Lessons from David and Goliath

Recently I spoke to my church’s youth group from 1 Samuel 17 – the story of David and Goliath, and I found it really exciting how many parallels there are to Jesus, and some of the lessons we can draw out of that passage. I’ll start with those lessons and then look at Jesus and David.

The world loves the story of David and Goliath – most people think that it’s all about conquering you’re own giants, about being yourself in the face of fear and hardship, of overcoming hardship on your own strength.

They’re dead wrong. The whole point of the passage is that David trusts God and acts on that trust when no one else does. The whole point is that David can’t do it – but God can, and God will vindicate his name.

God makes Israel wait 40 days before he gets David to rescue them. God doesn’t promise us that he will rescue us from our struggles here and now, and he definitely doesn’t promise immediate rescue. In fact he tells us that everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12).

God doesn’t promise to save us from depression or financial difficulty or broken relationships. He doesn’t promise to heal us of cancer or other sickness.

But he does make big promises. He promises that he works everything for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28), and that these hardships are for our growth and to purify us (1 Peter 1, James 1:2-4). And he promises that although he may not “rescue” us from them in this life, if we trust in him then we already are rescued from them, and will be free of them in heaven (Revelations 21).

Will you trust God with you’re giants? Will you wait on his timing to save – be that in this life or through death and into his arms?

 

Here are some of the cool parallels I was talking about before:

David obeys his father. He has been told that he will be king of Israel. He has every reason to be proud and selfish and not do the low jobs that his father makes him do. But instead he obeys selflessly and humbly.

Jesus obeys his Father. Jesus is God, he has every right not to come and give his life for us, the people who have rejected him. Yet he obeyed his father to the full – even to death on a cross. He gave up his glory and humbly gave his life for us to save us. Philippians 2.

David is a good shepherd. He looks after his Fathers sheep – he makes sure that when he goes away to obey his father more fully that he provides someone else to care for the sheep.

Jesus is THE good shepherd. He looks after his Father’s sheep – us. He is the good shepherd who lays his life down for the sheep. And when he did that in obedience to his father. and when he rose again and went to heaven, he sent someone else to look after the sheep – the Holy Spirit (John 14).

David was to be a king after God’s own heart. David trusts God and obeys God fully – and his willingness (in fact eagerness) to fight Goliath shows his faith in God. Yet David did sin and stuff it up.

Jesus is THE true king after God’s own heart. He did not sin.

David conquered Goliath and saved God’s people from slavery to the Philistines

Jesus conquered sin and death when he died for us and rose again, freeing us from slavery to sin.

But Jesus did more than David, as we’ve already seen. He didn’t just fight the enemy and win. He gave his life to win the victory for us, and rose again to prove it.

Will we trust Jesus? He is the true and better giant conquerer. He is the one who crushes the serpents head. He is the saviour – will you trust in him?

He is the only one who can save us from our biggest enemies – sin, satan and death. But he does if we repent and believe and follow him. Will you?

 

Note: Another common misconception about David and Goliath – people think Goliath was a giant in temrs of “Jack and the Beanstalk” Giant. No – he was probably about 3m tall. Only about a foot taller than the tallest man recorded in the 20th century. Not all that unfeasible.

Advertisements

Quick thoughts on John 13:34-35

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”love-love-31236730-500-313

1. Jesus’ love for us is our reason for loving others. That means our love for others should be similar to Jesus’ love for us – servant hearted and self-sacrificial. Costly and yet still freely given. Is it?

2. Jesus is talking to his disciples – Christians, we need to actively love one another. That means we needs to get to know each other personally, we need to trust one another and take initiative to learn each others needs so we can serve each other. Don’t look at others and blame them for not knowing about you because they’re not putting in effort. Instead put in effort yourself. You can only change your own actions.

3. We do this as part of sharing our faith. Yes, we need to preach the gospel with words (yes, that’s hard and scary, but we need to do it). But we also need to show our faith in how we live – especially in relation to the community of believers. If Jesus is real and has really saved us, then it makes sense that we should be different to the world.

4. Paul doesn’t make a distinction between believers. I don’t have the right to love Bill more than Joe, or to care for Sam instead of Tim. I don’t have the right to look at one person and see that they’re harder to love or get on with and just avoid them. No – Jesus tells us to love one another fully, regardless of who they are. That’s tough when you take it seriously. But really good. Thats what should be different about us as Christians – we shouldn’t just love people who are loveable. We should actively love and serve those who are harder to love. We don’t do it in an attempt to impress people, but to serve God.

  • Maybe a helpful point to put this in perspective: if God had only loved those of us who were loveable or worth saving because of something good in us then every single one of us would still be bound of his punishment in hell forever because of our sin.

5. Jesus doesn’t talk here about loving Non-christians, but the way we do that is by serving them. What do they need most? The gospel. We need to love them, and a massive part of that is telling them the gospel – that Jesus alone can save from God’s wrath, since he alone was perfect. We sin and deserve God’s punishment for eternity, but if we put our trust in Jesus and repent then we will be entirely forgiven. What a promise! Tell people!

