David, Goliath and honoring our heroes
As my pastor would say, I’m going to call my shot: This editor’s note is partially a stolen sermon. And yes, it’s from that same pastor.
David Hederman of Grace City Church recently preached about David and Goliath. But this is not your average David-and-Goliath lesson.
We like to think we could be David in this story, if we could muster the courage. But, of course, we’re not David. Most of the time we’re not even King Saul — the guy who literally stood a head taller than everyone else and should have fought Goliath.
Most of the time we’re the Israelite army, cowering on the edge of the battlefield as our “giant” taunts us.
We all have giants. Maybe your bank account is screaming that you’ll never have what you need. Maybe broken relationships are lurking in the corners of your heart. Maybe your anxiety delights in stressing you to no end, or maybe your fear says you’ll never be good enough.
The one giant we all share is sin. And Satan is really good at taunting us with it: “You’ll never overcome this struggle. It’s too big for you. You’ll always be a liar, an abuser, a rebel — that’s just who you are.”
Satan is right about one thing: He, and our sin, are bigger than we are.
Like David, the youngest of Jesse’s sons, Jesus didn’t look like much. He was a carpenter’s son, conceived out of wedlock, and He hailed from Nazareth, a city not known for anything good. Jesus had no formal schooling in the scriptures He taught. And His 12 best friends included a tax collector, a member of a reactionary fringe group, multiple hotheads and Judas.
But like David, Jesus was and is much more than He appeared.
You can probably see where I’m going with this. Just as David defeated Goliath, Christ defeated sin and death and hell. But we should remember the differences, as well as the similarities.
For instance, Christ’s victory looked like defeat at first.
On the cross, Jesus bore all of our sin and God’s righteous wrath for it. And to all appearances, this is what Satan wanted: God in the flesh — dead and punished for the sins of His creation.
Perhaps Satan even thought he had won.
But as David said of Goliath: Who is this guy who defies the living God?
On a Friday, Jesus died. And on a Sunday — man, I would love to have stood with the angels as they watched Him walk out of that tomb. Can you imagine the cheers, the joy? And can you imagine the shriek that erupted out of the pit of hell that morning?
Christ’s victory was total. Our sin that separated us from God — defeated. Our shame, our trauma, our hurt, our loss, our struggles — defeated. Jesus overcame it all.
That doesn’t mean we won’t experience the pain of sin — ours and others’ — in this life. Until Christ returns, that stuff is still around.
But when Satan accuses us, we can say, “Who do you think you are? Jesus Christ has died — more than that, has risen from the dead (Romans 8) — and totally defeated you. My sin is forgiven.”
We can trust in Christ’s death and resurrection, let Him lead us and — as the Israelites finally did — rush into the fray with confidence, as we experience the victory He has won for us.
In our July edition, we traditionally honor our veterans and first responders. If you ask me, Jesus is the ultimate spiritual veteran and the ultimate First Responder to the crisis of sin.
But I’d also love for y’all to read about Lt. Col. Thomas Tuggle, who fought in the Gulf War, served Mississippi as a policeman and highway patrolman, and now heads the state law enforcement academy (page 20). We’re also featuring Frank Porter, a chaplain who joined the Mississippi Army National Guard at age 37 (page 28). Both men served in Kuwait, but they had two very different experiences.
As for those pesky satanic accusations? How about a former stripper who defeated that snake by the blood of the Lamb (page 14)? And the trials and obstacles of our fallen world? Try our Community Outreach feature on not one but two former homeless women who are serving kids and families in Jackson (page 16).
Long story short, this edition of MCL is full of victory, and I am praising God for it. Enjoy!