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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

CrossTalk: Champions

The biblical account of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17) is more than an ancient underdog drama. The man-on-man fight between a 10 foot tall giant and the kid with a slingshot was, in fact, a battle of nations. Israel and Philistia (ancient Palestine) were at war. Large armies were lined up on both sides of the valley. They were prepared for a large-scale, bloody battle. Against this backdrop, Goliath made an offer. "Let's cut down on the carnage. Let's boil this whole thing down to one man from each army." The battle between David and Goliath was a battle between champions.

A champion is someone who takes up your cause. He is someone who fights for you -- on your behalf. This is the most important feature of the story. It reminds us of the bigger story throughout the whole Bible -- the story of Jesus. He is our champion. He takes up the cause of the whole human race. One Man does battle for us all.

A second feature of the story of David and Goliath is the appearance of each warrior. Goliath is huge, unnaturally huge! David is small, too young to be in the army, too small to do anything but watch the sheep and be a go-for. By this massive difference in size, God reveals to us how He always works. The appearance of strength does not translate to the certainty of victory. Nor does might mean right. Appearances deceive. When you look around the world and wonder were God is at work, you will usually find Him at the point where the enemies of God look hopelessly overpowering. God will be at work in the smallest, weakest and most insignificant.

Think of Jesus on the cross and you will get what I mean. Jesus was one, unarmed, unimportant Man. He was standing against the whole leadership of the Jewish religion and the entire strength of the Roman occupation. Jesus is David. Satan is Goliath. The odds against Him are off the charts. But here is where He accomplished the greatest victory as the Champion of the human race.

When you look around your world and see all the power and influence on the side of Satan's interests, do not despair. Do not second guess God's Word. Do not become frantic and seek for some compromise. Remember that this is always the way God enters into the battle. Trust Him. Pray for your Champion to win the victory for you. Then, calmly do whatever God has given you to do.

David refused the use of Saul's battle equipment (1 Samuel 17:38-39). Instead, He chose five smooth stones from the brook. For God does not fight with conventional weapons of war. Satan is not overcome by the strength of arms, or by the power of the will. David said to Goliath, “You come at me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts” (v. 45). Jesus did not win by the wounds that He inflicted on His enemies. He won by the five wounds that they inflicted on Him.

David did not win the battle against Goliath. The Lord of hosts won that battle. Little David came to Goliath in the name of the Lord. The Lord did all the heavy lifting. “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 13:35). For Christ, alone, is your champion in the fight with Satan.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Living Lent

Whether or not you have been following the recent events in our Synod - events which made the national news - you will be heartened and encouraged by this video.

This is what Lent is all about. Jesus leads us to Jerusalem with its self-denial and humility in order that we might be raised to new life together with Him. I pray for you the same humble joy that President Harrison exhibits here.