Heroes of the FaithFebruary 28-March 4
David was Overlooked
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)
The recent film “Underdog” depicts the famed career of Kurt Warner. In 1999 the St. Louis Rams signed Trent Green to a four-year, $17.5 million contract. The Rams expected Green to turn around their young team that had gone 4-12 the previous season. In their third preseason game, everything was going well, with Green having completed 28 of 32 passes on the night. Their high hopes were soon dashed when Green took a vicious hit to the knee. Green’s season was finished, and it appeared to be the death knell for the Rams’ season as well. Taking his place would be a lowly and unheard-of peasant by the name of Kurt Warner. Four years prior, Warner was stocking shelves at an Iowa grocery store. History, however, would shatter those expectations. Warner finished the season with 41 touchdown passes as he led the Rams to a Super Bowl victory, where he was named MVP. (Mike Leake)
In 1 Samuel 16, David was overlooked by everyone else, but God saw something no one else could see and that was David’s heart. God sent the prophet Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint a new king. Jesse’s sons became the focus of Samuel’s attention: a line of seven young men—starting with the oldest and tallest. Samuel made his way down the line, and as he stopped to look at each one, God told him that was not the one. God made a point of saying that height and appearance don’t matter. God looks at what is inside—in the heart. David was chosen to be the next king because, as Samuel put it, God “sought out a man after his own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14).
God finds possibilities for grace in the most unlikely of people. You and I are identified and chosen by God too. By his grace and mercy, God calls us to serve Him in this world even though others may overlook us. God is looking for people after His own heart. Is that you?
Thank God for seeing in you what no one else can see. Ask God to grow your heart for Him.
David Was A Giant Killer
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. – 1 Samuel 17:45 (ESV)
David’s defeat of Goliath is one of the most vivid examples of what the fear of God can accomplish. In the Bible, the army of God was faced with a situation that seemed much bigger than them. They felt too small and unequipped to handle the giant Goliath and his fighting skills. David believed the promises of God more than he feared Goliath. The Lord had promised the Israelites that they would conquer the Philistines, and David trusted Him.
The hero of this story is not David. The hero of the story is God. David is really a picture of the Greater Champion Jesus Christ. David defeated the enemy and delivered a nation—in one battle for a short time. Jesus Christ defeated the enemy—the devil, sin, and death—and delivered His people for all time.
Often, when we face a situation that seems huge, we look around and see all the reasons why we can’t win. Maybe we think that we’re not smart enough, not equipped enough, or don’t have enough money. We see our limitations. And we magnify our weaknesses and shortcomings. What giants in your life are possible opportunities for God to show His strength?
Praise God as the ultimate victorious warrior. Ask God to defeat any giants you are facing.
David Learned to Wait
Behold, this day your eyes have seen how the Lord gave you today into my hand in the cave. And some told me to kill you, but I spared you. I said, “I will not put out my hand against my lord, for he is the Lord’s anointed.” – 1 Samuel 24:10 (ESV)
Anne Lamotte said, “You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” To be human is to have enemies. We either know people we have a hard time loving, or we know people who have a hard time loving us or both. Jesus assumed we would have enemies when he said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt.5:44). The question is not whether or not we have enemies. The issue is whether or not we will love and pursue them at a great cost to ourselves.
1 Samuel 16 records the story of Samuel anointing David to be king—the Lord’s anointed. And yet Saul also is God’s anointed. We find David running for his life from Saul, who is jealous. In 1 Samuel 24, Saul enters a cave where David and his men are hidden. By cutting off a piece of Saul’s robe while the king doesn’t notice, David proves that he could easily have taken Saul’s life. But David regrets even this action against Saul. Instead, David spares Saul’s life. David could have taken Saul’s life to speed up the process of becoming the next king. However, David’s confidence in God’s anointing led him to trust in God’s timing.
In life, we are often challenged to trust God’s timing. We want something now, but God seems to be in no hurry. Our impatience needs to be shaped by trust in God’s power and God’s schedule. What are you waiting for? What is God asking you to do while you wait?
Praise God for His perfect plan and His perfect timing. Ask God to show you what He wants you to do while you wait.
David Had a Mighty Fall
In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful. – 2 Samuel 11:1-2 (ESV)
A man was talking to his psychiatrist. He said, “I’ve been misbehaving and my conscience is bothering me.” The doctor responded, “And you want something that will strengthen your willpower?” The man replied, “Actually I was thinking of something that would weaken my conscience.”
In a season of weakness, when David should have been at the battle, David made some of the worst decisions of his life. The Bible regards David as the model king of Israel. Yet even David, “a man after God’s own heart,” commits adultery and then commits murder in an attempt to cover up his own sin. If anyone were immune to moral failure, you’d think it would be the boy-turned-king who watched a giant fall at his feet. The one whom God miraculously spared from death and handed a kingdom. The one who wrote dozens of songs about his devotion to God, and God’s devotion to him. The one whom God specifically chose for his loyalty and obedience. But even great faith doesn’t inoculate us against temptation.
When it comes to sin, we’re never more than a couple of bad choices away from our worst moment.
David’s sin, much like many of ours, began as a slow slide. Maybe you have vocational boredom or spiritual apathy. Maybe you’re having a mid-life crisis, or maybe you’re just feeling lazy. The enemy can attack at any season so we must always be on guard.
Praise God for not giving up on you when you do fail. Ask God to help you recognize any areas of spiritual apathy in your life that may lead you towards sin.
David Practiced Confession and Repentance
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10 (ESV)
The NY Times reported something unusual that happened in Manhattan years ago. Two women beckoned people to unburden their souls. One would silently flag the attention of someone passing by, and point them to words that had been stenciled on the glass, “Air Your Dirty Laundry. 100% Confidential. Anonymous. Free!” She would extend a clipboard with a blank sheet of paper and an envelope stamped with the word “secret” to any takers. Hundreds took that clipboard and paused to write down their sins and secrets, and seal it in the envelope.
Once the person was well out of sight, the envelope was opened and the message taped to the glass for all to see. Some of them were silly; some of them were terrible. “The hermit crab was still alive when I threw it down the trash shoot,” said one. As the day progressed, the once empty glass of the storefront was papered like a wall of guilt. “I am dating a married man and getting financial compensation in exchange for the guilt. I’m 25 and he’s a millionaire.” Or another that simply says, “I have AIDS.” (Kathryn Shattuck, “Artists Display Confessions of Passers-By on a 44th Street Storefront,” The New York Times)
In Psalm 51, after King David has been confronted about his adultery and murder, he begins to confess. David struggled at different times in his life but it’s important to see that every time David sinned, he (eventually) recognized his mistake and called them for what they were – sins against God. He asked God’s forgiveness and then committed himself to live God’s way. This is the key takeaway from David’s story: every sin was followed by confession and repentance.
For most of you, your story might not be as extreme as David’s, but one thing is certain: we have all sinned. So, when you mess up (and you do), confess your sin to God just like David did. Ask for God’s forgiveness and for the strength to resist sin in the future. Because of Jesus’ death in our place, we can be forgiven and accepted by God.
Thank Jesus for paying the penalty for your sins. Confess to God any secret sins you may be carrying around.