Wednesday, January 18, 2006


why am i ever surprised that God is actually listening? it must just be my experience in this life, that the seeming important things we pine for go unnoticed. but today's prayers give me hope. and i had to laugh at how strong the counterpoint to my lament of yesterday was. it is as if God Himself had a hand in it. imagine that.

R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
Blessed be the LORD, my rock,
who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
My refuge and my fortress,
my stronghold, my deliverer,
My shield, in whom I trust,
who subdues my people under me.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!
O God, I will sing a new song to you;
with a ten-stringed lyre I will chant your praise,
You who give victory to kings,
and deliver David, your servant from the evil sword.
R. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!

He teaches my hands to war. did you see saving private ryan? that storming the beaches of normandie scene was really where my head was at yesterday. the deluge of bullets, the ravages of the enemy's ferocity had me pinned.

suddenly today, i'm in the tower, perched on high. echoing that young warrior,
Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war.

all is not yet rosy. nor do i expect it to be. but reading about david facing goliath i am once again encouraged.

When Eliab, [David's] oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he grew angry with David and said: "Why did you come down? With whom have you left those sheep in the desert meanwhile? I know your arrogance and your evil intent. You came down to enjoy the battle!" David replied, "What have I done now?--I was only talking." Yet he turned from him to another and asked the same question; and everyone gave him the same answer as before. (1 sam 17:28-30)

David had all ready been anointed king of Israel, in the very sight of his brother Eliab. Yet Eliab renders a blow of judgment saying, i know your evil intent.

yeah, whatever. how many times i've been thrown off course by the judgment of others. how many times i have walked away and said, you're right. but not david. he turned to another, because from the purity of his heart he knew his brother spoke amiss. david knew, as he knew God, what had to be done and would not be dissuaded.

the passage continues:

Then Saul clothed David in his own tunic, putting a bronze helmet on his head and arming him with a coat of mail. David also girded himself with Saul's sword over the tunic. He walked with difficulty, however, since he had never tried armor before. He said to Saul, "I cannot go in these, because I have never tried them before." So he took them off. (vv. 38-39)

the thing that gets me most about this passage is david's defiance of men's wisdom. God had kept david safe every time in the past, so sure was his confidence in God, that he could abandon himself to God's protection. even when men provide a proven way of protection, david did not go out to battle with a sling forever, there was a time to take up rightful armour, but there is a time to walk in the protection of God. exercising a cross and a switchblade faith.

henri nouwen talks about the movement from hostility to hospitality in his book, reaching out. this passage reminds me of henri's words which essentially say, we live in a state of lockdown. uncertain of our neighbors. fearful of strangers. not trusting in God. this word encourages me immensely. henri says we need to return to davidic trust in God for our protection.

first the lion and bear, then goliath. God is not asking you today to kill goliath unless you have gone through the preparation of the lion and the bear. the years of desert training. the preparation in the wilderness. then, when it is time for your goliath, you will return as Jesus did, imbued with power.

david says:
"You come against me with sword and spear and scimitar, but I come against you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel that you have insulted. Today the LORD shall deliver you into my hand; I will strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will leave your corpse and the corpses of the Philistine army for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field; thus the whole land shall learn that Israel has a God. All this multitude, too, shall learn that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves. For the battle is the LORD'S, and he shall deliver you into our hands."
The Philistine then moved to meet David at close quarters, while David ran quickly toward the battle line in the direction of the Philistine. (vv.45-48)

remember, everyone was wraught with fear. the whole army of israel were hiding like a bunch of girls in their tents. david was the only one who had the trust in God to stand before the enemy who was defiling His Holy Name.

it says that goliath moved toward david, but david ran toward goliath.

run out and meet your foe. the Lord will be with you. His hand mighty to uphold you. this word encourages me like you can't imagine.

The king of Israel asks the general of the armies of Israel when
"Saul saw David go out to meet the Philistine, [Saul] asked his general Abner, "Abner, whose son is that youth?" Abner replied, "As truly as your majesty is alive, I have no idea."

obscurity. i had to look back and ask where and why i got on this obscurity track. and it is something Richard Foster wrote, "become comfortable in obscurity." couple that with merton who says, "all work done properly is prayer." and while i'm not slaying any goliaths today, perhaps i'm about the work of the lion and the bear. i'm being trained in the ways of warfare by God All Mighty Himself.

i leave you with this, when Jesus was doing his thang, his family didn't even get it. so my guess is, ours won't either. even those closest to us as times will wonder.
When [Jesus'] relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, "He is out of his mind." Mark 3:21

but remember, He is faithful to complete that which He began in you.

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