Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Covenant Power

"For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the Living God?"      1 Samuel 17:26
The shepherd boy, fresh from the field hears the taunt of the giant. The giant who the entire army of Israel is afraid of. His chain-mail alone weighed 5000 shekels - about 125lb. I weigh about double that, and the thought of even trying to walk, never mind do battle in that kind of weight makes me need to rest.

Goliath is a huge man. Six cubits and a span - around 9' 4" tall. I'm 6' tall. Half as tall again as me, plus four inches.

David is a youth. Nothing more than a young farm-hand, tending the sheep in the fields. It's doubtful he's more than 5' 5" tall as he's still basically adolescent - if he weren't he'd already be in Saul's army with his brothers.

For forty days, twice a day, Goliath has been issuing his challenge. And for forty days the Israelites have been silent. They see as the spies who first went into the land with Joshua and Caleb did. They are small in their own eyes.

David sees him how Joshua and Caleb saw the giants in Canaan. Just another notch in the Covenant-holder's belt.

David's own brothers doubt him. But David is a man with a Covenant, and he knows what that Covenant means.

The challenge is accepted. Casting aside the sword and armour Saul tries to give him, David picks up a few smooth stones, his sling and his staff and walks out to meet the derisory Philistine. Goliath is insulted and sneers as David takes his stand. David's response to the jeering of the giant is simple:
"You come to me with a sword, 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
Goliath rises slowly and makes his way to the field of battle. David runs to the field. He arms his sling and releases. Goliath falls and David takes the giant's own sword and beheads him.

It's a familiar story told in Sunday-schools all over the world. It was taught to me when I was so young I don't remember the first time. But it's only recently re-reading it with a more mature mind that the point of the story sinks in.

David, on paper, didn't stand a chance. Goliath has been a warrior longer than David has lived. But David knows his God. He knows the promise of his God, and most importantly he knows this Philistine is facing his God, not him.

We find ourselves in the situation of David from time to time in our lives. We all face giants. Poor health, loss of income or home. Hunger. The giants taunt us daily. Every time we enter a borrowed room to sleep. Every time we take the medication the doctor says we need. Every mealtime we have nothing to give our family. The giant rattles his armour and declares war.

Too often we behave as the Israelite army does. We stand back and let fear take our hearts.

But we see in the movies a glimpse of the Truth of the covenant. Think of Aragorn's speech in "The Return of the King" as the last army of Middle-Earth faces the army of Mordor, outnumbered and surrounded. Think of Theoden's rally cry to the Rohirrim earlier in the movie to urge them to battle.

And we have David as an example. The best example as this is not fiction, this is Biblical. This is the Covenant our God has made with us. He will not desert us. He walks every step alongside us. He fights our every battle through us.

And that's the point. Through us.

We sit and wait for God to solve our problems for us. But that's not the promise.
"Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do super-abundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]— To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it)."                                                                                                                                            Ephesians 3:21-22 Amplified
We stop too soon when we read this passage - if we read it at all. Most people read " Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think" (NKJV) and stop there. The important part, the Covenant, gets missed. Of course God can do more than we can ask or think. He's God. But He works through us. Any work He does is tempered by our actions - or lack thereof.

The Covenant stood to prevent the Philistine destroying the Israelites in single combat, but it took a young shepherd who had faced lions and bears to see that this un-covenanted fool was no different than the beasts he killed on a daily basis to protect his sheep.

The Covenant we have with God is the name of Jesus - even more potent than the Old Covenant David had. But just as it took David to pick up his sling and face the giant, we must pick up our weapon and face our giant. Your weapon may be your voice, your training, your experience. It could be your past. Whatever it is, ask God to guide your hand and go and face down the giant before you. Let His power work through you the way David let God's power work through him to destroy the Philistines.

Anyone reading this could be the next William Wilberforce. John Wesley. Billy Graham.

Why not let it be you?

The Covenant of the Blood of Jesus stands beckoning.

Why wait?

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