July 20, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Pastor Timothy Rhee, Gracepoint Minneapolis

1 Samuel 17:27-29

David’s brother rebukes him with a deeply offensive slur on his character and motivation.  What may have motivated such a reaction?  How do I respond to others when I am under stress, or feeling guilt or shame?

Eliab was physically an impressive man as evidenced by Samuel’s response to him in 1 Samuel 16:6 upon first glance.  If anyone should have volunteered to take on Goliath, it should have been him.  Yet Eliab was too scared to take on Goliath and I am sure Eliab felt certain amount of shame and guilt for failing to do so. And maybe it was his sense of shame and guilt that made him speak to David in this unfair manner.  I can relate to Eliab. For me as well, when I am under stress or feeling guilt or shame, I do have a tendency within me to want to blame others, instead of owning up to my sins/failures that made me feel that way in the first place. This text warns me how ingrained this tendency to blame others is and how I really need to guard against letting my emotions cause me to treat others unfairly.

What can I learn from David’s response to his brother? Although he does question the unfairness of Eliab’s attack, on the whole, David is able to control his temper and words.  Even when I feel like I am unfairly characterized or criticized by others, I need to not react angrily or emotionally. Another wise thing that David does here is that he doesn’t argue back, trying to convince Eliab why what he said was wrong. David just moves on and speaks to someone else. He doesn’t let Eliab’s unfair words eat away at him or gall him. Unlike David, I know that at times I can feel slighted in a petty way or have a bruised ego when I feel like someone has spoken to me unfairly. I can really learn from David’s wise and mature example.

In what ways did David see the battle differently from Saul and the Israelites?  What enabled David to be so confident in God’s deliverance? David’s perspective of the battle was so different from that of Saul and the Israelites.  In v.26, it’s clear that David does not simply see Goliath as an imposing enemy soldier.  David looks upon Goliath as an “uncircumcised Philistine” who dared to defy God by insulting God’s people. Because David had this perspective, he knew that God would be with him if he took on Goliath.  This was God’s battle, not his. And with God on his side, David had the confidence that it didn’t matter who was on the opposing side, a bear, lion or a giant warrior, that God would give him the victory.

Recall all the ways in which God has helped me grow in my trust in Him.  On the basis of God’s faithfulness in His past dealings with me, in what areas can I learn to trust Him more today? There are many ways in which God has helped me to grow in my trust in Him. I recall feeling so scared and intimidated when we first started Davis ministry in 1997. Alice and I were both 26 at the time, with only few years of ministry experience. I felt like we were too young, too inexperienced, “too many” other things given the daunting responsibility of starting up a new campus ministry.  But similar to what David experienced, we too experienced that this was God’s spiritual battle and not ours.  And we were the fortunate ones, the blessed ones, who got to be there for the thrilling experience, as God worked on that campus.

I felt similarly when we moved to Minneapolis last summer. Although we had more people on our church plant team than when we first started Davis ministry. And although Alice and I were older, still there were plenty of other factors that made me feel intimidated.  Minnesota was far away from California,  the U of M campus seemed so huge and daunting, and the campus felt so foreign to us when we first landed. But as God had done many times before, He demonstrated that this was His ministry. And He was so eager to do His work, if we would only follow Him in obedience.

As I think about this new academic year that is rapidly approaching (only little over one month away!), I feel similar fears and nervousness that I felt last year.  Through today’s DT passage, I am reminded that this is God’s work that He has invited us to join Him in. I have nothing to fear or be intimidated by. This year can be another opportunity to see what God can do through imperfect sinners like us, if we only cooperate with Him and join Him as He moves on this campus.

——————————

Submitted by Steve Kim, Gracepoint Riverside 1 Samuel 17:27-29

David’s brother rebukes him with a deeply offensive slur on his character and motivation.  What may have motivated such a reaction?How do I respond to others when I am under stress, or feeling guilt or shame?

