Bears, Lions and Giants

Okay so I am going to completely steal some stuff from my Pastor's sermon Sunday but I know he won't mind! :-) His message was about fear (which is so relevant to everyone). There were so many great points to be learned from the conversation but there was one thing that has lingered in my mind and really stirred my heart since then so I feel compelled to share! It just so happened that one of the illustrations that came up Sunday was the last thing I had read in my daily reading plan...crazy...or maybe God's timing!

It's a story about bears, lions, giants...and a guy named David.

 David is known as the greatest king of Israel. He is called a man after God's own heart. What I love so much about king David is how completely transparent he was. Always, whether in victory or defeat, he came back to a humble worship of God. Most of us know the story of David fighting the giant (and he really was a giant). It's probably one of the favored Bible stories out there. David was so bold in his faith and it was that faith that saved the entire nation of Israel. What get's overlooked, and what I didn't really dwell on when I read the story, was that David, as a simple shepherd, fought a bear and a lion and killed them both before coming to face the giant.

I admit that one of my biggest faults is thinking to far ahead. I am constantly having to remind myself to stay in the "now". Do you ever do that? I'm sure it's partly just human nature. We all want to know what's next! This story of David that begins with him as a humble shepherd is proof that every single step we take is preparing us for something else. David had no idea he was destined to be king. He simply wanted to be a good shepherd. I am sure that in his estimation, being a good shepherd didn't include killing a bear or a lion to save a sheep. When the moment came, he must have struggled with whether or not it was worth it to fight. How easily he could have just shrugged the whole thing off and let the sheep go...but he didn't.

What I am discovering in my own life is that God is very intentional in his workings with me. David's fight with the bear and then the lion was necessary because it prepared him for the battle with Goliath.  The truth is that everyone of us will face a Goliath. God in his goodness though, prunes and refines us so that when that moment comes, we will be ready to fight. For David, the pruning was a bear and then a lion. How often do I miss the bears or the lions in my life because I'm looking for Goliath? I'm not ready to face Goliath! In fact, most of the time I think I am ready to face Goliath but yet, when the bear approaches I want to run the other way.

God want's to be big in our lives. For David, the pruning and refining in the hills with his sheep led to God's glory on the battlefield. The giants are out there and I will fight them, but I pray that I will recognize the bear when it comes my way and be willing to fight it first. I pray my selfish desires and my fears don't infringe on God's work in my heart. I pray that I will fight the bear in the quiet places of the valley so that I can stand on the mountain one day and conquer the giant.

"I have been taking care of my father's sheep and goats...when a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from it's mouth...the Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine.". 1 Samuel 17:34-37


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