Improbable Odds

Rev. Judy Derff –

As a young, small nation Israel faces many enemies.  Her first king, Saul, gathers his forces to do battle with the Philistines.  All seems to be going as planned until the Philistines uncover their secret weapon, Goliath.  He is a giant of a man who challenges Israel to send one warrior against him with the winner determining the victorious nation who takes the other into slavery.  With Goliath, they had “ownage,” as they say in baseball.  Daily Goliath throws down the challenge and daily the Israelites fall back in fear.  No one will face Goliath.  You know the story.  David, son of Jesse, shepherd boy has come to provision three of his brothers and check on them for his father.  David boldly steps forward to face Goliath with nothing more than his sling shot and a round stone and he fells the terrifying giant.

A children’s story too good to be true or can it speak into our adult lives and very real problems?  You know the preacher’s answer, “of course it does.”  We all come face to face with seemingly insurmountable problems and fears – the loss of a loved one, a crippling chronic condition, a job gone, a career no longer viable, a culture that has pushed Christian faith to the sidelines.  We often fall back in fear.  The giant issues or our fear and anxiety around them prevent us from facing the problem and doing battle.  But David, Israel’s future and “greatest” king, shows us a way forward.  We use what we have, what we’ve already been given.  David says to Goliath, “you come to me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts….the Lord does not save by sword and spear for the battle is the Lord’s.”(1 Samuel 17:45-47)

The Old and New Testament readings for Sunday, June 21, are about facing into danger, hardship and suffering.  Jesus, the disciples, Paul all confront their own “Goliath.”  What Goliath do you face?  What problems or fears confront you?  How might you turn this battle over to the Lord?  In what will you trust?