Defeated. It's no way to live. Part 1.

10:02 AMHeather

When I was a little girl, I always loved to hear about David.  The story with the giant was one of my favorites on the Bible story audio tape I listened to as I went to sleep.  I think I felt a connection with him because my dad's name was David.  I can still remember part of the chorus to the song David and His Hot Shot Slingshot, which was the children's musical my sister did at our church when I was about 6.

David.  Oh, yeah.  Been there, done that.  

And so, to be brutally honest, it was with a bit of cynicism that I stepped into Jennie Allen's study called Chase.  A study about David.  With that skeptical familiarity I read up today in 1 Samuel 17:1-51, which is the story of David and Goliath.

Pun intended, though I've read it and heard it dozens of times, today it hit me square between the eyes.  

We have so much to learn here.  I took 7 pages of notes in my prayer journal.  Not even kidding.  I come to you today with excitement to share what I am chewing on.  I believe that it could be life changing.  Scratch that.  I know that what I want to share SHOULD be life changing.  Please, please--won't you dive into it with me?  No matter how many times you've heard the story.  I want us to take our time.  So, we are going to plod through in a series of posts. I don't even know how many days we will camp here.  Other than to say as many as it takes to glean the riches it has for us.  I hope you will take the time to really marinade in these God given insights.  Soak in them.  Be changed by them.

Today, this familiar passage tells us some secrets about how we live our lives.  Today, I am convicted of how I live in defeat.  Defeated.  It's NO way to live.  And we don't have to.  

So, grab a pen and paper.  Grab your Bible.  Say a prayer.  Get quiet and brace yourself.  Consider this an interactive devotion.  I want to walk you through it exactly like I was walking through it this morning. This is some good stuff.  It's GOD stuff.  And I am confident I am not overselling it.

1.  Read 1 Samuel 17:1-7.  Goliath had chops.  The man was 9 feet tall.  9 feet.  Have you ever stood next to that statue of Dirk Nowitzki at the Legoland in Grapevine?  

That's my girl, at age 7.  She is tall for her age.  I'm estimating that she was just over 4' tall back then.  Dirk stands at 7'.  Goliath had 24 inches on Dirk.  That is a BIG man.  He also had some pretty impressive armor and weapons, as this passage tells us.  He really does go down in the Hall of Fame for Formidable Foes. Which leads me to ask...

...What giants are your facing?  Really stop and think about what is coming up against you.  What is taunting you?  What do you fight on a daily basis?  What consumes your thoughts?  What depletes your energy and zaps your strength?  Depression?  Worry?  A health scare?  A relationship crisis?  What is trying to take you over?  How big does that giant feel?  Try to describe it--similar to the description of Goliath.  Jot down some thoughts on how this giant is attacking you, how big it feels to you, how it makes you feel.

2.  Read 1 Samuel 17:8-11.  What do your giants tell you?  How do they taunt you?  Do you hear a voice that tells you that you'll never win?  What are the whispers you hear in the dark as you climb into bed that make you feel overcome? Write them down.  That internal dialogue that plagues you. Do you respond like the Israeli army?  Are you terrified and dismayed, as they were? Do you shudder when that giant whispers again that you are going to lose the battle?  I must be transparent with you.  I am like the Israelis.  I tend to live with that same sick feeling in my gut like when I was a kid with a speech impediment.  I'm the butt of the jokes.  I'm an outcast.  I don't belong.  I'm not accepted.  I'll never win.  I'm kicked down by worry and circumstances, and I am terrified and dismayed. I quake in my boots.  All I can see is the huge, huge foe towering over me.

3.  Read 1 Samuel 17:12-16.  Jesse had 8 sons.  8 young men.  We see here that the oldest 3 are there, at the battle field, on the front lines, part of that fearful Israeli army.  And, here is the descriptor of David:

--David was the youngest (verse 14)

--3 sons were in the army BUT David [just]
went back & forth to tend sheep (verse 15)

Let's chew on this a minute.  In other words, David was a nobody.  He was the youngest of 8 boys.  The runt of the litter.  Not the one who joined the army.  Nope.  The little dude that got to do the tedious and menial task of tending sheep.  I've learned that shepherds in that day were akin to modern day trash men.  Not a job anyone dreamed of.  Sorta your lot in life.  Looked down upon.  Not honorable.  What are the belittling things you believe about yourself?  What have you been told about yourself?  Who are you comparing yourself to--who are your "oldest 3 who joined the army"?  What standard are you NOT measuring up to?  The Pinterest mom?  The superwoman who does it all?  The airbrushed celebrity?

And verse 16 gives us a huge insight.  Look at it.  For 40 days, the Philistines came forward every morning and every evening and took their stand.  Taunting.  Intimidating.  Bullying.  How long have your giants been taking their stand?  How long have these voices been whispering to you?  How long has this been going on?  Really stop and ponder this.  For how many days, weeks, months or years have you been in the shadow of your giant?

