Friday, March 7, 2014

Like forefather, like son

Crash Course 3

            A young man strides onto the battlefield alone, his older brothers, all soldiers, keeping a safe distance. He wears no protective armor to face a seasoned warrior and carries no weapon except a sling and its ammunition of five small stones.

            Who doesn’t love the account of David and Goliath?

            I deviously inflict “routes” on my Old Testament Tour students. (The routes are really outlines, but I like to push the tour metaphor as far as I can.) My heading for
1 Samuel 16 – 17 is David Anointed and Tested

            In chapter 16, the prophet Samuel visits Jesse of Bethlehem to locate the next king of Israel. God reveals to Samuel that sons # 1 – 7 are not the chosen, and Samuel proceeds to identify # 8 as the chosen. “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” (1 Samuel 16:13, NKJV)

            In the Hebrew Scriptures, anointing with oil signifies a person has been chosen for a specific role, such as priest or king. In Hebrew, anointed is mashiach, which in English becomes messiah.

            Soon after David’s anointing, he finds himself on the battlefield for a test, a test he volunteered for. What are you made of, David? Apparently courage, self-confidence, gigantic faith, and eloquence.

            Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 16:45 – 47, NKJV)

            Goliath didn’t even have time to retort, “You and what army?” before David felled him with a rock and God’s name, YHWH. Then the older brothers and the rest of the army advanced to get in on the action.

            About a millennia later, a young descendant of David traveled from Nazareth in Galilee to the bank of the Jordan River in Judea and asked the prophet John to baptize him. “And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” (Mark 1:10 – 11, NKJV)

            The newly anointed one was then led by the Spirit who anointed him to a wilderness battlefield for a test. He wore no protective armor to face a seasoned warrior and carried no weapon except God’s Holy Spirit within him and the Word of God. 

            What are you made of, Jesus?

            Jesus faced down a fiercer opponent than Goliath, and his forty day exam made David’s test look like a pop quiz with a word bank. (Read the whole story in Matthew 3 or Luke 4.) But like David, Jesus conquered with weapons described by Paul, “The weapons I fight with are not the weapons the world uses. In fact, it is just the opposite. My weapons have the power of God to destroy the camps of the enemy.” (2 Corinthians 10:4, NIRV)

            Like forefather, like son.

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 2 Timothy 4:8, NIV

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