Proverbs 26 8-26-20

Did you know that God likes to hear from us as much as He does Franklin Graham? He looks for a willingness of heart.

24 Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit.

I’ve been reading a good book called, “Sons of Encouragement,” by F. Rivers about five supporting characters in the Bible: Aaron, Caleb, Jonathan, Amos, and Silas. The neat part of their stories was their willingness to be a supporting role in the lives of their leaders. While reading Jonathan’s story, I was following along in 1 Samuel 17 about Goliath. Here’s what I read:

Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

As I was reading, I was remembering how in Sunday’s Cool (Sunday School) we discussed the fact that Goliath was changing the rules about warfare and steering them to his advantage. Armies go out and fight together, never one-on-one (unless you’re watching a Jackie Chan movie). We should never allow people to “change the rules” on us. We go by the Word of God and not man’s intellect or logic. People’s sense of loyalty and fairness can be manipulated by the enemy; we must know how God thinks in order to know what is right. How DOES God think? Let’s read it:

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. 2 Chronicles 16:9a
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. John 2:24
16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Matthew 10:16

As we can see, we are to think as God thinks, but be wary of mankind’s ways of thinking. The Israelites needed this advice! What they did was allow Goliath to define who they were–or, better, Whose they were. Read it again: Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul?” It is true that he was a Philistine, but it was NOT true that they were servants of Saul. Rather, they were servants of the Most High God! David recognized it right away,

26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

Look at who David said they were: The armies of the living God. The Israelites had allowed Goliath to define who they were:. He successfully challenged them to fight on a plane that played to his advantage. Had they remembered Whose they were, they would have sought God’s plan for overcoming the Philistines as a whole rather than succumbing to their deceit and schemes.

We would do well to keep this story in mind when we are challenged concerning our sense of fairness, loyalty, manhood, pride, and even for the sake of others. We MUST remain true to our God and let Him sort out the fall-out. When it comes down to brass tacks, we must obey our LORD individually. Jesus was very clear:

21 When Peter saw him [John], he asked, “Lord, what about him?” 22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”  John 21:21-22

Let’s have willing hearts before the LORD; let’s be wise as serpents and innocent as doves; let’s think about true, noble, right,  pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy things; let’s be fully committed to our LORD and follow Him. It’s the RIGHT thing to do.

Abba, may we always stop and pray so that we do not fall into temptation (Luke 22:46). It is important to ask You Your opinion and plan. What You say is not optional; it’s exactly what we need to do–exactly like You say to do it. Keep drumming this truth into my head! YOU define us, LORD: We are your people, and the sheep of Your pasture. Guide us, Good Shepherd. Amen.

 

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