The 'God People'
Her six year old index finger jabs at the picture. She points to the drawing of the Isrealite army. The artist has done a good job of showing their sense of defeat, their hopelessness. On the opposite hill is the picture of the Philistine army. These guys look confident. They are suited up for battle and they are brandishing their spears. They are also completely overshadowed and protected by a very giant Goliath. If you were going to pick a winner based on this drawing, I'm pretty sure you would go with the guys with the giant.
But my daughter has pointed to the Isrealite army and with very serious blue eyes she informs me that "these guys can't lose because they're the 'God people' and they will win". She absolutely knows it. We have read this story so many times, but it is her certainty and her wording that catch my attention. It is hard to catch my attention during the bedtime story routine because really I'm counting the seconds until everyone is finally in bed and the house is quiet, but her words do the impossible and my attention is completely captured.
"These are the God people and they will win." Yes, my heart beats a little braver. This is a truth that I want to grab onto and cling to like a lifeline. Have I focussed on the giants around me, the sin that looks so big and so strong, so impenetrable and so unending? Have a I sat down on the hill in defeat with my spear on the ground beside me? Have I believed the taunts of the enemy?
What happened in the hearts of that Israelite army when David showed up? David was young, he was small, he was not a soldier and he was not intimidated. He questioned them, asking them, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (I Samuel 17: 26). Did the soldiers begin to wonder about their fear? Should the armies of the living God be frightened of a mere nine foot man, protected from head to toe by armour? Was there a remembrance that they were indeed the people of God - the 'God people' - with One so much more powerful than Goliath on their side?
You know the story, David steps up in front of Goliath and despite the taunts and jeers Goliath flings his way, David boldly proclaims: "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied" (I Samuel 17:45). God gives David victory over Goliath, the army is encouraged and spurred into action and the Israelites had victory over the Philistines that day.
I love this story. It reminds me of where my confidence needs to be. It wonderfully illustrates the fact that despite the apparent strength of the source of my struggle, it is God who overcomes and wins the victory in my life.
I've been memorizing Romans 6. I've been muttering and mumbling as I'm cooking and cleaning. I whisper the verses under my breath as I fold laundry and wash the dishes. It is a little disconcerting for my family, but the result is that I am able to say the words of a large chunk of the chapter now. Sometimes I barrel through it saying the words and rejoicing that I didn't flounder and get muddled up. Sometimes I go slow and really listen to the words and I get caught up with a phrase and I am astounded by the words I am saying. Can these words be true? If they are true, what are the implications for my life?
Consider these verses:
Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus, were baptized into His death. We were therefore, buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:3-4)
Did you see that?! If we have been identified with Christ - if we have become part of this group that my daughter would call the 'God people' - if we are one of this group, then, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father - just like that - all that power and overcoming victory - we too, may live a new life!
I am amazed all over again by what that means. It means that I don't have to sit defeated, staring at my old enemy - sin. There is no need to be held hostage by old habits and desires. I don't have to fall helplessly into the traps of the enemy. I need to take God at His word. I can live a new life. I am no longer a slave to sin, but I have been set free. Why live in defeat? I can take up the fight with sin in my life, with the words of David, "I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty."
Do you know it too?
"The 'God people' can't lose - they will win."