Eliab (David’s oldest brother) may have reacted in this harsh, offensive way, because he was under a lot of stress.  It says in v16 that Goliath came out and took his stand every morning and night for 40 days.  To undergo the constant threat of attack and being killed by these overpowering Philistines must’ve caused the Israelites to feel on edge, including Eliab.  Also, there was probably the stress induced by feeling guilty about not responding to Goliath’s challenge.  Thinking about the various things Eliab might’ve been feeling at that moment, I imagine that Eliab was ultimately motivated out of his own pride.  He and his comrades had been in this tense situation for 40 days and for a young boy to enter the scene with such confidence and simplicity probably grated against his pride and ego.

It’s like the times I had working on a coding project for my job. I’d be staring on the same code for days and sometimes even weeks trying to make something work based on some business requirement.   I’ve invested many hours into that problem, and then some newer employee comes around with a fresh pair of eyes and says, “hey, how about trying this approach?”  My instinctive reaction that I say to myself is, “Man, who is this guy?  He thinks I’m a dummy?  I’ve been working on this for a long time, and I’ve been at this job longer than this guy.  He’s just trying to show off.”   Well, he types a couple of lines of code, and it works!  In fact his solution is much simpler too!

I know that I can have a similar prideful, narrow minded attitude in ministry and even approaching my own personal character issues or sins that are deeply ingrained in me.  Some younger guy or one my peers could come around and say, “Wait a minute….how about trying this?  Or maybe you could look at it this way?”  Eliab’s reaction gives me a sobering warning about how my pride and ego can stifle God’s work and hinder seeing things through God’s perspective that might come from the voice of someone I least expect it to come through (ie someone less experienced and younger). I need to be committed to God’s honor, His truths and His will being done.  How tragic it would’ve been if Eliab had his way with David?  Israel would’ve remained terrorized by Goliath, but worse than this would be the missed opportunity for ‘the whole world’ to know that there is a God in Israel.  Similarly I need to see how regrettable and tragic the outcome of my pride/ego having its way would be.  I could potentially be the cause for people missing out on experiencing God’s deliverance and knowing that He is real and living and active in our midst.

What can I learn from David’s response to his brother? It’s notable that David didn’t get derailed by being upset and bitter towards his older brother.  Nor did he allow his brother’s chiding to deflate and discourage him from wanting to uphold God’s honor. We see David being composed and self-controlled.  He appeals to the truth of what he actually did…the fact that he was there out of obedience to his father and that he wasn’t negligent about his sheep.  He placed them in the care of another shepherd.  David knows that he had done nothing wrong and so he says, “Now what have I done?” He knows that he is in the right and that there are more pressing issues to tend to than to defend his own integrity and honor before his brother and others who are listening to their conversation.   We see David being quick to just move on.  He is undeterred from wanting to uphold the honor of God by wanting to take down Goliath. This is an admirable response from David, which I too need to imitate.  I know that I can at times be defeated by criticism and complaints of others towards what I did or haven’t done.  I can get overly focused on replaying a conversation or event that discouraged me or caused me to be upset about unfairly being accused of something.

I want to imitate David’s singular, passionate focus on wanting to uphold God’s honor and to address the more pressing issues that affect others, rather than wasting time on things that relate to my personal reputation.  I can quickly put behind me things that can potentially discourage me or upset me by continuing to hold onto the fact that my legitimacy comes from God being with me and that I have a clear conscience before Him.

—————————-

Submitted by Susanna Lee, Gracepoint Berkeley

1 Samuel 17:27-29

David’s brother rebukes him with a deeply offensive slur on his character and motivation.  What may have motivated such a reaction? Eliab’s ungrounded and unfair accusatory reaction towards David might have been motivated by his own fears and frustrations of being in a “no win” situation with the Israelites and Goliath.  The day in and day out taunting of Goliath might have gotten under his skin.     How do I respond to others when I am under stress, or feeling guilt or shame?  When I am under a lot of stress or feeling guilt or shame, I sometimes respond to others, especially those who are close to me like my husband, by spewing out the turmoil that is going on inside of me with shortness, irritation, or  through some form of negativism.  What is bothering me inside gets unfairly dumped to an innocent person.  Through this passage, I can clearly see how wrong and unloving such a reaction is.  I must take this passage to heart and change my ways as such a response is not acceptable to anyone, especially before God’s eyes.

