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September 2020

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Books for the Journey:

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1 Samuel 17:1-18:4
Goliath was one big guy and a very boisterous one. But because God was no longer with Saul, this one man’s braggadocio sent the entire Israeli army to flight. They had forgotten the Words of God given to Moses, which Moses then placed in a song (Deut 31:30-32:43),

30 How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the LORD had given them up?

The Lord had “given them up” because they failed to follow Him.

I love the story of David and Goliath because it takes an ordinary boy and pits him against an extraordinary man, Goliath. David knew Goliath could be defeated, and defeated by him because he had other experiences to draw from, the taking out of the lion and the bear. David knew how to rely on God because he gained practice while hanging out with the sheep, alone in the sheep fields. Today at church my pastor warned about substituting the joy and power of corporate worship for the intimacy that only private worship and devotion will bring. Corporate worship is needed; however, corporate worship with out private intimacy defeats the purpose of private prayer time. Our intimacy with God can only be built one on one and not inside the church with a crowd. It is only in that one on one relationship with God where we learn to recognize His voice when we hear it, and learn to trust Him as well as discerning His will for our lives.

David’s exchange with his brother, or should I say Eliab’s rebuke of David gives us another clue into David’s place in his family.

28 But when David's oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. "What are you doing around here anyway?" he demanded. "What about those few sheep you're supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and dishonesty. You just want to see the battle!"

David’s response to his oldest brother, the one Samuel thought looked like a king before God told him, “No,” should resound in the hearts of all siblings who were picked on by the older brother or sister, “What have I done now?” God uses the scrawny ones, the ones people think, family members especially, have no future, or a limited one at best. That fact should set a lot of people who come to this site heart’s soaring.

David killed Goliath with what he was familiar with he didn’t use the weapons of the experts; in fact he couldn’t handle those weapons. Folks we need to use the “weapons” that God has equipped up to use and not the weapons of the world’s system. When Moses complained to God that he neither had the aptitude nor the speech to convince a nation that God would use him to deliver then from bondage, God asked, “What’s that in your hand?” Moses’ rod, a shepherd’s rod was the simple instrument God worked through to bring his people out of Egypt. What is that in your hands? Be it a slingshot, or shepherd’s rod God can use it to not only deliver you but also deliver your family. Hallelujah! But be forewarned, self-confident people in God will always intimidate those who don’t know their God. Daniel 11:32 “ …but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”

John 8:21-30

Jesus lays out two Kingdoms separated by the word “not.” Unbelievers will die in their sins, believers will “not.” The location of theses two Kingdoms are diametrically opposed, one is above and the other below, one is of this world the other is not.

For the unbelievers the “other” Kingdom where the “not” dying in “their sins” will occur in difficult and impossible to understand. Believers have access not only to a coded book, but a voice, the voice of the Father, and the only way to break that code is by way of the Father though Jesus Christ.

Psalm 111:1-10
This Psalm proclaims the wonderful and amazing ways of the Lord, and for me verses 7-8 hooks into one of the reasons why I love the Book of John and that is Jesus’ numerous use of the word true, truth, and truly, at least in the King James Version.

7 All he does is just and good,
and all his commandments are trustworthy.

8 They are forever true,
to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity.

Jesus uses those three words over 90 times in the Book of John, and most he is using it about his own character, words and the essence of His being. Apart from Jesus there is no truth.

Proverbs 15:11
Death and Destruction are capitalized to indicate they are a person, place or thing, hmmm, something to think about.

Grace and peace,

Goliath is over nine feet tall (with a brother Lahmi that’s just as big) with armor alone weights over 125 pounds. David bringing supplies (this is not normal – suggesting the army has been held at bay with fear for over a month) and is disgusted by the giant’s taunts. Saul was the logical man to face Goliah (not only as leader but also as the largest man in the Israelite forces) where David is young, untrained, and too small to even walk in Saul’s oversized armor. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who doe not need to be ashamed” (2 Tim 2:15). The real difference, however, was David’s total confidence in God as Lord of the armies an advanced fearlessly for the honor of God’s name. “Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands” (Psalm 119:73). Was David’s courage less than 100% by the fact that he took 5 rocks instead of only the one he carried? An archer or slinger normally carried 5 arrows or rocks and this is the number by Jewish tradition that represents God in that 10 represent a total and God is half of a godly Jew (this is why an aravah, or willow branch. is beaten 5 times against the floor on the holiday of Hosha’anah Raba, last day of the Sukkot). David didn’t start out a godly man, it took a lot of work and he made quite a few mistakes along the way. Since Goliah had cursed one of God’s people, God was bound by His covenant to curse Goliah. The returning David was met with singing and dancing – “Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing” (Psalm 30: 11). How can Baptists be against dancing (many Baptist halls are built slanted with fixed pews to lessen the chance they would ever be used for dancing)? Saul likely asked about genealogy in order to help determine if David might be a contender for the throne. In identifying his father as “your servant,” David was likely trying to politically emphasize that Jesse was no threat to the king. David quickly forms one of greatest male friendships in the Bible with Jonathan, Saul’s oldest son. The gifting of treasured items by Jonathan was a symbolic transfer of royal power from Saul’s family to David.

There is no salvation except by Christ (see Acts 4:12 and 7:25), who came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). In Acts 26:22-23, Paul says that he taught nothing more that what was delivered by Moses and the prophets. He does not mean to suggest that God is not able to save but that the salvation of the human race was entrusted to the hands of Jesus the Messiah. Many must have thought or even wished Jesus mad, “Will he kill himself?” Christ replies that He is not of this world suggesting that their reference to self-destruction showed that they were governed by mad passions. They directly ask, “who art thou?” He said, “I have many things to say” to reprove (“to judge you”) and expose your pride and hypocrisy. Let it not be thought, therefore, that this judgment is rash or harsh as such is commanded by God. In the end, many still did not understand (while at the same time, many others believed – mostly only the commoners). But when you have crucified the Son of man, then they will have all the proof they need – that Jesus did nothing for himself but in those things that please God as the Messiah.

Each line of today’s psalm in Hebrew begins with a subsequent letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The “fear” in this psalm is not about a shrinking effort to flee but an awesome sense of God (including His power, truth, and justice) as viewed in the humbling context of man’s finiteness and moral degeneracy expressed through submission to His will. I’ve used this verse on one of my many “Know Fear” T-shirts. The beginning of wisdom is found in temper of reverence and awe.

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