to the calling He has laid before us.

Doubting the Power of Our Prayers

It’s amazing how often as Christians we doubt the power of our own prayers. A perfect example of this is found in Acts 12:6-18. In this passage, several believers were praying at the house of Mary for Peter who was imprisoned. When God answered their prayers and an angel released Peter, he arrived at Mary’s home only to find that the guests didn’t believe it was him. A servant girl named Rhoda recognized his voice at the gate and when she ran with joy to share the news with the people, verse 15 says, “They said to her, ‘You are out of your mind.’”

Tips to Keep You on Track

Week 18 Readings:  April 29 - May 5

-Day One:  1 Samuel 18-19; 1 Chronicles 3; Psalm 59; Acts 13

-Day Two:  1 Samuel 20; 1 Chronicles 4; Psalm 56, 57, 142; Acts 14

-Day Three:  1 Samuel 21-22; 1 Chronicles 5; Psalm 52; Acts 15

-Day Four:  1 Samuel 23-24; 1 Chronicles 6; Psalm 54; Acts 16

-Day Five:  1 Samuel 25; 1 Chronicles 7; Acts 17


          This week’s readings will give us a vivid portrait of Saul’s jealousy of David and his multiple efforts to end David’s life. Throughout these near death experiences, God continues to spare David and protect him to eventually fulfill his calling on Israel’s throne. Pay close attention to how David continues to trust in the Lord and surrender to his sovereign plan. In 1 Samuel 24, David has the opportunity to take the throne by force and kill the defenseless Saul in a cave. However, instead of taking matters into his own hands he spares Saul and confesses that he will not lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed. As we read this narrative, let us learn from David that the Lord will fulfill His calling on our lives if we are willing to trust and obey in His plan and not try to rely on our own.