What can I learn from David’s response to his brother? I can learn from David’s response to his older brother that when I am wronged like this I need to clearly assess the situation and speak up and let the person know that I am being unfairly treated.  Also, if I am behaving like Eliab to another person and that person speaks up about my unfair treatment, then I must listen.

1 Samuel 17:34-37

In what ways did David see the battle differently from Saul and the Israelites?  What enabled David to be so confident in God’s deliverance?

David saw the battle differently from Saul and the Israelites in that God was so much greater than this 9-foot-tall giant of a warrior.  Saul and the Israelites were overwhelmed with fear by Goliath’s incredible size and noisy taunting.  God was out of the picture for Saul and the Israelites.

David’s past experience of being delivered by God from his past enemies (i.e. paw of the lion, paw of the bear) enabled David to be so confident in God’s deliverance from Goliath.  David saw Goliath like another lion or a bear.  As God had protected him from harm in the past, he was confident that God would protect him again.  David had faith in God’s protective power over him.  How much more God would love to extend His deliverance to all of Israelites, especially against the Philistines who were defying the armies of the living God!

Recall all the ways in which God has helped me grow in my trust in Him.  On the basis of God’s faithfulness in His past dealings with me, in what areas can I learn to trust Him more today? As I recall the ways in which God has helped me to grow in my trust in him, I see how it was the “fearful” or “overwhelming” or “unknown” situation in my life that God used as an opportunity to increase my trust in Him.  I can learn that every difficult or daunting situation in life is a God-given opportunity for me to grow in my trust relationship with God as I emulate David’s example of remembering God’s deliverance and provision from the past and allowing this to enable me to have deeper faith in God in my current situation.  Presently one area that I can directly apply this lesson is the “new challenges” in my life that sometimes gets me fearful or overly worried which robs me of peace and inner rest that God desires for me to enjoy each day.  I need to see that God is the holder of my future and He knows how to best guide me step by step as He has been so faithful to me in the past.  I must hold on to God’s promise that He will be with me every step of the way to grant me the strength and wisdom that is needed for that very day or that very hour.

David rejects the King’s armor and chooses his staff and sling. What lesson is there here about the role of daily faithfulness and times of crisis?  The lesson to learn here is that I can’t “borrow” someone else’s battling weapons (tunic/coat of armor/helmet) in times of crisis.  I will not be used to it–it would be foreign to me.  Also, I can’t ride on the coattail of someone else’s faith.  Thus I must daily be faithful to fighting my spiritual battle– getting better and better each day–so that when a time of crisis comes I can be ready to face my enemy Satan prepared.  It would be utterly foolish to think that I can overcome my enemy in a crisis without the backing of daily practice in using my battling weapons.   It would be like a soldier who is unaccustomed to using his weapon trying it out  for the first time at a real warfare.

1 Samuel 17:45-47

Meditate on David’s words to Goliath.  What are some arenas of challenge in my life about which I can say “the battle is the Lord’s” and take steps of faith? A new arena of challenge that God has given me is overseeing a new ministry for college students.  Our society’s culture of distraction and entertainment for college-aged students, especially in the area of drinking & immoral activities that follow, is rampant.  It is a battle that cannot be fought and won by any individual or a group of individuals.  I can confidently say that this battle against Satan’s schemes to ruin young lives with alcohol & immorality along with other distractions and lies of Satan is the Lord’s.  The Lord Himself will battle Satan to reclaim lives that have been taken from Him.  I can take steps of faith as David did by remembering that I have the name and the power of the LORD Almighty.

PERSONAL PRAYER

Please write out a prayer of commitment or confession either based on today’s text, or upon reflection over recent events in your life.

