When there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. 1 Samuel 17:34, 35, R.V.
David was growing in favor with God and man. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he now set his heart more fully to do the will of God than ever before. He had new themes for thought. He had been in the court of the king and had seen the responsibilities of royalty. He had discovered some of the temptations that beset the soul of Saul and had penetrated some of the mysteries in the character and dealings of Israel’s first king. He had seen the glory of royalty shadowed with a dark cloud of sorrow, and he knew that the household of Saul, in their private life, were far from happy. All these things served to bring troubled thoughts to him who had been anointed to be king over Israel. But while he was absorbed in deep meditation, and harassed by thoughts of anxiety, he turned to his harp, and called forth strains that elevated his mind to the Author of every good, and the dark clouds that seemed to shadow the horizon of the future were dispelled.
God was teaching David lessons of trust. As Moses was trained for his work, so the Lord was fitting the son of Jesse to become the guide of His chosen people. In his watchcare for his flocks, he was gaining an appreciation of the care that the Great Shepherd has for the sheep of His pasture.
The lonely hills and the wild ravines where David wandered with his flocks were the lurking place of beasts of prey. Not infrequently the lion from the thickets by the Jordan, or the bear from his lair among the hills, came, fierce with hunger, to attack the flocks. According to the custom of his time, David was armed only with his sling and shepherd’s staff; yet he early gave proof of his strength and courage in protecting his charge….
His experience in these matters proved the heart of David and developed in him courage and fortitude and faith.
Courage and Conflict p. 161
——I met a lady whose mother is in the hospital and not doing well. She needs
—–update on Abigail—She will be taken out of foster care and placed in a loving home that will be able to care for her health needs prior to transitioning to her family’s care. Please pray for her health and her parents as well. Debby
After my grandfather and his brother were grown, my great-grandmother was very lonely. Somehow, she talked her husband into adopting a child. They chose a little girl named Margaret. She gave my great-grandmother some comfort from her difficult life. Sadly, this little girl lived only until she was in her early teens.
Without the antibiotics that we have today, many diseases in those far off days were fatal. Lacking an understanding of viruses and bacteria, the common people had many theories as to how these diseases were contracted. The people theorized that the diphtheria germ floated in the air until stuck to the rooftops. This seemed to make sense to them, because it seemed that when the snow and ice that covered the roof began to melt and form icicles, children would get this illness. They decided that the germs were in the icicles. Parents warned their children never to eat them and explained that if they did, they would get very sick and die.
Despite the warnings, Margaret decided to break off one of those dripping icicles and suck on it. Her throat felt dry and the forbidden icicle’s coldness felt soothing. She wondered why she had not tried it before. Not many days after this she got diphtheria and died. Everyone believed it was because of that icicle.
Every winter, when I was a little girl, my grandfather showed me a picture of Margaret in her casket and warned me never to eat or even take one, small lick of an icicle no matter how good it looked. No doubt Margaret contracted diphtheria in a completely different way, but my grandfather believed that old theory all of his life. He loved me and was always so afraid that something would happen to me. So he gave me warning after warning.
Just as the people of long ago had some strange ideas about how diseases were spread, so there are many different theories about what is truth. Our Great Creator placed deep within each of us is the desire to know the truth. Yet, the evil one has placed counterfeits in the path in order to keep us from the very truth that we need. Some people declare that in order to be saved, we must make difficult pilgrimages to various shrines or holy places. Others believe that all we have to do is believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and live as we please. Some say that in order to be saved, we must perform certain rites and ceremonies. Some believe that if they exactly follow the ten commandments, they can earn their way to salvation. Others believe that whatever their minister says is the truth and their idea of truth fluctuates according to whatever pastor they happen to have.
What is truth? How can we know the way? Solomon warns, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Prov 14:12 Our Dear Saviour tells us, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Matt 7:13,14, Luke 13:24 Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” John 17:17 God’s Holy Word is “and lamp unto feet and a light unto path.” Ps 119:105 Jesus declares, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
Only through the study of God’s Holy Word can we find the truth. “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. . . cleanse thou me from secret faults. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins, let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Ps 119:160, 19:7-14 And Peter, as he was writing to the believers also assures us of this fact. He tells of his experience on the mount of transfiguration and then he makes the point that more important than what we see, more sure than what we hear, is the Word of God. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter 1:19-21 Isaiah was moved to write, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isa 8:20 Here is the key. Everything we hear, everything we see must be tested by a “Thus saith the Lord.”
Why is a study of the Scriptures so important? From Genesis to Revelation they reveal the Way, the Truth, and the Life, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” John 14:6, Gal 1:4,5 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.” 1John 3:1 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12 Praise God! The Only Begotten Son of God left all of the glories of Heaven, all the worship of beings unfallen, all the adoration of the angels, and came to this dark and miserable planet to suffer and die the cruelest of deaths, that He might “redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14 “What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Rom 6:15,16, 1 Cor 6:19,20
Where do works fit in? James explains their importance for a balanced Christian life. “What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled, notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” James 2:14-18
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 Therefore, let us “study to show [ourselves] approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Tim 2:15 Let us “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in [us] both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Phil 2:12,13