Friday, September 16, 2011

In The Valley

"So the Philistines and the Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, 
with the valley between them."
1st Samuel 17:3

King Saul, an army, and a lot of shouting, but there was no one brave enough to descend to the valley and engage in warfare against Goliath.  I'm reminded of the lip service I give to following Christ, but how little affect that has on winning battles.  Sure, I talk about prayer.  I talk about diet or exercise.  I talk about personal disciplines.  I even read books on it.  I even watch others participate in it.  But it is all shouting from the mountaintop.  When will I ever stop making excuses and take responsibility for my own shortcomings?  

David tried on Saul's armor, but it was much too big.  Likewise, the victories others have won do not fit me.  I  cannot rely on their testimonies to be my own.  These battles must be fought with the arsenal God has given me--a sling and five stones.  A stone, a marker of remembrance--victories God has won in my past.  Bizarre...even strange tools to fight against an armed giant, but deeply personal.  What I have I give...a clay pot, broken in humility, with the fire of the Spirit of God blazing through the darkness. 

The early morning is my mountaintop.  This is when my courage is strengthened in the Lord.  But I cannot stay here all day.  How easy to speak of great victories from the mountain.  I must descend into the valley of my day and engage in battle. The deepest part of my valley is four in the afternoon.  It is then that temptations loom large before me.  But this is where I must fight.  This is not the time to let down my guard.  

"Who is this pagan...anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?" (1st Sam. 17:26).  What do I allow to defy the power of the living God within me?  My own appetites?  My own selfishness?  Pride? "For He has delivered me from the kingdom of darkness and brought me into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."  (Col.1:13)   The Spirit of the Living God within me is powerful!  He does not bend the knee to sin, but rather it is I who allow these things to defy God.  

King Saul mocked David by stating a truth.  Yes, David was only a boy fighting against a grown, trained, and giant warrior.  Indeed, giants have been trained since my youth and have become quite at home in my life.  The enemy is skilled at knowing my weakness.  "But David persisted."  (1st Sam. 17:34)  Likewise, I press win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:14)  I persist, aggressively engaging in battle against these giants.  I cannot remain passive, for if I do, they will overrun my life.   

"As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him."  (1st Sam. 17:48)  I take on these giants in my valley so that "... everyone assembled here will know that the LORD rescues His people, but not with sword and spear.  This is the LORD's battle, and He will give [it] to us." (1st Sam. 17:47) "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty." (Zech.4:6)

I enter the valley, on guard, prepared to engage in battle. 
The giants are big...God is bigger.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the encouragement, Jewel! My giants have been getting the best of me this week ... time to focus on Someone bigger. :)