Be Still and Know

Icelandic sheep, Grábrók, Vesturland, Iceland, 08/15/2014. Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 4.0

Icelandic sheep, Grábrók, Vesturland, Iceland, 08/15/2014.
Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 4.0

I lift my eyes up to the mountains. Where is my help? My help comes from the Lord.

You see evil ramping at an exponential rate and you say, “I will believe in God’s help when I see it.” But I say, “You must believe first, to truly see.”

My help comes from the Lord who made the heavens and the earth. I will trust Him at all times and pour out my heart to Him with oceans of prayers and rivers of tears. For God is my refuge, My very present help in times of trouble. He is my rock, my strength, my salvation, my glory.

The above lines are familiar because they come from the Psalms. God has been speaking to me through the Psalms quite a bit of late. When David penned them, they weren’t really ‘songs,’ not yet, anyway.

What were they?

They were prayer journals. Yes, David journaled, before turning his prayers into songs.

Much wisdom is to be found in studying what the not-yet-crowned king wrote. Consider this – when the prophet Samuel went to Jesse the Bethlehemite to consecrate him and his sons [to come and sacrifice to the Lord with him, or so he said, but really to anoint one of his sons as Saul’s replacement] he took one look at Eliab, Jesse’s oldest, and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!”

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” [I Samuel 16:7, NKJV]

Samuel examined each of Jesse’s sons, from the eldest to the second youngest, but the Lord did not choose the brightest and fairest of Jesse’s sons. He must have had some strapping young men for Samuel to think the first of them was the Lord’s anointed.

None of them qualified.

Zero, zip, nada.

Samuel asked Jesse if all his sons had come, and he said “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” [I Samuel 16:11b, NKJV]

Jesse did not consider his youngest son a person, really. He was just a kid, not someone worthy for God to raise up as king. He was what, twelve to fifteen years old? And super stinky from sleeping with Dad’s sheep twenty-four seven.

Gross.

Yeah, I know. He probably smeared boogers on the sheep, too, but God saw his heart. He saw that David looked to God, not himself, for his strength, his help, his salvation. He saw a lad who, though rejected by father, mother, and brothers, and considered unfit to face Goliath, was willing to trust God completely, proven through years of tending his father’s sheep. And because of this, God gave to him supernatural boldness. The rest is as they say, history.

…as Goliath’s head rolls.

Some people estimate the time between when Samuel anointed David (around fifteen years old) to when David was crowned king to be as much as twenty-two years.

So what happened during the interim?

Well, he ran from Saul a lot.

And he journaled.

But let’s back up a bit. Shortly after Samuel anointed David as king, Saul and his armies found themselves in a bit of a tight spot with the Philistines and their champion, Goliath.

Yeah, he was like, totally Nephilim, man.

Noradina and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre, Painting by Giovanni Lanfranco, circa 1624, Galleria Borghese, Public Domain.

Noradina and Lucina Discovered by the Ogre,
Painting by Giovanni Lanfranco, circa 1624, Galleria Borghese, Public Domain.

Saul encamped in the valley of Elah with his armies, but no one would go out and fight Goliath. They were terrified of the giant and Goliath knew it, so he taunted them every day. After forty days of this nonsense, father Jesse dispatched David to transport food down to his boys and their captains: dried grain, ten loaves of bread, and ten cheeses.

Hold the phone.

Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture?

Why would a loving father order his youngest son to deliver take-out to his brothers on the battlefield? Why didn’t the coward Jesse go? Was the food a bribe for protection? I wouldn’t send any teen of mine into harm’s way.

Not even for Chick-fil-A.

So Jesse sends David with bad boy num-nums, to obtain a news report in lieu of CNN.

Simple, right?

Not quite.

When David found out what was going on, he got steamed, really steamed.

26 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
27 And the people answered him in this manner, saying, “So shall it be done for the man who kills him.”
28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.”
29 And David said, “What have I done now? Is there not a cause?” [1 Samuel 17:26-29, NKJV]

       Oh boy, did Eliab resent little brother. Makes me curious as to why, since he obviously had nothing to compete with, except for one tiny fact — Samuel passed him over in favor of the tot.

Painting detail from Allegory of the Triumph of Venus, by Angelo Bronzino, National Gallery, London, circa 1545. Public Domain.

Painting detail from Allegory of the Triumph of Venus,
by Angelo Bronzino, National Gallery, London,
circa 1545. Public Domain.

Jealousy.

What did Eliab have to be jealous of, other than the calling of God on another man? Well, there’s that. And we are talking about his little brother. Nothing like having someone younger outshine you to make things interesting.

Fast forward a few minutes…

31 Now when the words which David spoke were heard, they reported them to Saul; and he sent for him. 32 Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.”
34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you!” [1 Samuel 17:31-37, NKJV]

Did you catch that?

David learned to trust God in increments, while tending to the littles in life, in this case, sheep.

Baaaaa aaaa aaaaa.