Father God, thank you so much for this very familiar yet so profound passage of the Bible on faith.  I have grown up with the story of David and Goliath, but as I am facing a different and bigger “Goliath” at this juncture of my life, I am so encouraged and challenged by the faith of David.  No wonder he was called a man after God’s own heart!  Thank you for providing me such a clear picture of how every spiritual battle that I face is Your battle, and that You are with me just as You have always been with me to enable me and to deliver me from the schemes and lies of Satan.  As You have given me a new challenge this year, may I see the battle before me with the eyes of David and faith of David in You.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

—————————–

Submitted by Yumi Kim, Gracepoint Berkeley

1 Samuel 17:27-29

David’s brother rebukes him with a deeply offensive slur on his character and motivation.  What may have motivated such a reaction?  How do I respond to others when I am under stress, or feeling guilt or shame?

David’s brother rebukes him that he is conceited and wicked, accusing him of coming only to watch the battle.  He has no basis for making such an accusation, but he probably felt this to be true as he saw his youngest brother out there talking to the soldiers.  As he saw David, so much younger and without any experience, going around and talking to the soldiers, having no fear and instead being filled with righteous anger and having this simple faith and questioning why no one had already gone out to face Goliath, Eliab must have felt a mixture of guilt, shame, and his pride feeling threatened by David’s simple response of faith and courage.  Eliab was the oldest brother, and David the youngest, and David’s simple faith and courage stood in stark contrast to his own worldly fear and practicality in the face of Goliath, and rather than letting David be a mirror to him, he wanted to put David down and explain away his actions to justify himself.  He probably felt like David was this naïve, young boy who doesn’t know anything, and felt his pride threatened as his own conscience and guilt pricked him for not being able to step out in faith.

Like Eliab, I too often respond to others whose righteousness serves as a mirror to me that pricks at my conscience by putting them down or being filled with my own justifications in order to minimize my own guilt and shame.  As I think about the heart of Eliab, it’s a very similar feeling that I can relate to especially as an older sister.  Growing up, I often would put down my younger brother if he was better than me at something.  Out of my own insecurity and pride, I didn’t like it when he would be better than me in some area or especially if his actions showed my guilt and character flaws.  Now, I still can have this response in my heart to many others whose righteousness, faith serves as a mirror to my own practicality, lack of faith and guilt.  When I see my friends or the younger ones taking greater steps of faith than me, trusting in God, taking greater risks, loving people more selflessly and sacrificially, although I do not insult them to their face, in my heart, I can minimize what they are doing by making all kinds of explanations for why they are that way (e.g. its their personality or its because they have better circumstances) or justifying my own inaction or passivity (e.g. I have a kid or my circumstance doesn’t allow me to).   I am really warned by the reaction I see in Eliab that I cannot have this kind of proud response, but allow others in the body to serve as a mirror to me, and have the humble response of being thankful for different “David”s in my life who can challenge me and become a mirror for me.

What can I learn from David’s response to his brother?

I can learn from David’s response to his brother that the proper response to unjust accusations is to simply shrug it off, to let it fall off.  If there is no truth to the accusations, then I need to just take it and not allow it to bother me or waste time trying to defend myself.  David doesn’t dwell on Eliab’s accusations – he just shrugs it off, and keeps asking the other men about Goliath and proceeds to talk to Saul and gain permission to face Goliath.

In contrast, so often my response to unjust accusations/criticisms is to want to defend myself and allow it to bother me and weigh me down.  Emotionally, I get too hurt, and I get unnecessarily discouraged and hung up on them.  Its especially hard for me to take when it comes from people that I am trying to love and minister to, and when they seem to be hung up on some minor incident or misunderstand my intentions.  Rather, I need to just take that accusation/criticism, evaluate whether it is true, or even if not true, whether there is a lesson that I need to learn about myself or how I am, then simply move on & trust that God will work it out, and not be dissuaded, discouraged from continuing to do God’s work.

