Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 8 May 18:
1. 1 Samuel 17, 18 — “Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch.” Some have questioned why David chose five stones to kill Goliath instead of just one — does this suggest that David lacked the faith to believe God would kill Goliath with just one stone? In no way did David demonstrate a lack of faith, quite the contrary; David demonstrated a willingness and readiness to fight a long fight. David did not presume of God that He would give David an easy victory, though David trusted God with the victory. Also, David may have recognized that the battle wouldn’t bey won simply by defeating the first giant. Jumping ahead in our readings, 2 Samuel 21:22 tells the rest of the story: “These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.” What 1 Samuel doesn’t reveal is that there were four other giants, family members of Goliath. Not only was David facing Goliath, but he knew that when he picked a fight with this giant, he was picking a fight with four others too. David knew that when he stood up to Goliath, his life would never be the same and that the fight to bring glory to God would never end. There was no turning back; David was all in. Are you willing to face the giants for God even if it means your life will never be the same?
2. 1 Samuel 17:28 — “I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” David’s oldest brother may seem unfair in his judgement, demonstrating mere sibling rivalry; but perhaps he saw in David a dangerous pride that would come back to haunt David later in life. People often have a fatal flaw in life that, if not checked, may grow to be disastrous. Often individuals are blind to their own flaws which are very apparent to others. You cannot change what you cannot see or refuse to see in yourself. You cannot fix what you aren’t willing to be honest about. Pray that God will humble your spirit enough to be truly introspective.
3. 1 Samuel 17:34-37 — David’s faith in God came from real-world experiences. Faith is strengthened when it is used and tested. The more you are willing to walk in faith, the more your faith will be validated and the more you will grow in faith. If you are not willing to step out in faith, you will stay right where you are.
4. 1 Samuel 17:37 — “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” God used life events to prepare David for this significant assignment. The challenge you are going through today is preparing you for greater things. Be faithful with today, and tomorrow will be a better day.
5. 1 Samuel 17:39 — “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” You cannot serve God by trying to be something you are not, and what works for others may not be right for you. God has equipped you uniquely. Be who God created you to be, and do what God has called you to do in the unique way He has called you to do it. Often, when you are leading the race, you are running alone. Keep running in such a way as to win the prize.
6. 1 Samuel 17:42-44 — Others will mock your faith.
7. 1 Samuel 17:46, 47 — “I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” God wants the world to see His power, not yours. We must not attempt to share any glory with God.
8. 1 Samuel 17:46, 47 — David’s faith caused him to consider the outcome as already determined, a done deal, without doubt. This is true faith and hope. Faith is trusting God at the moment of decision; hope is trusting God with the future.
9. 1 Samuel 17:51, 52 — The Philistines, who put their hope in a man, were morally defeated when their hope proved futile. In an instant they went from a mighty army to a panicked mob.
10. 1 Samuel 18:1 — “As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” Jonathan desperately sought the friendship of someone as fully committed to God as he. True friendship is united in the purpose of serving God wholeheartedly. Finding a friend who is like-minded with you in their faith is difficult; a friend like that is a great treasure. Marriage should be such a friendship.
11. 1 Samuel 18:8, 9 — “’They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?’ And Saul eyed David from that day on.” Envy is highly destructive, divisive, and sinful. It was the envy of religious leaders that incited the mobs to seek the crucifixion of Jesus. Envy is hating someone because God gave them something He didn’t give you. So, in reality, envy is a direct offense against God, the giver of gifts. When you envy others, you set yourself against God.
12. 1 Samuel 18:8, 9 — Popularity contests test the character of those being compared.
13. 1 Samuel 18:12 — “Saul was afraid of David because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul.” People will fear you if you are a Spirit-filled Christian. The power of God in your life may threaten others.
14. 1 Samuel 18:14 — Success comes from God.
15. 1 Samuel 18:25 — “Now Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines.” Enemies may use what appears to be blessings and gifts in an attempt to undermine you. Be wary of negotiations with unbelievers.
16. Proverbs 8:1-5 — Wisdom cries out to all; the truth is self-evident; it reveals itself through very observable consequences revealed in the lives of countless people around us. But pride can blind and deafens us. Pride is foolishness. Humility is honorable and leads to life.
17. Proverbs 8:10,11 – “Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her. Wisdom is our most precious asset in life.”
18. Proverbs 8:13 – “The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
and perverted speech I hate.” To love God is to hate evil. If you don’t hate evil, you have a love problem.
19. Proverbs 8:22-31 — When we walk in wisdom, we tap into the power of all Creation and open ourselves up for the blessings of the Creator.
20. Proverbs 8:35 – “For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.” Wisdom, with its foundation of the Fear of the Lord, is the key to life.
21. 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 — “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful…. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” This is how we must see ourselves – “as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.” We have a sacred calling and requirement – that we “be found faithful.” We must diligently critique ourselves, but not by just considering our behavior, we must search our hearts to understand the motivations behind our behavior, seeking to eliminate pride, fear, self-centeredness, and guilt that would cause us to do the “right” things for the wrong (fleshy) reasons. We should also remember that we remain poor judges of our own character, often deceiving ourselves, thinking higher of ourselves than we ought. Spirit-enabled humility is key, particularly when we begin feeling confident in our actions. We must also remember that if we are poor judges of our own character, we are far worse judges of the character of others. We cannot see another person’s heart and cannot understand what motives are behind the other actions of others. Only God knows the heart. Until God discloses the purposes of the hearts of ourselves and others, we can only hold each other accountable to behavior from the measure of the word of God, but with humility and gentleness, recognizing that we all sin and fall short of the Glory God, and that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Strive relentless but humbly to be found worthy of your sacred calling, and be prepared to proclaim why the Good News is so “good.”
22. 1 Corinthians 4:1, 2 — We are stewards of truth. God expects us to be faithful in our responsibility to communicate God’s truth. We do not do the convicting, He does. God expects you to be faithful with the Gospel message. Who has God used you to bring to Christ? Will you be faithful with the message today?
23. 1 Corinthians 4:4, 5 — “Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” Only God knows the motives of another person’s heart, and it is God who will judge a person based upon the truth of that person’s heart. Again, we can judge to outward actions of a person, but only God knows a person’s heart and true motives. Many people do the right things for the wrong reasons. Many don’t do the right things but still have a heart for God. Only God is the judge of the person.
24. 1 Corinthians 4:7 — “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” Don’t be impressed by your own intellect, talents, or abilities, and don’t seek to impress others, rather proclaim Jesus and draw all attention away from self. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. We think that we have earned knowledge, and therefore, are tempted to get prideful in it. Love is received and given as a gift. Therefore, there is no boasting.
25. 1 Corinthians 4;11-12 — “We are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure.” Who do you know that serves Jesus to this level? Do you?
26. 1 Corinthians 4:12, 13 — When reviled, bless; when persecuted, endure; when slandered, entreat.
27. 1 Corinthians 4:15 — Many churches are full of believers but few disciple makers. Again, how many people have become Christians because God used you to lead them to Christ? How many people are growing in Christ due to your direct teaching and coaching? Jesus spent three years walking day-by-day with 12 believers (focusing especially on three) in order to prepare them to serve Him with power. In whom are investing in this way?
28. 1 Corinthians 4:20 — “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” Many people have Bible knowledge and can even parrot theology, but real faith is powerful and changes lives.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 8 May: When reviled, bless; when persecuted, endure; when slandered, entreat. (1 Corinthians 4:12, 13)