  • Is my love for others clearly visible? If yes, then is that because I’m trying to win man’s praise or serve God?

Don’t believe everything they tell you.

John 7:52 – They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”

In this passage we see the Chief Priests and the Pharisees rebuking Nicodemus when he stands up for a fair treatment of Jesus. But in doing so they simply prove their ignorance and arrogance. These people were the religious leaders of their day. They were the best of the best, the teachers, the trusted elders. They were the ones you would turn to for your the answers to your questions. They were wrong.

These religious leaders claim that no prophet came from Galilee, yet we know that Jonah and Nahum both came from Galilee.

2 Kings 14:25 – He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher.

 

Nahum 1:1 – An oracle concerning Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.

Both Elkosh and Gath-hepher were located in Galilee.

So what?

I think that there’s an important point for us to learn here: We can’t just take it for granted that what we are told about the bible is the truth. We can’t just expect to be fed good spiritual food. Instead we need to do some research ourselves. We need to put effort into our walk with God if we want to grow – not because God can’t grow us by himself, but because he calls us to be faithful with what he’s given us.

There are so many false teachers out there that we know about. We know of Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen. We know about the Prosperity gospel. But when Jesus talks about false teachers he says they are like wolves in sheep’s clothing. They’re disguised. They aren’t easy to recognise. We need to test out what we are being taught with the only standard that we know is true: God’s word. We need to be like the Bereans who tested Paul’s words out by studying what God’s word said – they were commended for it.

God wants us to ask questions. He wants us to test out people’s words about him with the true standard: his own words. Don’t believe anyone who tells you that it’s wrong to ask questions. Don’t believe anyone who says things that don’t line up with scripture.

Start now: Is what I’ve written true? Were Jonah and Nahum really from Galilee? Is what I’ve said biblical and true?

Acts 17:11 – Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

 

The full gospel, and that alone!

Romans 5:18-19 – For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ

Paul had one and one goal only: he wanted to proclaim the gospel to those who had not yet heard it. He wanted to tell people what Jesus has accomplished: how he has made a way for us all to be forgiven even though we were God’s enemies and deserved only his wrath. For us to be made children of God instead of slaves of sin.

That’s all Paul wanted to speak about. And yet we so often sacrifice this gospel for some watered-down, feel-good story that tries not to offend by avoiding the fact that we are all wretched sinners who cannot save ourselves. We lure people in with gimmicks instead of gospel, with tales instead of truth. Stop fearing man and start fearing God!

This isn’t how it should be! We should be passionate about the gospel – the FULL gospel. The gospel that tells us the truth about our sin – the gospel that shows God’s love for saving us even though we didn’t deserve it. There is no gospel without sin and our need for a saviour! It isn’t love that’s out-of-this-world if it’s just based on how good we are! It’s not truth unless it’s the whole truth.

How do you go with telling people the gospel – the whole gospel? I know I fail miserably at it. Yet there is forgiveness and grace in Jesus Christ my Lord. It’s something I need to be working on. What about you? What about our churches?

Is our goal, like Paul’s was, to share the gospel, the full gospel and only the gospel?

Soli Deo Gloria!

Nat.

There’s nothing like being with Christians.

“For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:18, 19 ESV).

Over the last weekend I’ve been away on a Christian youth camp called KYCK. It was excellent. I went 2 weeks ago and got the chance to hear the talks, which were really good (it’s always good to hear the gospel preached, but especially when it’s preached to 2000 youth). But this weekend I went to volunteer.

The thing that struck me the most was that even though I had never met the guys I was working with, because of our trust in Jesus it didn’t take us long to become quite close. Paul says in the passage above that because of Jesus, all Christians have access to God. He then goes on to say that we are no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow citizens – God’s family.

I experienced that reality over the weekend, and as we drove home I read that verse and it struck me as deeply true. When we become Christians we really do move from being enemies of God into being his children. And as part of that we are automatically part of a massive family. Here are some reasons that being with other like-minded Christians is so encouraging:

  • You can rejoice together about the salvation that is in Jesus. It is the centre-piece, the reason that we can come together as family instead of strangers.
  • You can discuss God’s word with them – learning from their knowledge and encouraging them also.
  • You can know that the relationships you have will last for eternity.
  • There’s an automatic understanding of one another – you can understand each other’s ideas and world-views, you have heaps to talk about straight away and there’s a type of trust that flows from that very quickly

Of course there are Christians who you will meet who you don’t get on with. There will be things you disagree on. But spending time with like-minded Christians who you’ve just met is super-encouraging, and what struck me most was the simple honesty that we could have with one another as we worked to serve God together and learn about him.

Over the weekend I got a glimpse of the truth expressed by Paul in the verse above. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, like being with fellow Christians – because if you and they are both seeking to know God better and to learn, then there should be nothing but mutual encouragement between you. Obviously this should be true of our relationships at church, but also in our relationships with other Christians. Is it true for you? Have you experienced this fellowship?

