Saul’s anger puzzles David. What has he done but good? He has brought musical healing to Saul’s tortured spirit, hope to the enfeebled nation. He is the Abraham Lincoln of the Hebrew calamity, saving the republic and doing so modestly and honestly. He behaves “wisely in all his ways” (18:114) ”all Israel and Judah loved David” (18:16) David behaves “more wisely than all the servants of Saul, so that his name became highly esteemed.” (18:30)
Yet, Mount Saul keeps erupting, rewarding David’s deeds with flying spears and murder plots. We understand David’s question to Jonathan: “What have I done? What is my iniquity, and what is my sin before your father, that he seeks my life?” (20:1)
Jonathan has no answer to give, for no answer exists. Who can justify the rage of a Saul?
Who knows why a father torments a child, a wife belittles her husband, a boss pits employees against each other? But they do. Sauls still rage on our planet. dictators torture, employers seduce, ministers abuse, priests molest, the strong and mighty control and cajole the vulnerable and innocent. Sauls still stalk Davids.
How does God respond to such cases? Nuke the nemesis? We may want him to. He’s been known to extract a few Herods and Pharaohs. How he will treat yours, I can’t say. But how he will treat you, I can. He will send you a Jonathan.
God counters Saul’s cruelty with Jonathan’s loyalty. Jonathan could have been as jealous as Saul. As Saul’s son, he stood to inherit the throne. A noble soldier himself, he was fighting Philistines while David was still feeding sheep.
Jonathan had reason to despise David, but he didn’t. He was gracious. Gracious because the hand of the Master Weaver took his and David’s hearts and stitched a seam between them. ”The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” (18:1)…
Oh, to have a friend like Jonathan. A soul mate who protects you, who seeks nothing but your interests, wants nothing but your happiness. An ally who lets you be you. You feel safe with that person. No need to weigh thoughts or measure words. You know his or her faithful hand will sift the chaff from the grain, kep what matters and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away. God gave David such a friend.
He gave you one as well. David found a companion in a prince of Israel; you can find a friend in the King of Israel, Jesus Christ. Has he not made a covenant with you? Among his final words were these: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:20)
Has he not clothed you? He offers you “white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of you nakedness may not be revealed” (Rev. 3:18). Christ cloaks you with clothing suitable for heaven.
In fact, he outdoes Jonathan. He not only gives you his robe; he dons your rages. ”God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:21 NIV).
Jesus dresses you. And, like Jonathan, he equips you. You are invited to “put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firn against all strategies and tricks of the Devil” (Eph. 6:11 NIV).
From his armory he hands you the belt of truth, the body armor of righteousness, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (vv. 13-17)
Just as Jonathan protected David, Jesus vows to protect you. ”I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from me” (John 10:28 NLT)
You long for one true friend? You have one. And because you do, you have a choice. You can focus on your Saul or your Jonathan, ponder the malic of your monster or the kindness of your Christ.
Beverly chooses to maximize Christ. Isn’t easy. How can you shift your focus away from the man who raped you? He entered Beverly’s home under the guise of official business. She had every reason to trust him; personal acquaintance and professional associate. He worked for the state and requested an audience with Beverly. But he took more than her time.
He denied and successfully covered up the deed. As he continues to move up the political ladder, Beverly spots him on the evening news, encounters him at parties. While he feigns innocence, she churns within.
But not like she used to. Two years after the rape she met her Jonathan. A friend told her about Christ – his protection, his provision, and his invitation. She accepted it. Memories of the rape still dog her, but they don’t control her. She isn’t left alone with her Saul any more. she seeks Christ rather than revenge; she measures choices against his mercy, not her violator’s cruelty. Beverly ponders and praises the living presence of Jesus. Doing so heals her soul.
Major in your evil emperor, if you choose. Paint horns on his picture. Throw darts at her portrait. Make and memorize a list of everything the Spam-brain took; you childhood, career, marriage, health. Live a Saul saturated life. Wallow in the sludge of pain. You’ll feel better, won’t you?
Or will you?
…to be continued.
