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  • Shawn Thornton

Out of the Stands and Into the Arena

Monday - April 19th

Scripture to Read Today: 1 Samuel 17:20-50


David said to Saul,

"Let no one lose heart on

account of this Philistine;

your servant will go and fight him."

1 Samuel 17:32

Everyone knows the basics of the David and Goliath story in the Bible. Even if someone has not heard the biblical account, they know the gist of it due to cultural references. Watching a college football matchup between a top competitive university and a small unknown college, you will hear, "Today's game is a real David vs. Goliath matchup." We hear references to the Old Testament story involving the early days of Israel's greatest king in business, entertainment, education, sports, and even medicine. Referencing it means you are highlighting the story of an underdog trying to take on the obvious “winner.”

When Israel's David determined to meet the Philistines' Goliath on the battlefield, everything was on the line. The loser's nation would serve the winner's nation as servants (the Philistines did not live up to the agreement). The nearly ten-foot-tall Goliath had taunted the armies of Israel for 40 days. The battle would be a man-to-man fight that would determine the fate of each nation.

Throughout the 40 days, Goliath mocked Israel for failing to send a warrior to take him on in battle. A young shepherd boy, David, came to the frontlines of Israel's armies to deliver fresh food to his older brothers on behalf of his father. He overheard the nasty taunting of Goliath. David could not stand hearing the God of Israel being mocked. He declared his desire to challenge Goliath, believing God would give him the victory over the ungodly giant.

David said to King Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him" (1 Samuel 17:32). David may have been as young as fourteen or fifteen at the time. David's brothers, King Saul, and even Goliath, noted and challenged the young age and inexperience of the shepherd boy from Bethlehem. But David would have none of it. In his heart, he could not allow the ungodly bully from Philistia to go unchallenged as he mocked Israel's God. David had to act since no one who should have acted would.

That day, David stepped out of the stands and into the arena. He would not merely be a spectator. David took action. He trusted that His God would take care of Him. Because David stepped into the arena of the battlefield in the Valley of Elah, the giant fell. The Philistine armies were defeated. Israel won the victory. The name of Jehovah God, which had been mocked for weeks, was now lifted high among the heathen nations. David became a hero to his fellow Israelites. He refused to sit idly by as a spectator.

David got out of the stands and into the arena. He served God in the opportunity that presented itself. What an excellent example for us today! It can be easy to sit on the sidelines of what God is doing through His church in our world today. Satan loves it when we believe our Christianity is to be lived out as spectators. David's older brothers, King Saul, and all of the soldiers in Israel's army sat back that day. But David did not.

The easiest thing to do is sit back and watch others love, serve, grow, reach out, and minister. But passages like Ephesians 4:1-16, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Romans 12:3-21, and 1 Peter 4:8-11 command us to engage with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Maybe it is time for you to step out of the stands into the arena!

If we can be of help to you today as you commit to engage, email and say, "I am ready to get in the arena!" Maybe God is already nudging you to engage in a specific way; take steps to do so today. Don't wait till tomorrow!

God calls us to engage in His work and with His family. He doesn't call us to some pseudo form of passive Christianity!


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