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Sunday, April 14, 2013

What do you do with what you hear?

This morning, a three word sentence caught my attention as I was reading through the account of David and Goliath.  The words, "David heard him."  Not very profound, but I hope they will speak as "clearly" and as LOUDLY to your heart as they have mine.  In considering the story of David taking on the giant of a man who had been taunting the camp of Israel's strong armies for quite some time, I was almost stunned to realize it took only one man with his "ears" tuned into the giant to realize the giant had NOTHING on God!  I think David knew the voice of God - the power, purpose, and provision of God - and recognized nothing would stand up to one word from him - not even the giants we face!

Israel and the Philistines moved into position, facing each other, battle-ready. David left his bundles of food in the care of a sentry, ran to the troops who were deployed, and greeted his brothers. While they were talking together, the Philistine champion, Goliath of Gath, stepped out from the front lines of the Philistines, and gave his usual challenge. David heard him.  (I Samuel 17:21-23 MSG)

We hear lots of voices around us today - the ones we choose to listen to make all the difference in determining which voices will become the strongest influence in our lives.  God had many men in this army capable of wielding sword, throwing a javelin, or even doing hand-to-hand combat.  They were skilled soldiers.  Yet, one boy from the sticks, a shepherd at that, hears the taunting of the giant and realizes something no one else in this company can even come close to realizing - the taunts are nothing more than sarcastic insults meant to discourage these mighty men of valor.  The most amazing thing to me - it worked!

Isn't it sad to think of all these men, prepared for battle, armed to their teeth, and no one could get beyond the jeering of the giant?  Somehow, they were listening with their eyes!  They allowed what they "saw" to influence what they believed!  It is a sad day when we allow what we see to begin to craft the way we respond - for faith is not founded on what we see, but on what we "know" because of what we have really "heard" (Hebrews 11:1).  Faith is truly the handle on what we cannot see - fear is the handle we hold onto when we only focus on what it is we can see.  

Look again at our passage.  All Goliath had was his "usual challenge".  This is something we need to get into our heads and deep into our hearts.  All the enemy of our souls has is his "usual challenge".  He doesn't have anything else with which to taunt us - he is "known" by his deeds!  His all is nothing compared to the sufficiency of Christ in us.  David heard his "usual challenge", knowing full-well the challenge was nothing compared to what he had learned about God in his times as the little shepherd boy out in the fields!  He had studied the stars, observed the wonder of water bubbling forth from recesses within the rocks, and thrilled to the coolness of the tall grass between his toes.  In these moments, he had come to know the God of creation - the one who designed it all, holds it all together with the power of his Word, and avails himself to those who will listen to his voice ALONE.

David wouldn't back down - his familiarity with the voice of God made the sound of his enemy's jeers seem like puny insults and jibes - nothing else.  David rose above the fear others experienced because he chose not to listen with his ears - but he heard with his heart - the place where he regularly and consistently communed with God.  The enemy thundered his jeers and jibes - David boldly proclaimed his assurance - God would not be mocked by such a one as this giant!  Isn't it about time we started talking to the giants in our lives much like David did to Goliath?  His words to Goliath:  "Who is this Goliath to defy the armies of the Lord?"  Why could he voice his assurance in such a bold manner?  I think it might be because he had learned not to listen with his ears, but to hear with his heart.  That which did not match what he knew about the God he communed with in his heart would have no part in bringing discouragement, fear, or timidity in his life.  I think we'd do well to adopt such a "listening heart"!  Just sayin!