Thursday, March 27, 2014

Name your Goliath

All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s...
1 Samuel 17:47
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

In Heaven’s eyes, you are not an underdog! From your earthly perspective, circumstantially, the odds may be stacked against you, but for the child of God, we were lifted forever from this earth’s perspective to a heavenly one. 

Last week on Wednesday, our PCC group found ourselves in the Valley of Elah, the location of David’s famous battle with Goliath. In 1 Samuel 17:1-3, geographical markers are given of historical sites that have been archeologically unearthed, so we now know exactly where that famous duel of champions took place.

Focusing on the chapter of 1 Samuel 17 and David’s defeat of Goliath, my pilgrimage to Israel was given a theme and I understood primarily why God had me go to this Holy Land.

The prevailing lesson: Don’t ever downplay, discount, or otherwise lose faith in God’s power to overcome unimaginable odds!  On our journey home I pondered how God, throughout our trek through the Holy Land communicated this grand theme. The theme played out:

  • From Day One when we stopped at Caesarea, a coastal town that today contains the ruins of King Herod’s grand palace structure.  It is also the place God chose to have the movement of Jesus jump from a primarily Jewish sect to the Gentiles with the conversion of Cornelius (Acts 10).  2000 years later, Herod’s palace structure lies in ruins, but the movement of followers of Christ continues.
  • We spent time on Mt. Carmel where Elijah faced seemingly insurmountable odds with the prophets of Baal  (1 Kings 18).  He was outnumbered 450-1! Yet God came through for him in incredible ways.
  • Seemingly every stop in Galilee reinforced this theme as well: 1) the locations where Jesus fed 4000 (now the odds are 4000-1!) or He fed 5000, 2) the locations where Jesus defied the physical laws of nature by performing miracles or 3) Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus imparted His most famous teaching, the Sermon on the Mount.  This sermon continues to provide strength and the prevailing ethic for followers of Jesus around the world.
  • This theme became most clear throughout Jerusalem.  Our time at the Garden tomb as a community, coming face-to-face with the agony, death and resurrection of Jesus was especially moving.  It was here that, from a human point of view, all seemed lost.  Literally, our Savior was dead and His followers were scattered.  If ever there was a “game over” and “throw in the towel” moment, this was it!  Yet 2000 years later, here we were, looking at an empty tomb.  We know that we serve a risen and living Savior and worship as a community with hope fueled by new life in Jesus.   
  • The last sight we visited was Jaffa, the place where Jonah made his futile attempt to flee from obeying God’s commission to Tarish.  He wasn’t just running from God, he was running from himself.  God’s grace was stronger than his disobedience and the modern port with its rock outcroppings shouted to us one last time to never discount God’s plan or power.

I won’t waste any more of your time with our itinerary and how this theme was reinforced.  You get the point of what I am endeavoring to convey.  My question for you is this: What odds are you facing today?  Name your Goliath.  Let me encourage you to read once again Romans 8:31.  What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  

This weekend we continue in our Proverbs series looking at God’s perspective on work! I promise an encouraging and uplifting experience as we gather together.  I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!

I love being your Pastor!