Over a lifetime, you’ll probably be able to count those special Christian friends on just one hand. But there’ll be one person, one very unique friendship that will stick out in your mind. A bond between the two of you that defies time, miles, and blood…a brother or sister in the Lord, that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, will be there for you, no matter what. Jonathan and David had that type of relationship…a connection that David called, “wonderful, a love more wonderful than that of women.” (II Samuel 1:25-26) If you haven’t reached out to this special person in a while, I urge you to do it today…if nothing more than to just thank them for their friendship, and celebrate the love you have for each other in Christ.
Before there was anything…there was God. Before the world even began, God laid the groundwork…the foundation, and created everything…out of nothing. And once the foundation was laid, He placed the world in the universe. To help Job realize that God’s ways are far above man’s, the Lord asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” (Job 38:4) But probably one of the most well-known Messianic prophecies found in Isaiah 28:16, speaks of the sure foundation of Jesus Christ. For without a firm foundation, the house will crumble…but without the sure foundation of Jesus, our life will crumble.
Goliath was a formidable giant who taunted the Israelite army. His very appearance struck fear in the hearts of the Jewish soldiers. For Goliath was decked out in a bronze helmet, 125 pounds of bronze armor, carried a bronze javelin with a 15 pound iron point, and required a shield-bearer to carry his huge shield ahead of him. But when David saw Goliath, he didn’t see an overwhelming threat…a overpowering force or potential danger…he saw rather, a miracle waiting to happen. For David kept his eyes on God – not the situation or extenuating details surrounding it. Yes, David was up against insurmountable odds…but he had a secret weapon Goliath didn’t know about…David had God.
If you have ever been part of a marriage conference or counseling…they teach you the art of active listening. Each has the others undivided attention as they converse back and forth…repeating back to the person what they heard and asking, “Is this what you meant?” There is much more listening done than speaking, and more unselfish attention given than self-centeredness. Listening to the Lord is a lot like that. It is not blabbering on incessantly about our own feelings and emotions…it’s listening with all our being…taking the time to be quiet…hearing and then heeding His voice.
God had sent the Prophet Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint one of Jesse’s seven sons as King. As six strapping young men paraded past Samuel…each time he thought to himself, “This has to be the one!” But God reminded Samuel in verse 7, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” It wasn’t until the youngest son, David, was called from the pasture, that God declared, “He is the one.” This should give all of us encouragement…especially those who have said to themselves, “I have nothing to offer God.” The Lord doesn’t consider outward appearances. He looks only at what He can do through us if we’re a willing worker.
God looks carefully at what we offer Him. But He looks even more closely at what we don’t offer Him. Are you withholding some area of your life for fear He’ll tell you to stop it? Are you denying Him a corner of your world because you enjoy it way too much? What we offer up to the Lord is much more important to us than to Him…for what He’s looking for is a total surrender…a relinquishing of ourselves…and a giving up of control. As I Samuel 15:22 states, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” God’s looking for our obedience not some ritual.
In so many struggles we can find ourselves totally defenseless…outmanned and outmaneuvered. And as the fighting escalates, we are worn down and demoralized by the toll it takes on us…mentally, physically, and spiritually. For when you are ill-equipped for battle…you have no chance. Why then do we think we have to do all the fighting, when God tells us He’s got our back? Spiritual warfare is His specialty, not ours. All He asks of us is to stand and watch Him work. For in Psalm 91:7-8 says, “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes…”
David and his men were holed up in the Desert of Maon where a wealthy landowner with thousands of sheep and goats pastured his livestock…his name of Nabal. He was married to a beautiful and intelligent woman named Abigail. David and his men had protected Nabal’s shepherds and sheep…so when shearing started, his men had come with greetings, looking for favor…but instead, found insults being hurled at them by Nabal. When David got wind of this, he gathered his men to launch an assault on the household. Meanwhile, Abigail had been told of her husband’s faux pas and quickly intervened by packing up a large quantity of provisions, and setting off to intercept David. When their paths crossed, Abigail was able to very eloquently and diplomatically change David’s mind…and so halting the annihilation of her entire household.
Israel was weaponless…the armaments to protect and defend themselves- swords and spears – were absent…leaving them vulnerable to the enemy. We too can be open to attack from the enemy if we are swordless, for it says in Ephesians 6:17, “Take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” The Word of God…the Bible, is the mightiest weapon we have in our arsenal against the enemy. Without our sword of the Spirit, we are as unprotected as the Israelites facing the Philistine army were. That’s why memorizing Scripture is so important…for you never know when you might be ambushed and need that trusty sword at your side.
Chapter 25 of I Samuel is the story about David, Nabal, and Nabal’s wife Abigail. Living in the area of Maon was a wealthy rancher by the name of Nabal, whose name meant Fool. For as mean, harsh, and unpredictable as he was, his lovely wife Abigail was noble, strong, and virtuous…even to being likened to Proverbs 31:10…”A wife of noble character.”
David and his men had been living in the area and interacting with Nabal’s shepherds and flocks, so when shearing started, David had sent men to ask for a gift for guarding the flocks. But rather than being gracious, Nabal had hurled insults. This infuriated David to the point of retaliation, but Abigail was also told of Nabal’s stupidity…so she quickly gathered a large quantity of bread, meat, and wine and set off to meet David’s army charging towards them. In perfect diplomacy, Abigail was able to defuse the situation, and David accepted her gifts, thus saving the lives of all the men in her family.