A World Full of Eliabs

 

Beware of fear, jealousy and pride that will cause you to be angry at the wrong people. From the story of David and Goliath, David became angry at the oversized, arrogant giant for making a mockery of Israel’s army. But when he spoke to the soldiers asking who was the uncircumcised Philistine making threats in the valley, his own brother, Eliab, became angry with him.

 “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.” I Samuel 17:28
Instead of Eliab being angry with the enemy, he was angry with the one who would deliver him from the enemy.  Eliab was angry with the wrong person.  He could have been angry with himself for not rising up again Goliath, but in his own fear, he spoke, and from a jealous heart he mocked and belittled David.
You should know the world we live in is full of people like Eliab, unwilling to take action, but upset when others decide to.  The Eliabs of the world feel big and powerful when they talk down to others. The Eliabs of the world attack those who should be on the same side and should have the same goal in mind. The Eliabs of the world are confused and jealous. They live with fear in their hearts so they come against even those in their own family.  You very well may know an Eliab, but just like David didn’t let his older brother stop him, make sure no one stops you from your mission in life. In response to Eliab, David said, “Is there not a cause?”  No matter what is said about you and no matter how small some may want you to feel, keeping pressing on!

Fighting Words

Many people have been provoked into a fight just by a few words that hit them the wrong way.  If you want to start something with someone, start talking about their children or say something negative about their mother, and see what happens.  When David was on the battle field in the company of Israel’s army, he heard Goliath defying the armies of Israel, words that provoked him to go against Goliath, the Philistine.

And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, thePhilistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of thePhilistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard [them]. 24 And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fledfrom him, and were sore afraid.” I Samuel 17:23-24

Think about it, David’s reaction to the mocking, defying, arrogant words of Goliath was completely the opposite of all of Israel’s army.  When Israel’s army saw and heard Goliath, they fled with hearts full of fear.  When David heard Goliath, his response was, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God.”  V. 26

Something rose up in David when he heard Goliath that didn’t rise up in the other men.  David heard fighting words!  David couldn’t stand by and do nothing while Goliath spewed out insults against God.  Because of the anointing on David’s life, he couldn’t walk away or cower down as the other men.

And as disciple’s of Christ, our hearts and ears should be tuned in and sensitive to what others are saying around us.  We should never go out looking to start a debate with anyone, but when the opportunity presents itself, be provoked in the name of Jesus.  We never want to have an argumentative spirit, but we can object and we can be a voice of truth. We can stand for what is right and we can stand for others who may not have the power or ability to stand for themselves.  David didn’t speak words of rebuke to Israel’s army, he just did what they were not able to do, fight against Goliath.  David reminds us of Jesus Christ, who was a defender of the weak and timid.  He was a defender against the religious bullies of His day, just like David was against Goliath.

As a disciple of Christ, you have something in you that causes you to react differently than others.  Live in your powerful anointing of God.

Fighting in the Valley

What some call fighting, may not be fighting at all.  When David came to the Valley of Elah, Israel’s army and the Philistine army had been lining up in battle array for 40 straight days preparing to engage in a battle.  Up until the 40th day, no swords had been drawn, no blood had been spilt, and who would be victorious was still to be determined.  Even on the 40th day, Israel’s army marched to their positions acting as though they were going to fight, but there was no fighting in the battle.

“Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel [were] in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20 So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took [the things] and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle.“ I Samuel 17:19-20

Israel was prepared to fight with each man armored up and lined up, but no one took a step towards the enemy.  They went out to the battlefield pumping each other up, “shouting for the battle,” but still there was no action.  What Israel’s army was doing is what many churches and Christians do today.  We get in our worship services and shout and get all worked up preparing for battle with the enemy.  We lift our hands and shout and we talk about the armor and how the battle belongs to the Lord, but we learn to live with the Goliaths.  We might wonder how long the stalemate would have gone on before David showed up.  The real fighting against the enemy only began when David showed up.  And as disciples of Christ, we must know that we are no match for the enemy.  We must also know that fighting against the enemy begins when Jesus shows up in our prayers and praise and He gives us the victory over our enemy.  He knows how the enemy stops us in our tracks and how we can’t move forward in life until He shows up.  So if you are in a battle today and find yourself lining up, dressed in your armor, invite Jesus to come.  Stand and wait on Jesus to come.  Give Him praise for the victory!  Spiritual fighting only begins when the King of Kings shows up.  Don’t go out against your enemy no matter how spiritually charged you are, only Jesus can defeat him.

