Friday 1st September 2017 - Bible verse:
1 Samuel 17 Where is your focus? by Karen Cowling

In 1 Samuel 17 we have the much loved 'children's' story of David and Goliath. Most people know that David, a young boy, beat down the big giant with just a stone. But it's so much more than just a lovely children's story.

In verses 1-16 we are told of how Goliath was about 9ft 9inches or 3m tall, that his armour weighed 58kg and the tip of his spear alone was 6.9kg of iron. He came out and stood in front of the army of Israel and shouted: "Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us." Then the Philistine said, "This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other."

Take note that he is actively defying the 'army of the living God'.

David has come to give some grain to his three oldest brothers, some cheese to the commander of their unit, and to find out how his brothers are. Whilst he is there, both sides line up ready to start the battle, which never gets any further than Goliath coming out and shouting his defiance at Israel. David sees this, and then hears the talk about how Saul will give the man who beats him great wealth, his daughter to marry and exempt their family from paying taxes. David asks for this to be repeated, only to be told off by his brother for being conceited, and is then effectively told to go back to his sheep. However David is not coming from a conceited and wicked heart, as his brother thinks, because if we look at what he says in verse 26 we see the real motivation of David: “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

David's motivation is that he does not want the name of God to be disgraced and knows that if he goes out to fight in God's name that God will go with him. The Israelite army were looking at the problem that stood before them, and it was a very big, very scary problem. David, unlike the rest of the Israelite army, was looking towards the solution to the problem; he was looking to God, the Lord of heaven and earth.

Throughout our lives we will have problems that come before us that will look as big, scary and occasionally as dangerous as Goliath would have looked to the Israelites. However, we need to look beyond the problem and look to God. He is the Lord of the whole earth and will be with us in all our battles.

So as Casting Crowns put it so well in their 'Just be held' song:" If you're eyes are on the storm you'll wonder if I love you still; but if your eyes are on the cross you'll know I always have and I always will."

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