July 18, 2022
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE REFERENCE:
“‘As for Me, this is My covenant with them,’ says the Lord. ‘My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you. My words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,’ says the Lord.” (Isaiah 59.21)
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become [clothed with] the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5.21)
The story goes that a pastor was making calls on members of the local congregation who had not attended worship in some time. Like the good shepherd who left the ninety-nine to search for the one, the pastor was diligent in seeking to restore that which was lost. Having met several of those “lambs,” the pastor came with confidence to the home of the last member on the day’s list. Knocking, there was no answer. Listening, there was obvious signs of life behind the door. Knocking again, still there was no answer. Saddened, a card with a note was left which said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” (Revelation 3.20.) After worship that next Sunday, one of the deacons brought that same card left in the offering plate to the pastor’s attention. On it was written a reply, “I heard your voice in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked and hid myself.” (Genesis 3.10) I would ask this question of us all mighty ones of God and followers of the Way of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, “How will He find us when He comes calling and knocking on the door of our hearts?” Will we be covered with shame (as Satan desires for us to be seen before God) or will we be covered with righteousness (as God desires for us to be seen before all heaven and earth)?
David, as king of Israel and a leader of worship, sang, “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139.14) It is obviously not a song of shame and self-loathing. Neither is it a song of pride and self-promoting. It is a song of gratitude for the works of God’s hands which have been wrought in creating a human being in the image conceived by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And David declared this “knowing full well” the truth of the matter. It was a verse, or perhaps a chorus, that resonated with David because that view was not always the case for him. Psalm 8 declared in a similar fashion the intention of God to “create a human being to be just a little less than a heavenly being and You are mindful of that.” The benchmark had not only been set but given life. Yet, it was not the appearance of such mindfulness which David proclaimed was God’s purpose. There was little doubt that people could clothe themselves to look like all sorts of things. David himself had received such an invitation by his predecessor, Saul son of Kish. In one of the battles between the armies of Israel and Philistia, Saul was confronted by the giant Goliath of Gad. He was the champion of the Philistines. Saul himself was considered a “giant” among his people standing a head taller than all the rest. Yet, consumed by fear, anxiety and paranoia, Saul dressed the part of a champion but was clothed far differently than one. Enter into the story comes the young shepherd boy, David bar Yishai. David accepted the challenge which Goliath railed at Saul and the army of Israel when no one else, not even the king, would. Amazingly enough, King Saul accepted David’s bold faith and sent him out to represent all Israel. David cared less for representing Israel and far greater for representing Yahweh Elohim. This Goliath was certainly not God nor a god at any level equal to His God. He was embarrassed that no one would defend the honor of God’s name. He saw the trembling army, including his brothers whom he came to camp to feed, as being clothed with dishonor and shame. Saul offered his own armor, that of a mighty king, for David to wear in battle. It was an armor too great for David. The physical sizes were as contrasting as their spiritual demeanor. David refused respectfully but marched forward clothed in faith as an humble shepherd boy. We know the end of that day’s story as Goliath succumbed to his own false pretense of power. He had faith in his size, worth and experience. He had the backing of an unrighteous army who opposed Israel and the God of Israel with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. Goliath also failed because he could not withstand the faith of a rock on which David stood.
There is more to this reflection I wish to share. For the moment, let me ask us all this question, how are we clothed when confronting the giants of temptation to be something other that what God has created us to be? Until we speak again, shalom.
OUR CALL TO PRAYER:
Father all glorious, reign over us victorious, clothe us with Your righteousness and call us Your own. We put on Your Word. We have Your
Spirit poured out on us as oil poured out on the prophet for anointing to accomplish Your will. We accept Your call to dwell on earth in this world and declare the goodness of our God, Yahweh Elohim. We commit ourselves to Your will be done in Jesus’ name. Amen.