4.  Read 1 Samuel 17:17-24.  So little David has a job to do.  Just be the courier, his dad says.  Run along, little boy.  Take those big solider brothers some food. Check on them for me.  Bring me back an update.  Because those big boys are with the king and the army and they are doing the important work of fighting those mean ole Philistines.  As a mom, I'm not completely sure how to interpret this passage.  But it sure sounds like some favoritism to me.  Dad doesn't seem to concerned about how David might feel or fare, running toward the battlefield.  Nope. Dad seems focused on those 3 oldest that he obviously deems as brave and worthy and honorable. David is an afterthought, at best.  Not more than a house slave at worst. Hmm.  How did David feel?  Did he read between the lines?  Did he feel like nothing but a courier, rather than one of these obviously revered older sons?  Did he feel less than?

So, David is off and running.  Obedient.  Trustworthy.  No matter how his family perceives him or what messages he might receive of his worth.  And this is it.  The climax is building.  Because out comes Goliath, with his usual taunts.  It says so, right there, in verse 23, "Goliath...shouted his usual defiance."  Same song, on an endless loop.  Same response from the Israeli army, in verse 24.  

When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear.  

Today, for the first time ever, this verse had me scratching my head.  When they saw him, they ran in great fear?  Um, hadn't they seen him every day for 40 days, twice  day, doing the same dadgum thing?  He had become an all too familiar threat.  But he still packed the same punch.  Exacting the same fearful response.  No matter how many times they saw it or heard it, they were overwhelmed.  Does that strike a chord with you?  Are you stuck in an endless cycle of facing a circumstance or "giant," and it remains as powerful as ever?  Maybe even more so than ever? Because it won't go away. Maybe you are so weary with the fear of it all that your fear is building, your ability to cope is spent? 

Here's the question I have for you.  Do you run in great fear from the giants--although you've heard their familiar taunts time and time again?  Look.  This is big.  So be prepared.  This giant had not won.  In fact, he hasn't even fought them.  He's all talk and no action.  He's tall and big and fearsome.  But he is all bark and no bite.  And still you run?  In great fear?  At just the threat?

Read this next sentence carefully.  It's the truth.  The heart of the matter that determines the outcome, no matter how the Israelites may have felt.  He is the FACT.  

This giant served a doomed king.  

The giants that are setting themselves up against you?  They are doomed.  They may taunt and yell and raise themselves up to their full height, with their fancy armor and weapons.  But, they have no power.  They have no victory.  They are doomed.  

Seriously.  Whatever you are facing, it will not win.  Not ultimately.  It is doomed.  Your giants?  They may overshadow you now, defeating you.  But, in the end, they will be defeated.  It's inevitable.  Don't let them fool you.  We have this as a promise.  To stand on.  To take as a matter of fact.  The question is...will you?  Will you take this truth and grasp the freedom it's intended to give?

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.
You have enlarged the nation
    and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
    as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
    when dividing the plunder.
For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
    you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
    the bar across their shoulders,
    the rod of their oppressor.

Every warrior’s boot used in battle
    and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
    will be fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:2-7

If you've heard verses 6-7 before, especially around Christmas time, please read this whole passage with fresh eyes.  You may be in darkness (v. 2), in the shadow of your giants.  It may even feel like the shadow of death, like verse 2 goes on to say.  But, a light will dawn.  A light HAS dawned.  We will rejoice before Him.  We will have harvest.  We will have plunder.  HE has shattered the yoke that burdens you--the rod of your oppressor.  Do you hear that?  HE will silence your giants.  He will cease the taunting.  In other words, GOD will tell your giants to be quiet.  He's gonna shut them up, for good.  They may make you feel defeated.  But, they will taste NO victory.  

Want to know why?

Because a child was born.  A son was given.  To the earth.  On the cross.  His reign and his peace have no end.  He will reign...get this.  Ready?  ON THE THRONE OF DAVID.  Don't ya love it?  It gives me chills.

Your giant may be like Goliath.  Taunting you day by day.  Evoking fear.  Trembling.  Dismay.  And you feel like nothing but a shepherd boy sent off to the dangerous battlefield by someone who sees you just as a courier.  You may feel unimportant.  Unworthy.  Nothing but a spectator.  

But, listen here.  You are important.  If you relate to David in the story thus far, then re-read verse 7.  CHRIST is said to reign on the throne of David.  You are important in the kingdom of God.  You are victorious because a little baby was born.  And died.  To ensure our ultimate victory.  To break our chains of defeat.  We can be sure because "the zeal of the Lord Almighty  WILL accomplish this."  Not might accomplish this.  But WILL accomplish this.

Though you stand in the shadow of giants who tell you that you will be overcome, it won't last.  Their hold on you is short lived, my bloggy friend.  Though you may run in fear today, hold on.  Because God has a plan.  For your future.  For your good.  To give you hope!  So, press on.  You just let those giants know that they serve a doomed king.  It's THEIR defeat that's imminent.  

Chew on that.  Let's regroup here on Monday and keep marching through this familiar story.  There are treasures to be found!  To be continued....

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