David

It’s very possible to be anointed by God and yet unknown by men.  After David took the head off of Goliath’s shoulders with his own sword, King Saul was curious as to who David was.

1 Samuel 17:55-56  “When Saul saw David going out against the Philistine, he said to Abner, the commander of the army, “Abner, whose son [is] this youth?” And Abner said, “As your soul lives, O king, I do not know.” 56 So the king said, “Inquire whose son this young man [is.]”

From reading I Samuel 16, it appears that King Saul must have known David to some degree since he had been summoned to play the harp to sooth Saul when he was distressed.  Even prior to David going down into the valley to take on Goliath, David and Saul had a serious conversation.  But it is possible to know someone, but really not know them at all.  The anointed of God was among Israel, yet not even the king seemed to know who David was.  Likewise, there are many men and women who have been anointed by God through salvation and the filling of the Holy Spirit, who are unknown to most people.  The Pharisees claimed to know Jesus, but they didn’t really know Him.  They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How is it then He says, “I have come down from heaven?”  John 6:42

David was anointed by God, but not so he could be known, but that he could deliver Israel from Goliath and be seated on the throne of Israel.  David was Saul’s replacement and Saul didn’t know it.  Think about how desperate King Saul and Israel was in that battle.  King Saul would allow someone who was unknown to go against Goliath.  David was the only volunteer among Israel’s army and he was unknown.  As anointed children of God, we should not concern ourselves with being known to men.  Even John the Baptist identified himself as “a voice crying out in the wilderness.”  Our concern should be to faithfully trust and obey in doing the will of the Father.

Jesus was known not because of His name or by who His earthly father and mother were, He was known by His anointing.  He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, made the lame to walk again, and raised the dead back to life.  He was identified by His anointing.  David walked in his anointing that caused him to trust in God and to boldly stand against Goliath.  As a child of God, you have an anointing on your life.  Walk in it!

Goliath

David went from running errands for his earthly father to fighting in an epic battle against Goliath and the Philistines for his Heavenly Father on the same day.  He didn’t go to the Valley of Elah for a fight, he went there to deliver food to his brothers and to see how they were doing.  For 40 days Goliath came to the battle field between the two armies, challenging one of Israel’s men to a “winner takes all” kind of match to the death.  Of the thousands lined up in Israel’s army, not one soldier dared fight Goliath, but the day David showed up, all of Israel got the victory.  How did this shepherd boy end up being the Savior?

  1.  David arrived arrived at the perfect time.  He rose early to take the supplies for his brothers and when he arrived, armies were lining up for battle. 1 Samuel 17:20  “So David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took [the things] and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the fight and shouting for the battle.”  When God intends to use you, you will always arrive at the perfect time.
  2. David heard some fighting words from Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:23 “Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words. So David heard [them.].”
  3. David saw what he needed to see that caused him to fight against Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:24 “And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid.”

In life you will come to similar moments just like this where you have to do something that will change your life and the life of others.  David wasn’t looking for a fight, and neither should we, but there are fights that will come.  And there are foes we are no match for that will come against us and stop us in our tracks and paralyze us with fear.  When that happens, this epic Old Testament battle with David and Goliath teaches us what to do.  Line up for battle and stand in formation like Israel’s army, and then wait in faith believing Someone will come and fight your battles for you.  His name is Jesus!

