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Last week, we examined a problem that existed about 3,000 years ago. The nation of Israel and Philistia were at war. Encamped on two opposite hills, the Philistine army sent out their champion, Goliath to challenge the Israelites to send out someone to fight him. Winner takes all.
Meanwhile, there’s a boy tending sheep in Bethlehem, named David. We met him last time, remember? He is the youngest of eight sons of Jesse, three of which were on the hillside with King Saul.
One day Jesse said to David, “Take this bushel of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread to your brothers. Give this cheese to their captain and see how the boys are getting along; and bring back news from them.”
So David left the sheep with another shepherd, and took off early the next morning with the gifts. He arrived at the outskirts of the camp just as the Israeli army was leaving for the battlefield with shouts and battle cries. Soon, the Israeli and Philistine forces stood facing each other, army against army.
David quickly left his things with a baggage officer and hurried out to the ranks to find his brothers. As he was talking with them, he saw Goliath the giant…. step out from the Philistine troops and shout his challenge to the army of Israel. As soon, as they saw him, the Israeli army began to run away in fright.
David over heard some of the soldiers talking, “have you seen the giant? He has insulted the entire army of Israel. And have you heard about the huge reward the king has offered to anyone who kills him? The king has offered one of his daughters for a wife, and his whole family will be exempted from paying taxes!” Now, there’s a reward, “tax exemption” that we can appreciated even in the 21st century!
Then, David spoke to some others to verify what he heard. “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his insults to Israel” he asked. “And, furthermore, who is this heathen Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”
But when David’s oldest brother heard David talking like that, he was angry. “What are you doing around here, anyway? He demanded. “What about the sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? You little brat! All you wanted to do was to come out here and watch the battle!”
“What have I done now?” David replied. “I was only asking a question!”
Now, you can empathize with young David. Doesn’t that sound just like a big brother? Indeed, somethings never do change!
Then, David walked over to some others and asked them the same thing. When people began to realize that David was serious, someone told the king what he said. Then, the king sent for David.
Here’s the First Principle for today: When facing problems, we need to start with a relationship with God.
Certainly, problems can get our attention and by nature…..encourage us to seek God. Sometimes, we start a relationship with God in the midst of a problem, and that is wonderful place to begin.
David had a relationship with God prior to coming to that battlefield. He wasn’t frantically looking around for God, in order to get help in this situation. David already had a relationship with Him, and so he is just calmly gathering the facts.
As a shepherd, David spent plenty of time alone watching and guiding the sheep. He spent many of those hours worshipping God. He became an expert at playing the harp and wrote many worship songs.
In fact, the book of Psalms in the Bible, is filled with David’s poetry. God was not a stranger to David. So, God was always with him, no matter where he went. Whether… shepherding or on the battlefield, David knew that God was with him.
That is why David could ask those questions ……That is why David felt insulted by the Philistines who worshiped a pagan diety……because they were insulting God’s army, and therefore, they were insulting David’s God….
Each of us needs a relationship with God, and we can have a relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus. Right now, if you have never done so, pray with me and start that relationship today.
I want to know you. I believe that Jesus died for my sins. Please forgive my selfishness and pride. Please forgive me for all of the things that I have done that were wrong. I want a relationship with you. Come into my life. I am yours, and I receive your Holy Spirit. Amen
Thank you Jesus…. Thank you Jesus
Next Sunday, we will continue with David’s story and consider the second and third principles.
To read the story in the Bible go to 1 Samuel 17