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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bullies Beware!

 3 Go ahead, examine me from inside out, surprise me in the middle of the night— You'll find I'm just what I say I am. My words don't run loose. 4-5 I'm not trying to get my way in the world's way. I'm trying to get your way, your Word's way. I'm staying on your trail; I'm putting one foot in front of the other. I'm not giving up. 
(Psalm 17:3-5)

There is a national summit coming up about the effects of "bullying" in our schools today.  The issue has risen to the level that our government is actually stepping in to created "anti-bullying" laws and to present information that will help both parents and educators identify the "signs" that kids are being "bullied".  Isn't that a sad state of affairs for a nation to find itself in?  The need for a summit to address the effects of bullying!  David is facing some "bullies" in his life when he pens these words.  In fact, verse 7 says, "I am running from the neighborhood bullies right to you!"  

I guess I have faced my share of bullies in life (not to say I won't face more along the way).  These individuals are overbearing, unpleasant, and intimidating.  Their targets are the smaller and the weaker.  This was the exact situation that David found himself in as he flees from the armies of King Saul and even Saul himself.  Saul is King - who wants to reckon with a King and his armies?  Not me!  David wasn't a man of great stature - he was a man with a heart for God.  The world often looks upon that as a sign of weakness, not strength!

Yet, David wants us to know that it IS a place of strength!  David even feels so confident in his walk with God that he gives God permission to "surprise him" in the middle of the night and put him to the test.  In other words, he is saying to God that he is not afraid of examination because his words match his actions.  He is not a fair-weather Christian, saying one thing, but doing another.  He is the same in the dark as he is in the light of day.  That is a posture of strength!  

How did David get to this posture of strength?  Well, it seems that he lays that out for us in these verses.  He says that his words don't run loose - he is not frivolous in his speech.  He had learned to "think" before he spoke!  He chose his words well and kept those to himself that really did not need to be spoken.  Ummm....I could take some lessons here!  I am forever speaking - then regretting having spoken!  This is a tough lesson to learn, but if we are to be in a posture of strength, our words need to matter!

Next, he is quite plain about the fact that he is not trying to make a way for himself - he is asking God to make a way for him.  Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to make a name for ourselves that we forget that we bear the name of Christ already!  David had come to the place that he realized that following the world's example of success was not going to get him very far.  Look at Saul - he was a mess!  Out of his mind one day, peaceful the next.  He couldn't handle any form of "competition" without insane jealousy.  He lived in fear and used that fear as motivation to "bully" those that he feared.  

David had embraced God's instructions - his Word - as a way of sorting out what was his own way and what was God's best way.  That is a posture that we all need to assume.  When the Word of God becomes THE factor in our decisions, not just A factor in our decisions, we will be much better off.  We allow all kinds of things and voices to "sway" our decisions.  David had learned that only one voice was worth listening to - the voice of God.  He "found" that voice in the Word of God (the Bible).  It was through exposure to the Word that he knew how to face his enemies.

Last, but certainly not least, he learned that perseverance is not easy.  It was a continual process of putting one foot in front of the other - even when the way got rough.  David is being chased hither and yon, through deserts and into crags in the hills.  He is sought by armies, run after by mighty men of warfare, and attacked by the King himself.  He has not a whole lot of places to turn!  Yet, in that very situation, he assumes the posture of putting one foot in front of the other.  He is still making progress in his walk with God - despite the influences that would attempt to divert him from that exact thing!

I don't want to make light of bullying - it is a real thing that has risen to huge proportions in our society today.  It does not stop in our schools - it is also in our workplaces, neighborhoods, and just about everywhere we look.  There is a posture we can assume against the bullies in our life - whether they are physical people or all of Satan's hosts.  That is the posture David took - living a life that was consistent to the core.  As we do so, we will stand strong against all the bullies that life can throw our way!