Wives

The modern woman may not care too much for the holy scriptures of God, especially that scripture that speaks of being in subjection to your own husbands.  Many modern women consider the word submissive and subjection to being antiquated and outdated and a put-down to women.  And those that view that humbling attitude toward their own husbands do so only because they don’t know the deeper reason for this command or they deem it beneath them to come into such a humble position.  Every wife should know that Christ was never against women, nor was He geared towards keeping women suppressed.  Let’s read again what Peter would say to the wives:

“Wives, likewise, [be] submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct [accompanied] by fear.“ I Peter 3:1-2

The apostle Paul practically said the same thing to those at the church at Ephesus and Colossae:

“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.“ Ephesians 5:22-23

Being submissive to your own husband doesn’t mean a wife doesn’t have leadership and great ideas and visions to offer.  It doesn’t mean to be an inactive partner in the marriage.  The word “submission” was a Greek military term that had to do with placing military troops in an order under the commanding officer.  Used in non-military life, the word would mean to have an attitude of agreement, cooperating, and carrying a burden. Let me say here also, not every wife struggles with the word submission or the attitude or actions that follow it.  The reason some women don’t struggle with it is because they are married to godly men who adore them and care for their needs and have proven themselves to do everything in their wife’s and family’s best interest.  I have told men this—that their wife would follow them to the other side of the world, if they would only treat them as Jesus would.

When a wife knows that her submission to her husband is really a submission “as to the Lord,” then her resistance to it is greatly reduced.  When a wife knows that her submission is attractive and a way to win a non-believing husband to the Lord, then embracing that attitude is more likely.  When a wife knows that she still has a significant voice and input into the marriage even while being submissive, then being submissive becomes easier.  When a wife lives with a husband that lovingly communicates with her rather than makes demands of her, she gladly takes up her powerful role as being a submissive wife.  God is glorified when the wife loves her husband so much to live in subjection to him.

Husbands…

Husbands, God takes how you treat your wife as a critically important matter. It’s like God takes it personal.  According to the apostle Peter, how a husband treats his wife determines how God treats his prayers. Here is exactly what Peter said,

If you are the kind of husband that belittles and talks down to your wife, you should know that God takes notice. If you talk to your wife like she is your servant and you try to dominate her life, God takes notice.  If you cuss your wife or treat her like she is an ignorant child, God takes notice. If you beat your wife or threaten your wife in any way, God takes notice. No wife should have to walk around on eggshells because she is afraid to say or do the wrong thing because of a husband’s reactions.  Both your actions and attitude toward your wife are always being examined by God.
The word “hinder” means to cut off or to cut down and it carries the idea that if a husband mistreats or is constantly cutting down his wife, then God is going to cut down the husband’s prayers and petitions to God.  God deeply cares about the wife who is the weaker vessel, which speaks of the woman’s relative physical weakness in comparison to men.  Men are not always stronger spiritually but they most often are physically.  Women are also more emotional than men.  So husbands live with your wife giving her much grace, give her honor, and treat her with a tenderness that gives evidence in your own prayer life.   Husband, love your wife as Christ loved the church and sacrificed himself for it.  If you want your prayers to get through to God and for God to hear and graciously respond, think about how you treat your wife.

Dilapidated Disciples

“I went by the field of the lazy [man], And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; 31 And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down. 32 When I saw [it,] I considered [it] well; I looked on [it and] received instruction: 33 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest; 34 So shall your poverty come [like] a prowler, And your need like an armed man.”  Proverbs 24:30-34

The description of the field in this Proverbs described the condition of the man who owned it.  What happened?  There’s probably a combination of things that caused the owner of the field to stop tending to the vineyard and maintaining the stone walls of protection.  I’m certain, however, that this dilapidated condition didn’t happen overnight, and I’m also certain that the vineyard and field were not always like that.  Maintaining your spiritual life and walk with God is so much more critical than keeping up with your field.  There are many who live in beautiful homes on the outside, but their lives and spiritual life is dilapidated, overgrown, and ugly.

