Taking a stand of faith
Chaplain Bertram Bobb
Our annual Choctaw Nation Labor Day gatherings are a blessing for our Choctaw People. It brings memories of family gatherings in our rural churches.
I remember clearly services were held from Friday evening through Monday mornings each weekend in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The singing, preaching and teaching were in the Choctaw language.
I am thankful for this early training. Proverbs 22:6 is so true: “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
When we trust Jesus Christ as our personal Savior we are born again into God’s family, as babes in Christ. As Christians we will never be perfect on this earth until Jesus Christ returns then we will be like Him.
The Lord Jesus wants us to grow up to be more like Him daily. How does this happen? He wants us to study His Word. The Word is Spiritual food for Spiritual life.
We need to learn the kind of faith God talks about in the Bible, not by the human viewpoint. Human viewpoint means to look at the difficulties in life through the limits of human ability. The Divine viewpoint means to look at life and its challenges through God’s ability and His Power to work through you.
I believe that there are many examples of all of this in the Bible. Let’s look at an example for a moment, but the most important thing to learn is this, that we are to live by faith and not by sight. From the time we are born we learn to relate to life and our reality through our five senses – what we see, hear, taste, smell, feel. That’s all we know. And when we are born into the family of God, the Spiritual Rebirth, we enter into a new possibility, a new realm, the Divine viewpoint and its reality are all based on what God says. God wants us to crack through this barrier, this faith barrier to where we are living in the light of what God says is true. Then we are no longer limited to our human abilities – hopeless things.
Now, here is an example from the Bible where this is taught.
Back in the days of Israel when David was a young child, a young shepherd boy. David wrote most of the psalms and became the King David. While he was shepherding his father’s sheep, his father called him in to come and to take some food to his brothers fighting in Israel’s army against the Philistine.
David left his sheep with the keeper and he was excited to go see the battle. He went to the battlefield and when he gets there he sees two armies, each on a hill with a valley in between.
Then he saw a giant, 9 foot 6 inches tall, one of the great warriors of the Philistine army. This giant defied the whole army of Israel and cursed them by his gods.
We read from 1 Samuel 17:8-9, “And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us.
No one from the Army of the Israelites would take up the giant’s challenge.
In 1 Samuel 17:26 David asked the men standing near him: What shall be done to the man that killeth the Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?
Right away we notice something different about David’s feeling, because David saw this situation not through the human imitation of being able to defeat a 9 foot 6 inch giant. He saw it through the eyes of what that giant had done. He defied the armies of Israel. He had defied the fact that God would work through one of his children who believed in Him. He worked through him with power. When David’s oldest brother heard him say that, he got very angry. You could expect this when you start living by the Divine viewpoint even fellow believers will start contesting when you get upset because he had this faith. The faith that gets over that what’s beyond being human senses because it’s based on the promises of the Word of God.
David said, “I only asked a question.” In 1 Samuel 17:31-33 this is what David said: “And when the words were heard which David spake they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him. And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him, thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine and Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.
Now what’s that: That’s the human viewpoint that the King of Israel was saying. David as a young boy could not go up against this giant in human abilities but there was something in David that God had developed. He was tending sheep all by himself, kind of fearful for a young teenage boy, he was probably about 16 to be out in the wilderness alone with a bunch of sheep which are bait for all the wild animals out there. While out there like this David learned some lessons, he saw himself as a shepherd taking care of his father’s sheep. That was his job. That’s something God also had appointed him to do.
In verse 34 David said to Saul: “…Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: and I went after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth; and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
David learned from his experience in the wilderness that when he was doing God’s Will, he could depend on the Lord to fight through him and do the impossible.
Looking through the promises of God we learn that the Lord works through the one who is seeking to do God’s Will. David killed a lion and a bear.
David took his experience that he believed in the God of Israel and that belonged to the God of Israel, so he knew that the Lord was his Shepherd.
We read in 1 Samuel 17:37: “David said moreover, the LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.”
David took his experience of God being faithful in the past and believed in God for the present. He did not see that 9 foot 6 inch giant in his human ability. David saw that giant through God’s ability to deliver him. David saw Goliath, this great warrior, insulting the God of Israel, and he knew that the God of Israel would defend anyone who would go out to defend His Name. When David was that, that Giant was good as dead.
King Saul said to David in Verse 37: “…Go, and the LORD be with thee.”
What a picture we have here. Here’s a whole army of Israel holding back and here is the young shepherd boy with one lone difference between them. David had the Divine viewpoint of life. He was living by faith which is the ability to act in the light of the unseen, the ability to believe God’s promises as so real, and God keeps His promises.
Saul armed David in his armor, we read in verse 39: “And David girded his sword upon his armor, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him.”
David said I can’t go out in these. He said to Saul, “I’m not used to them.”
And we read in verse 40, “And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a script; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.
Will you read in your Bible these verses in 1 Samuel 17:31-47? These are some of the greatest statements found in the Bible. Here is David saying these things by faith. He knew that one man and God is a majority, he is giving us something that really happened. And God still does these things today to the one who will claim His Promises.
David took this stand of Faith, now he steps out on this stand of faith. And we close with these two verses 48 and 49: “And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and drew nigh to meet David, but David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.”
The Spirit of the living God was behind that stone and saw that it hit the mark. David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and stone. And this is what we need in our world today. God is going to act when someone goes out to defend His Name. And God is going to act when one of His children against all odds believes His Promises and takes a stand for Him.
God bless you. Pray for America.