We still live in a fallen world. A world full of disagreements and goodbyes. But the reality is that because of Jesus we are entirely forgiven, and we can look forward to the reality of heaven, where there will be no sin or suffering or hardships. Where we will be in perfect, selfless fellowship with other Christians in the presence of our God and glorifying him together.

What a wonderful thing that is. Are we looking forward to it?

Standing Together: The perfect Example of Humility – Jesus.

In my last post we looked at pride as one of the biggest enemies of unity between Christians (You can see that post here). Because of this, Paul continues on this theme, giving us the perfect example of someone who was humble – Jesus.

Philippians 2:5-11 – Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is God. He is the creator of the universe. He was enthroned in heaven, in perfect relationship with the other 2 members of the trinity from eternity past. He deserves all glory and honour, all praise. He placed the stars into space with his words. He created life by speaking.

And yet, instead of claiming that praise and honour, he willingly became a man. He was born in a stable – his creation didn’t even make room for him at his birth. He took the form of a “servant” – in the original language (as far as I know) this is better translated as a slave. But Jesus didn’t only do that. He humbled himself further – he willingly died one of the most shameful deaths that there was for us. The creator of the universe, the one who sustains us every second of the day, was beaten, mocked, spat on and then hung up on a tree to die.

Why did he do that? So he could save us. We are sinners. We have disobeyed God’s perfect law, and as a result we deserve his punishment (hell). Nothing we can do can save us from that – we’ve already stuffed it up. But Jesus didn’t sin. He was God and he was man at the same time, so he took our sin and he took God’s punishment for that sin on the cross. He died in our place – in the place of those who had rebelled against him, who hated him, who were his enemies, so we could be forgiven and to show forth God’s character – his justice and perfection along with his mercy and grace and love.

But that doesn’t automatically make us saved. No, God calls us to respond to this free gift – to put our trust in Jesus as the only saviour and to repent of our sins.

Jesus humbled himself completely for God’s glory. In the same way we should be willing to give up our wants for the sake of those around us. We will never be able to meet what Jesus did for us (and that’s not the aim) – so we have no excuse to be proud and selfish. We need to be ready to even suffer for fellow Christians in order to help them. Humility hurts. It’s not an easy thing we’ve been called to. But it is glorious, and it is far better than pride because it glorifies our Father in heaven instead of ourselves.

Jesus is the perfect example of humility. Will I follow that example even when it hurts? Will you?

God Bless!

Nat.

 

Standing Together: Enemy #1 – Pride.

Have you ever tried to work with someone who’s completely arrogant? I don’t mean just a little up themselves, I mean so self-absorbed that it’s just impossible to do anything worthwhile with them. Someone who does all they can to get whats best for themselves, without caring what effect it has on you?

Well the truth is we’re all proud. We’re all arrogant, doing things for our own gain instead of others. Some are openly arrogant. Others seem less so. Others hide it behind a crafty veneer of humility or self-righteousness (that’s usually the category I fit into). But we’re all proud. And pride is one of the biggest things that keep us from working well together as Christians – thats why Paul talks about it in Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Basically, as I’ve already kind of mentioned, Pride is looking at ourselves instead of others. That can be us thinking we are better than others, but it can also be by looking at ourselves and thinking how bad we are – pride is all about comparing ourselves to others.

Instead of focussing on ourselves out focus should be on others, for God’s glory. Instead of focussing on what we want and on bettering things for ourselves, we should be looking at others, seeing what they need and how we can help them. And we should do that so that God will be glorified – so we can encourage fellow Christians and help them come closer to God.

But note: Paul doesn’t say that we can never do what we want to do. No, we need to “also” look at the interests of others. It isn’t wrong to realise we want something and to achieve it. But out priority needs to be to serve and glorify God, even if that means giving up what we want for the sake of someone else getting what they want.

If this happened perfectly then our own needs would get catered for as well, because others would be looking after us. But that rarely happens in the world – people fail, we fail. Does that mean that we shouldn’t live this way? No, of course not! Just because it doesn’t work out how it should (for our benefit and for the benefit of others) doesn’t mean we don’t keep obeying God. We need to obey him to glorify him – not so that others will meet our needs, and we trust him that he will provide what we need – even if he chooses not to provide what we want.

Paul gives us an example of this with the Corinthians. He freely taught them the gospel and worked hard so that they wouldn’t have to support him with money. And even when they questioned his motives and claimed he was just trying to get personal gain he kept teaching them freely – because he wanted to teach them the truth, not get his own way.

As Christians we need to work together so that we can serve God effectively. That will only happen if we look after each other. We can’t just act like islands, seeking our own benefit. We need to be looking at the needs of others and helping them as best as we can – and if all Christians did that then our own needs would be catered for as well.

So how are you doing in the area of Pride? It’s one of the things I struggle with heaps. Are you looking at the Christians around you and asking what you can do for them? Or what they can do for you? Are you seeking God’s glory or your own?