Announcements followed. (1) The final preparations for Vacation Bible School are being taken care of as VBS begins tomorrow at Twig Town Hall. The theme this year is "High Seas: Exploring the Mighty Love of God." (2) There was an announcement that New Life Covenant will begin recycling, which many thought a good idea. (3) Teen Challenge will be joining us in two weeks to minister to us in song and with testimonies. (4) The Blood Drive last week resulted in enough donated blood to save 42 lives. (Thank you to all who gave.)
Following the offering, today's Scripture reading was from Galatians 2:15-21. Then we went into a time of prayer, remembering needs and giving praise for God's good gifts.
Living With Boldness
Brad began by reminding us that whatever our situations or obstacles, one little stone and the power of God are stronger than any force this world can throw at us. "So be bold."
With this introduction we turned to I Samuel 17:1-11. It is the famous account of when Goliath challenged the Israelite army. "Come on! Give me a man and we'll fight each other." Goliath was an immense giant of a man, and his challenge left the Israelite army trembling, "dismayed and terrified."
Brad turned to a twentieth century experiment to illustrate the circumstances conveyed here. The experiment involved dogs and showed how even when safety and deliverance from an unpleasant experience is possible, some dogs become absolutely helpless to change their situation and circumstances. This "learned helplessness" is a major dilemma, for many of our problems begin with internal attitudes that chain us to failure.
So it is that the army of Israel looked at Goliath and only saw a hopeless situation. As a result, they cowered in fear.
But then, David stepped in. The King and head of the army, Saul, was not immediately impressed by the lad's confidence. But David relayed his experience in defending the sheep he shepherded, and that it was God who delivered him from the bear and the lion. And God would deliver him from this beast of a man, Goliath.
David's boldness impressed the army of Israel, and we all know how he stepped forward with a God-inspired confidence onto that battlefield.
Brad followed, however, with the acknowledgement that boldness doesn't just happen. David exercised boldness in his daily life, strengthening his confidence in the course of tackling daily responsibilities. David did not become bold overnight. His experience with the bear and the lion were preparatory steps toward his confrontation with Goliath. When Goliath slandered the name of the God he served, David had no choice but to step forward. "God delivered me from the lion and the bear, and will deliver me from this Philistine," he declared.
Brad closed by directing his message to us with a question. How are you doing in the everyday challenges of your life? And more pointedly, what is the Goliath in your life that needs to be defeated today?