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Running Toward Your God

An Old Testament prophet referred to human hearts as deceitful above all things, Jeremiah 17:9. Perhaps, this explains the reactions by members of the Israeli army upon seeing a 9 feet 6 inch Philistine. Seeing the fear in their eyes, Goliath became bolder each day, challenging anyone to a duel as Jewish soldiers continued to withdraw from the front line in fear. Following in the footsteps of Jonah, Israeli solders ran in the complete opposite direction of their enemy, Jonah 1:3-4.

Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us. 10 And the Philistine said, I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together. 11 When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid, 1 Samuel 17:8-11.

Instead of sending a violent tempest in the case of Jonah, God sent a lowly shepherd boy. David was sent by his father to bring food to his brothers, listening to war stories. When David heard about the reward being offered by King Saul for anyone willing to fight a giant named Goliath, his mood changed. Apparently, his oldest brother Eliab confronted David, suggesting this was a ploy by his little brother to gain attention. After a brief spat, David turned away, trying to receive confirmation about Saul’s reward.

David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of this Philistine; your servant will go out and fight with him. 33 And Saul said to David, You are not able to go to fight against this Philistine. You are only an adolescent, and he has been a warrior from his youth. 34 And David said to Saul, Your servant kept his father’s sheep. And when there came a lion or again a bear and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and smote it and delivered the lamb out of its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard and smote it and killed it. 36 Your servant killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God! – 1 Samuel 17:32-36.

According to the passage above, King Saul didn’t take David serious either. Like an unwanted tiny mouse, Saul attempted to shoe David away, not wanting to waste his time on a little kid who didn’t stand a chance. Determined to state his case, David persuades the king with his previous encounters fighting off bears and lions. The secret to David’s success was running toward God instead of fleeing in fear. While every Israeli soldier focused on the strength of a giant, David put his faith in the power of God. The next time you face adversity, run toward God with an expecting heart.

by Jay Mankus

Everything About You

As I was listening today to Oceans Above’s remake of the song, Everything About You, I was reminded of the importance to worship God 7 days a week, not just on Sunday.  When things are going well, I find myself often coasting through life, relying on my own gifts, strength and talents.  When despair, depression or death protrude upon us, interrupting life as we know it, I get flustered and impatient, wanting an answer immediately.

In the chorus of Everything About You, the lyrics refer to trying to live without God as one of the greatest mistakes that we can make.  During my junior year of college, while working in Cleveland, Ohio, I reached a point where I was disgusted by my faith.  I was one of the leader’s of the Fellowship of Christian Athlete’s at the University of Delaware while classes were in session, yet in the summer I was hanging out at nightclubs and sports bars with my non-Christian friends.  One dark night, restless from my hypocrisy and convicted by a web of sin, I contemplated walking away from my faith forever.

A week later, I broke my foot in 2 places, playing sand volleyball, landing on a girl’s leg who was playing behind me.  I spend an entire month, on bed rest, elevating my foot.  This was the turning point in my life, where I was forced to be still, Psalm 46:10.  God used this point in time to teach me about Himself, using passages like Nahum 1:7, “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble.  He cares for those who trust in Him.”  When I was in this pit, like David in Psalm 30:1-3, I began to see Everything About You Lord.  If you are feeling like a prodigal son or daughter, Luke 15:11-32, come to your senses, for God is waiting for you with open arms, Luke 15:20.  As Benny Hester once sang, this is When God Ran.  Run to Him now!

by Jay Mankus

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