Sheep in the Valley, by Yoav Rosenberg, Jerusalem, Israel 04/13/2005, CC-BY-3.0

Sheep in the Valley, by Yoav Rosenberg, Jerusalem, Israel 04/13/2005, CC-BY-3.0

David had already slain both lion and bear, and in his mind this uncircumcised Philistine was no more than an animal, for defying the armies of the living God.

Wow, now that’s just racist.

Technically, no.

Goliath was one of the giants of Gath, descended from Rapha (2 Samuel 21:15-22). The giants at Gath were known descendants of the giants, with supernatural size and six fingers and six toes on each hand and foot. According to Genesis 6:4, these were the heroes of old, those mighty men of renown from antiquity, such as Hercules, Zeus, Apollo, etc. Fallen angels do not belong to the race of men any more than a mule is a horse. Goliath was Nephilim and his spirit, demonic. Many believe the spirits of disembodied Nephilim were some of who made up Legion, that horde of demons Jesus cast into the swine herd (Mark 5:9, 15; Luke 8:30).

David Thanking God after the Death of Goliath, Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, France Anonymous Italian Painter, circa 1700-1750, Public Domain

David Thanking God after the Death of Goliath,
Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon, France
Anonymous Italian Painter, circa 1700-1750, Public Domain

When the Romans conquered Judea and forcibly relocated the Jews, they renamed the area Palestine, after the Philistines. But today’s Palestinians are Arabs, not descendants of the Philistines who disappeared from history around the 7th century B.C. Today’s Palestinians are Arabs from Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon, who were drawn to the region when they saw the Palestinian Jews, who have always lived there, turning the desert and swamps into viable farmland through irrigation.

But that’s a topic for another time.

Back to David. Fast forward a few years and we find him running for his life, hiding in caves from Saul, who is chasing the man all over trying to lop off his head because he doesn’t want to give up the crown.

Imagine that.

In one of David’s journals, he penned what we know today as Psalm 27.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.
4 One thing I have desired of the LORD,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD,
And to inquire in His temple.
5 For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
8 When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek.”
9 Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the LORD will take care of me.
11 Teach me Your way, O LORD,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
14 Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD! [Psalm 27:1-14, NKJV]

Wait, did you catch that?

David wrote “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take care of me.” [Psalm 27:10, NKJV]

Did David’s parents grow impatient waiting for their youngest to be crowned king and begin seriously doubting his qualifications, if any, as well as Samuel’s presence of mind, with God’s supposed choice? Is it possible Jesse played the Favorite-Son game? We have read that he did not consider David worthy to present to Samuel, conveniently overlooking his existence until the prophet of God guilted him into admitting he had another son, that lad over yonder tending the sheep.

Do you know someone who is facing a twenty-first century Goliath?

Sure you do.

The temptation, however, is to be threatened, not by what they’re tackling, but the fact that they are tackling a Goliath  And if they do so with calmness and confidence, that’s even worse. Then when God leads someone to do something Goliath-like and the results aren’t forthcoming, he or she is often discounted out-of-hand, their character maligned, and the validity of their calling called into question.

Why?

Because God moves faster, if this was God at all, and the one doing the discrediting walks away feeling justified. They could do as good a job, probably better, if they wanted to, which they don’t. Instead, they spread their version of the truth based on incomplete information, misconstrued facts, and good old-fashioned jealousy, and they gossip, hiding behind the guise of “churchified” righteousness.

Is that even a word?

Oh yes, it’s in the Friends and Family Plan. You need to freshen up on your Bible stories.

“For false witnesses have risen against me,
and such as breathe out violence.” [Psalm 27:12b, NKJV]

Do you remember David’s response, in his journal?

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!” [Psalm 27:13-14, NKJV]

Huh.

Could it be this simple, that waiting on the Lord was the key to David’s eventual success?

“David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” [I Samuel 30:6 AMP]

We tend to read the Bible through rose-colored glasses, but the truth is that Scripture is filled with people like you and me. As individuals, we rarely consider the struggles others face, unless they are popular, or a favored son or daughter. More typically, we turn a blind eye to those around us, so when we hear that someone is believing God for something truly big in scope, we tend to grow envious, like maybe they think they’ve got some hotline to the throne room that we missed, somehow, along life’s many bumps.

In our insecurity, we grow to distrust them, and from distrust, we grow to hate them, forgetting that God is not a respecter of persons. What He has done for one, He will do for another, if he or she is willing to seek Him, and ask.

Are you?

“11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.” [Jeremiah 29:11-14, NKJV]

Icelandic Sheep 08/20/2011, by Wendy Quadling, CC-BY-3.0

Icelandic Sheep 08/20/2011, by Wendy Quadling, CC-BY-3.0

“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

…Be still, and know that I am God.” [Psalm 46:1-5, 10a, NKJV]

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Stay tuned for some very good news and the resumption of the blog.

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Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified® Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958,  1962,  1964,  1965,  1987, by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.lockman.org)

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