In 1 Samuel 15, King Saul chose to listen to the people he was leading rather than God. Because of his continuous disobedience God tore the kingdom from him to give to someone who was better than him. As Samuel mourned for Saul, God told him to go to Bethlehem to anoint a new king from Jesse’s house. When Jesse’s firstborn went in front of Samuel, he looked at his height and build. He immediately thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed.” Then in 1 Samuel 16:7, God replied, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (NLT).
In the next chapter, King Saul and the Israelites are ready for battle with the Philistines when Goliath steps out. He challenged them to a one on one fight to determine the winner of the battle. Looking at his outward appearance and hearing his words, Israel became fearful. For forty days this happened until David showed up. Instead of seeing an intimidating, undefeatable giant, he saw victory through God’s strength. He offered to fight, but people laughed at him. When he went onto the battlefield, even Goliath laughed because he was looking at the outward appearance of things. David won the battle that day because he knew who God was and he stepped onto the battlefield risking everything and giving God the chance to show up.
1 John 4:4 reminders us, “The Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” I don’t know what giant you’re facing or how your situation looks. I do know that God is greater than it and more powerful. It’s time you quit looking on the outside of the situation and started looking inside of you. God does not give you fear. He gives you power (2 Timothy 1:7). If you’re feeling outmatched and overwhelmed with defeat on the horizon for certain, step aside for a minute, pray and remember who is within you. Through Christ Jesus we have victory and nothing we face is too big for Him. Your giant is small and helpless compared to Him. Quit looking on the outside and start looking on the inside.
Each day at recess, my son’s fourth grade class heads to the playground. There’s a group of boys in the class who head straight for the basketball court. All these boys are under five feet tall, and most dribble the basketball while looking at it. They’re in the beginning stages of learning the game. Imagine if one day my son asked me to play on his team. I’m a foot taller than all the kids and my skills are better than all of theirs combined. It wouldn’t be fair. It would look like that Geico commercial where they had Jerome Bettis playing flag football. It’s a funny to watch, and fun if you were the team who had him. Each play they just handed him the ball while he dragged the other team down the field.
You and I fight battles all the time, but we keep our star player on the sidelines trying to fight them ourselves. Many times we’re overcome and even overtaken in our battles. We go back to God in tears asking why would He allow us to be defeated. Sometimes we even blame Him for the things going on in our lives, but the thing we fail to do in a lot of those situations is to call on Him to come fight our battles for us. We’ve got the, “I can do this” mentality, which is what God tried to move Israel away from in the Old Testament. God whittled down Gideon’s army down to 300 men to fight against over 100,000. He was showing that the battle is the Lord’s, not ours, and when we invite Him to fight on our behalf, it doesn’t matter what the odds are, we will win.
Psalm 56:9 says, “The very moment I call to you for a father’s help the tide of battle turns and my enemies flee. This one thing I know: God is on my side!” (TPT) The tide of your battle will turn when you call for God’s help. He will fight for you, and if God is for you, who can be against you (Romans 8:31)? Yes, inviting God into your battle creates an unfair advantage, but it’s something we are offered as His children. Don’t wait until the battle is over, call on Him today to come and fight on your behalf. Victory may not look like you think it should, but we are assured of victory when God is on our side. Don’t give up in your battle. Keep fighting the good fight, and invite God to come fight for you. Don’t keep Him on the sidelines.
The longer this pandemic goes on, the greater the economic impact its having. So many of us work in industries that are dependent on people getting together. Friends and family members have been getting let go from their jobs because there’s no work. I’ve had all my potential clients cancel as well. Small business friends are having to close their doors as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve called out to God in the last week for myself and others who need to be rescued from this financially and for those affected by the disease. Like Abraham standing over Isaac on the altar, we’re praying and looking for the alternative provision of God as we call out to Him for that rescue.
King David knew what it was like to lose everything. He was chased from his calling by Saul and later by his son. He hid out in the mountains of Ein Gedi and called out to God for rescue constantly. He kept reminding himself how great God is in order to keep his problems in perspective. When you’re losing everything, it’s important to keep that eternal perspective and to continue calling out to God. Your prayers are not falling on deaf ears. You are not forgotten. Your job or business is not your source, God is. Keep calling out to Him in desperation asking Him to rescue you, and then look for His answer. It may be hidden like the ram was for Abraham. You’re going to have to take your eyes off of your problem though to look for God’s rescue.
