Saturday, July 25, 2015

Facing Our Giants--by Linden Malki

Flopsy, the sneaky and self-willed dog who lived with us when I was growing up (I can't say "our dog" because she was really her own dog) liked to chase cows. No, we didn't have cows running loose in Spokane, but every summer we spent a couple of weeks out in the mountains of western Montana, fishing and unwinding.  One of our favorite camping spots was a meadow along a creek, with a ridge of woods on the other side of the meadow. There was a narrow trail through the woods to a farm on the other side of the hill, and cows from the farm would come over the hill to "our" meadow to graze.  Flopsy would try to herd the cows back to the trail, chasing and nipping and barking at their heels. All would be well until one of the cows looked back at her, and she knew that the cow knew she was a just a little dog harassing a big giant animal. It was amazing how quickly she would be back under our camping trailer with her tail between her legs!  

We may have big scary giant stuff wandering around in our own meadows.  What do we do about it?  We can put on the big show of being tough, but facing reality just might send us back to our own safe doghouse. And sometimes that is appropriate, and sometimes we are missing a great opportunity because we didn't learn how to deal with this giant. And sometimes we just want to "do it ourselves" rather than ask for the help we need. And then when we can’t do it, we ask God to save us and fix it.
The history of the Israelites is a continuing story of fighting giants. Too often, people have not realized how big a deal things really are. At the beginning, one little fruit and one smooth-talking snake didn’t appear to be a giant—but it was actually one that we are all still fighting. Noah faced a giant flood. Moses faced a Pharoah, a sea, a thundering mountain, a large group of stubborn people, and then when the end was in sight, they literally wimped out at the sight of “giants”—which cost them 40 years more in the wilderness. As you read, watch for giants that people faced, what they did and how it turned out. Sometimes it looks like a little thing but turns out to be a giant thing. King Saul thought he was doing God a favor by going ahead with an offering (I Samuel 13) when he had been commanded to wait for Samuel. He thought the important thing was the offering; the giant mistake was his disobedience. And he didn’t learn. In chapter 15, Saul was told to exercise God’s judgment on the Amelekites without looting or profiting in any way, and instead he thought he could placate God with looted offerings, and that was the giant ego trip that cost him his kingdom and ultimately, his life. 

The classic giant story, of course, is David and Goliath. There are two things that David did right that made him a giant-killer. One was that he was prepared; he knew his own capability and how to use it. He probably hadn’t been real thrilled about the lions and wolves and bears he had had to learn to deal with out with the sheep, but it paid off. The other, and most important thing, is that he knew where to ask for help. God can do amazing things with people who are willing to let God teach them and empower them—and give God the credit!

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