1 Samuel 17:34-37

34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”

“The clue to David’s confidence was shown in his interpretation of those battles when applied to the one he was about to enter.  The reason David felt that the Philistine would meet the same fate at his hands as had the lion and the bear was that ‘The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ (v.37)  David’s great confidence did not come from his ability, or even from past experiences, but from the feeling that the battle was one in which God would be with him.”[1]

In what ways did David see the battle differently from Saul and the Israelites?  What enabled David to be so confident in God’s deliverance?

For Saul and the Israelites, God was absent in the battle.  They were practical atheists, not having the view that God was with them, the one who would be the one to defeat Goliath if they stepped out in faith.  Rather, they just thought that it was up to them to defeat Goliath, and because of this, they only compared worldly, man-made things – their strength, height, experience, weapons they had versus Goliath’s which were far superior.  For David, he just sees Goliath as this uncircumcised Philistine who has defied the armies of the Living God.  He doesn’t even consider Goliath’s experience, height, strength, weapons – they’re just non-factors to David because in David’s view, all that matters is whether one knows God or not, whose side God is on.

David was enabled to be this confident in God’s deliverance because of his past experiences of obeying God and Him delivering him.  David’s past acts of simple faith and experiences of God enabling him to beat the lion and the bear gave him greater confidence now to battle Goliath.   His own fear shriveled and his courage and trust in God grew with each step of faith.

Recall all the ways in which God has helped me grow in my trust in Him.  On the basis of God’s faithfulness in His past dealings with me, in what areas can I learn to trust Him more today?

God has helped me grow in my trust in Him over the years through small steps of obedience.  As a 16 year old, brand new Christian at Castro Valley High, I remember feeling so much fear and anxiety with even taking the step of faith to declare my faith, to tell my friends that I became Christian and that I was not going to compromise by going to dances or dating, and feeling so scared and self-conscious to take that stand for fear of ridicule and mockery.  I look back now, and it seems so silly, but even as I took those baby steps of faith, God gave me confidence, and even opportunities to share my testimony with a couple girls I never thought would be interested in Christianity, and they even checked out Bible study a few times at that time.  In college, another marker for me was taking part in Joyland my junior year and then in freshmen ministry my senior year – I had fears about letting go of my time and stress (school and grades were such a big idol to me), but as I committed to do so, and obeyed with little steps of giving my energy and time to the 6th graders then the freshmen at that time (some of whom are still around now and staff), God enabled me to grow in trust in Him and start to share in His vision for my life.  When I first graduated, I took another small step of faith by going to Tashkent for 3 months, letting go of a good part-time web job I had just gotten at that time.  It felt scary at that time because I had no other source of income and I was scared about being unemployed at that time, but as I took that step of faith, I again experienced God answering so many of my prayers and growing my trust – giving me a precious experience in Tashkent, and answering my prayers regarding my parents, my brother and then in providing a job for me very quickly thereafter.  After graduation, there were so many other such junctures as well – with choosing to continue to be a college staff while attending law school, steps of faith I took with learning to minister to people, dating and marriage, and growing in my role as a minister.  Every step of the way, as I took little tiny baby steps of faith, God increased my trust in Him, and now I find myself here as an almost 30 year old, with greater trust and faith and so many precious people being entrusted to me to try to love, but feeling very much like that 16 year old insecure teenager many times & yet so much has changed because God has worked in my life.

On the basis of God’s faithfulness in His past dealings with me, I need to trust Him more today with greater steps of faith in loving people and ministry.  I need to pray for people I feel hopeless or cynical about, and try different, new things to love them that will involve letting go of my own fears about rejection and failure.  I need to also have greater faith in raising my child, trusting in God with His safety.

Be Sociable, Share!

One Response to “July 20, 2011 Devotion Sharing”

  1. L says:

    Thank you so much for the hard work that goes into these DT packets and for updating the site with devotion sharings. I really appreciate it and read the sharings daily. Please continue to do so!

Leave a Response