There is a lot of upkeep and maintenance to your spiritual life. It should be like a well-kept vineyard that produces an abundance of fruit, but there are weeds and thorns that must be removed.  You cannot allow the walls of protection around your spiritual life to crumble and fall over.  You have to know that keeping up with your own spiritual life so that it produces fruit is your responsibility.

I know the things that are of great value to me are tended to constantly and what has little value to me is not.  I spent some time recently one afternoon trimming back some crepe myrtles in my backyard.  It really wasn’t what I wanted to do, and it wasn’t necessarily any fun, but it was necessary if I wanted my backyard to be a pleasant place to be.  If you live in a home owners association, you are required to maintain some standard for your house and yard, but your spiritual life does not have this kind of strict oversight.  No one can do the upkeep in your spiritual life but you, so be encouraged today to do those things necessary to maintain the kind of fruit-producing life that pleases God.

God is Helping You!

It may not feel like or seem like, but God is helping you.  Recently I was loading some construction supplies at a yard north of Tyler, and to load the material, I had to first unload a large and expensive piece of walnut from the back of my one ton.  After getting the materials loaded and strapped onto the bed of my truck, I took off to my company’s lumber yard about 30 miles away.  I got about a mile-and-a-half down the road, and it came to my mind, I never reloaded the piece of walnut!  I wasn’t concerned whether or not it would be there, but about how it would have been had that piece of walnut not come to my mind.  I thought about the time I would have wasted and the inconvenience of having to go back and even the embarrassment that I forgot it.

When God’s Word tells us that God is our help, we may tend to categorize the times and places He is and isn’t willing to help.  For example, many can only recognize the help of God in a crisis situation or emergency.  But from my understanding of who God is, He is helping us in every way and at all times, not just in the emergency situations of our lives.  He is helping us in the ordinary mundane situations of life.  God is helping us even remember things, and let me say, God is helping us forget some things.  God is helping us speak at times and to know what to say.  God is helping us in moments of great sorrow through a call or text from a friend.  God is placing complete strangers in our pathway to help us.  God is helping us understand spiritual truths and realities.  God is helping us apply the principles of His Word to our lives.  God is helping us love and empowering us to wait.  There is not an area of your life God is not helping you.  We don’t always make the connection or give Him the glory and credit, but He still helps us.  The next time something good happens in your life, consider it and believe it to be God in the middle of it.  God is helping you!

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’”  Hebrews 13:5-6

More Than You Can Handle

God delights in giving you more than you can handle.  That sounds just the opposite of a popular cliche tossed around by many Christians who say, “God will not put on you more than you can handle.”  But that hasn’t been my experience in life and in my walk with God.  I’ve been overwhelmed by tasks many times, and I’m certain you have as well.  The truth of God’s Word is, He will confront us with challenges that are way over our head.  And because God delights in giving you more than you can handle, you need to be strong and courageous.  Take Joshua, for example, at the time leadership was transitioning from Moses to him.  This is what God spoke to him,

“No man shall [be able to] stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, [so] I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. 6 “Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:5-7

Joshua was handed the reigns of leadership over hundreds of thousands of people, and he probably felt anything but “strong and courageous,” but that is the requirement when you are challenged with an overwhelming task or opportunity.  Joshua was able to rise to the occasion because he had God’s promise, he understood the mission, he knew where to keep his focus (“the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left”), and he wanted to prosper.  God will give you more than you can handle, but he will also give you what you need to handle it.  And Joshua did prosper in the overwhelming, more-than-he-could-handle task.

So if you are faced with an overwhelming task or opportunity, don’t think it’s not from God and don’t shrink back in fear.  It may be from God to grow you and show you how God will come through for you.  As you take on what looks impossible or daunting and walk in obedience to God, God will take it on with you.  God will join in those things you consider more than you can handle and the reason He does is so when the victory comes, you will tell the world, “It was all God!”

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