Here are some Bible verses on God’s rescue.
1. The righteous call to the Lord, and he listens; he rescues them from all their troubles.
Psalm 34:17 GNT
2. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.
2 Corinthians 1:10 NLT
3. The LORD helps them and rescues them; He rescues them from the wicked and saves them, Because they take refuge in Him.
Psalms 37:40 AMP
4. Watch this: God’s eye is on those who respect him, the ones who are looking for his love. He’s ready to come to their rescue in bad times; in lean times he keeps body and soul together.
Psalm 33:18-19 MSG
5. Oh, Lord God, answer my prayers! I need to see your tender kindness, your grace, your compassion, and your constant love. Just let me see your face, and turn your heart toward me. Come running quickly to your servant. In this deep distress, come and answer my prayer. Pull me out of this mess! Don’t let me sink! Rescue me from those who hate me and from all this trouble I’m in! Don’t let this flood drown me. Save me from these deep waters or I’ll go down to the pit of destruction.
Ever so years ago I lived in Cairo, Egypt. At certain times I would be about my business when I would notice people begin to scurry and panic a bit. I would then turn around to look at the dessert to see a dust storm coming. It would look like a huge brown wall from ground to sky getting bigger as it approached. I was given a warning when I first moved there. I was told that if I ever saw that, take cover and wait it out in a building. If I got caught in it, I wouldn’t be able to see and could get lost or possibly die.
Some storms that come into our lives are like that. They come when we least expect them and they’re blinding. If we don’t act quickly, we can lose sight of where we are going, lose our way, or feel like we’d rather die. These storms that pop up out of nowhere can be very dangerous if we don’t take shelter from them. You never know how long they’ll last, but if you’ve taken shelter in God, you can weather any storm.
Most of the early chapters of Isaiah are about the Lord’s wrath against cities and countries. It’s about destruction that God is going to bring on the ungodly. But in chapter 25, Isaiah begins to praise the Lord for His awesome power and ability to destroy. In verse 4, he reminds us who God is in the storm. He wrote, “But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress. You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat” (NLT).
Just like I was able to run into a building when a dust storm was coming, we can find our reprieve in Him. Too many times though, we try to fight the storm in our own strength. We try to weather it on our own. I can tell you that’s very tiring and will wear you out. I’ve tried that strategy. I ended up laid out on my living room floor exhausted from the battle before I cried out to the Lord for shelter. In our own strength we can’t endure very long, but we are stubborn and try it anyway.
It takes humility to admit you can’t do it on your own. You can choose to humble yourself and seek God for shelter or the storm can humble you. God would rather we admit up front that there’s nothing we can do on our own to fight the storm. He would rather we admit we can’t do it in our own strength, and that we go to Him for His. Don’t let pride stand in your way and keep you from praying, “Lord, I need you to shelter me from this storm. I can’t endure it on my own. I need your help.” When we humble ourselves, He is faithful and His grace is sufficient to cover you and to help you endure.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
Years ago, Tracy Lawrence sang a song called, “Find Out Who Your Friends Are”. The chorus said, “You find out who your friends are, Someone’s going to drop everything, Run out and crank up their car, Hit the gas, get there fast, Never stop to think, “What’s in it for me”, Or “‘It’s way too far”, They just show up, With their big ol’ heart, You find out who your friends are.” It’s a good reminder of the people in your life that you can count on for just about anything. God is One in whom we can count on in times of need.
King David had some incredible insight into who God is. He was a man after God’s heart, but he was also a man who lived a life of faith and trust. His psalms hit home with us because he was constantly in situations that required great faith and he wrote out his prayers. His desperation often matches our own and he gives words to prayers we need to pray in those moments. He found God to be a true friend who would never turn us away in our time of need. In Psalm 9:10, he wrote, “May everyone who knows your mercy keep putting their trust in you, for they can count on you for help no matter what. O Lord, you will never, no never, neglect those who come to you” (TPT)
You and I can go to God in our time of need and He will not neglect our need. I can tell you that He doesn’t answer each prayer the way I want Him to, but then again I don’t give my child everything he asks for either. Just like I look at the whole picture and make a decision for him, God does that with us. He meets our needs and never turns us away when we go to Him. His plan for our lives is greater than you or I can even imagine. For us to fulfill that plan, we’ve got to learn to trust Him the way David did. It’s not an easy path and things won’t always go your way, but if you keep trusting in Him, you’ll find that you can always count on Him no matter what.