A Stone’s Throw Away

I have an uncle who is famous in our family for his “myself” jokes.  He once wrote a song with lines like, “rather be around myself than the Mardi Gras.”  I don’t remember the line before, but it rhymed with Mardi Gras.

My uncle is funny (he might be the funniest person I know), but self-centeredness is not.  We all have known people at the center of their own universe.  They want to suck us into their gravity.

As Christians we understand that God is the center and we are not.  Or, that’s what we say.

In practice, we often put ourselves ahead of God.  In fact, we do this with the Bible.

I recently heard a famous Southern Baptist pastor preach about the story of David and Goliath.  I had heard this man before and I winced when he announced his text.

His point was this—defeating your giants is just a stone’s throw away.

I actually thought, “Ugh, here we go.”

I sat and listened to an engaging sermon about having courage to face the giants of life.  Nothing the preacher said was wrong.  The man believes the Bible and has sound theology.  But, the sermon had nothing to do with what was going on in the text.

I, of course, do not know everything about 1 Samuel 17.  Some say that it is a picture of Christ.  The New Testament doesn’t make that claim for this particular story, though David was certainly a type of Christ.  So I’ll leave that for further study.

What I do know is that this story is about David’s righteous anger toward Goliath’s mocking of God’s army.

David said in 1 Samuel 17:26, “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?”

You know the rest of the story.

David was not “facing a giant” in his life.  He was honoring God by fighting those who opposed God’s people.

This story is not about us.  It is about God.

I attended a preaching conference, in Olive Branch, MS, the Monday after the men’s meeting.  The first speaker, a theology professor from The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, KY, referred to this very story.

He talked about how David’s story fit into the overall plan of God.  He also made a statement that I had never heard about this one-side fight.  He said that if David had not been filled with the Holy Spirit in 1 Samuel 16, then facing Goliath would not have been brave, it would have been stupid.  It was quite a different perspective.

The Bible has many commands and encouragements for us.  We need to know them and obey them.  The gift of the Holy Spirit allows this.  Let’s be careful, however, to make sure we know the difference between a story that is about us and a story that is about God.

Otherwise, we have a “myself” relationship with God.

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