He makes his point very well, doesn’t he?! I think it all boils down to something I thought of quite a while ago, we can be bitter or we can be better! Just my thought.
Love and hugs,
- Some Excerpts From “Facing Your Giants” by Max Lucado; Food For Thought (terri0729.wordpress.com)
- More From Max Lucado’s “Facing Your Giants” (terri0729.wordpress.com)
I started reading this book over the weekend and thought that I might share some of it as I go. If you have never read any of Max Lucado‘s books, I highly recommend that you do. He is extremely insightful and easy to read.
… Goliath stares down from the hillside. Only disbelief keeps him from laughing. He and his Philistine herd have rendered their half of the valley into a forest of spears; a growling, bloodthirsty gang of hoodlums boasting do-rags, BO, and barbed-wire tattoos. Goliath towers above the all; nine feet, nine inches tall in his stocking feet, wearing 125 pounds of armor, and snarling like the main contender at the World Wide Wrestling Federation championship night. He wears a size 20 collar, a IOI/2 hat, and a 56-inch belt. His biceps burst, thigh muscles ripple, and boasts belch through the canyon. ”This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other” (I Sam. 17:10 NIV) Who will go mano a mano conmigo? Give me your best shot.
No Hebrew volunteers. Until today. Until David.
David just showed up this morning. He clocked out of sheep watching to deliver bread and cheese to his brothers on the battle-front. That’s where David hears Goliath defying God, and that’s when David makes his decision. Then he takes his staff in his hand, and he chooses for himself five smooth stones from the brook and puts them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch that he has, and his sling is in his hand. And he draws near to the Philistine. (17:40)
Goliath scoffs at the kid, nicknames him Twiggy. ”Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” (17:43 NASB). Skinny, scrawny David. Bulky, brutish Goliath. The toothpick versus the tornado. The minibike attacking the eighteen-wheeler. The toy poodle taking on the rottweiler. What odds do you give David against his giant?
Better odds, perhaps, than you give yourself against yours.
Your Goliath doesn’t carry sword or shield; he brandishes blades of unemployment, abandonment, sexual abuse, or depression. Your giant doesn’t parade up and down the hills of Elah; he prances through your office, your bedroom, your classroom. He brings bills you can’t pay, grades you can’t make, people you can’t please, whiskey you can’t resist, pornography you can’t refuse, a career you can’t escape, a past you can’t shake, and a future you can’t face.
You know well the roar of your Goliath.
David faced one who fog-horned his challenges morning and night. ”For forty days, twice a day, morning and evening, the Philistine giant strutted in front of the Israelite army: (17:16 NLT) Yours does the same. First thought of the morning, last worry of the night – your Goliath dominates your day and infiltrates your joy.
How long has he stalked you? Goliath’s family was an ancient foe of the Israelites. Joshua drove them out of the Promised Land three hundred years earlier. He destroyed everyone except the residents of three cities; Gaza, Gath and Shadod. Gath bread giants like Yosemite grow Sequoias. Guess where Goliath was raised. See the G on his letter jacket? Gath High School. His ancestors were to Hebrews what pirates were to Her Majesty’s navy.
Saul’s soldiers saw Goliath and mumbled, “Not again. My dad fought his dad. My granddad fought his granddad.”
You’ve groaned similar words. ”I’m becoming a workaholic, just like my father.” ”Divorce streaks through our family tree like oak wilt.” ”My mom couldn’t keep a friend either. Is this ever going to stop?”…
Pretty thought-provoking, isn’t it?! I love the way he writes.
I’ve had my Goliaths in my days; alcohol, shop-lifting, lying, abuse, drugs, etc. None of them were easy battles either! My Goliaths chased me for 40 years before I had the courage to fight back. When I was at my lowest point in my life, when I had nothing to lose, I finally realized that I had EVERYTHING that I ever needed to win, God!
What about you? What are your Goliaths?
I’ll give you some more pieces of the book as I go, but I truly do suggest that you get a copy for yourself ’cause I have a feeling this is one of those books that I will read through more than once, with highlighter in hand!
Love and blessings to all,