pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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In the Lord Almighty

Reading: 1 Samuel 17: 19-23 & 32-49

Verse 47: “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”.

In some ways, today’s scenario is a bit comical. For days now this scene has unfolded: get up, cook some breakfast, get dressed for battle, form up in battle lines, shout challenges and curses at your enemy, hear Goliath’s challenge, stand there all day. At the end of the day they return to camp and get up to do it all over again. Each day a giant comes forth and requests a one-on-one battle to end this silly “charade” – I mean “war”. Goliath himself is comically large – over nine feet tall, intimidating, powerful. Goliath’s bravado causes the Israelites and their king, Saul, to become silent. None of them can even imagine going out to face the giant. Day after day this scenario plays out.

Goliath is representative of some if the people we meet. In their own minds they are larger than life. They see themselves as vastly superior in their chosen field. They look down with disdain on all other human beings who are clearly less. They rely on their own strength or abilities or intelligence or expertise. They fully trust in themselves alone.

In our silly story, David is the clueless outsider. He happily wanders into camp and hears something different in Goliath’s challenge. David hears Goliath challenging God. In David’s mind, it would not matter if Goliath was nine feet tall or ninety feet tall. For David, you don’t mess with God. David trusts not in himself or in the five smooth stones in his pouch. He remembers how God saved him from the lion and the bear – two that should have devoured this little shepherd boy. Just as with them David comes against Goliath in the name of the Lord. Demonstrating his faith in God alone, David says, “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”. Nine foot tall giant? Just watch what God can do!

This too should be our battle cry. The world will and does bring many giants and obstacles into our lives. On our own, they can seem insurmountable. To each we face, may we too say to them, “I come against you in the name of the Almighty Lord”. May we fully trust in our God who can do all things. Then our giants will fall facedown on the ground too. May it be so. Amen.


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Jesus Our Hope

In a physical sense we are much like all other living creatures.  We share much of the same DNA.  In addition, some animals have a language, some use tools, and some even have social orders and live in families.  All of the living creatures on earth experience illness and death.  The feelings of loss and pain associated with death are exhibited by many others species as well.

Two of the things though that separates humanity from other creatures is our superior intellect and our reasoning ability.  As time has evolved we have come to understand the intricacies of the human body and have sought means to extend life.  To be alive is awesome and amazing so we fight to preserve life.  Over time in our society the act of death has developed a fear and has become something to be avoided at almost all cost.  For many there is a meaninglessness and an unknown to dying.  For those without faith, there is a finality that has no hope and peace in death.

Jesus became incarnate so that ultimately He could experience suffering and death.  This sounds so countercultural because it is.  Yes, Jesus also come to put a human face and example on God’s great love for us.  But in the end Jesus came to suffer and die in sacrificial love for us.  He willingly bore the cross and the weight of our sins.  Through His blood He paid the cost for us to have eternal life.

In Hebrews we are reminded that all of creation is subject to Jesus.  Yet out of love for us He allowed Himself to the subject to death.  For all who call on Jesus as Lord and Savior, we find grace and forgiveness.  In Jesus we know that death does not have the final word.  In Him rests our eternal hope and a peace that passes understanding in the midst of death.  Jesus is our hope.  Thank you Jesus.

Scripture reference: Hebrews 2: 5-12