Thursday, March 23, 2017

Providence meets faith

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 1 Samuel 17:41-57

“Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.” 1 Samuel 17:49

What are the chances that this youthful armed-only-with-a-sling shepherd would get the best of a 9 foot, 9 inch fully armed warrior? Pretty slim, I’d say. Yet here it happens before our eyes. What’s the explanation?

Surely David was skillful with his primitive weapon, so that’s one thing. However, I believe much bigger forces were at war here as they had been numerous times before in Israel’s history.

Right now our pastor is teaching a Bible study on Judges. There too we see unlikely Israelite victories.

  • Judge Ehud managed to get alone with Eglon, King of Moab, kill him with one thrust of his homemade sword, and get well away before the servants discovered the deed—a catalyst to Israel’s victory over Moab (Judges 3:15-30).
  • Tentwife Jael invited fleeing army general Sisera into her tent and, after he fell asleep,  killed him by driving a tent peg through his temple - Judges 4:18-24.
  • Gideon defeated an army of thousands of Midianites and Amalekites with only 300 men armed with pitchers, torches, and trumpets - Judges 7:16-25.

What’s at work in each of these incidents is people of faith and courage taking action. That faith combined with the providence of God is what led to these stunning victories.

David had zeal for God’s honour (1 Samuel 17:45-47). That zeal combined with his past experience of God’s help (1 Samuel 17:34-36) filled him with courage and faith, so that he took up what was at hand to do battle. But I believe it wasn’t only his skill that felled Goliath that day, but God’s providence that clinched his success.

My challenge from the story of David and Goliath is wrapped up in these snippets from my study notes on Judges:

“We take steps of faith and courage, and trust in the providence of God … Providence continues to be God’s gift to His people. What’s in your hand? As you partner with God, His grace will come on you. Take a risk this week. Believe God to be with you. Your “hand tool” will make a difference” - Derrick Hamre.

PRAYER:  Dear Father, thank You that as I step out in faith with You on my side, I too can win unlikely victories. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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