JULY 27, 2020

READ 1 SAMUEL 17:26-31

26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

27 They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”

28 When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”

29 “Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” 30 He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. 31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.

The occasion for these verses was the battlefield between the army of Israel and the army of Philistia. Things are at a standstill – or a stand-off. Mainly because the Philistines brought a ringer named, Goliath. In the midst of that standoff – David shows up and the above conversation ensues – not on the battlefield, but on the sidelines. David is curious about Goliath. And further yet, he is incensed and angered by Goliath’s arrogance and pride and the army of Israel’s lack of response.

So David starts asking questions.

At that moment David’s big brother shows up – a soldier in the army of Israel, on the sideline instead of the frontline. And as a good big brother, he takes David to the task. He rips into David’s character, slaps on a few labels, attributes to David’s hidden motives that aren’t there, and demeans David because of the work his father assigned him to do. I’m sure a few of the other soldiers who were hanging on the sideline instead of taking their place on the frontline laughed at such a berating. I imagine a few may have been embarrassed for David and secretly asked themselves, ‘did that really just happen?’

But note David’s response.

First, he says to his brother ‘Now what – am I not even allowed to talk now?’ I think this is important because he is both acknowledging his brother’s intent and perception that somehow he was in charge of David’s life. And at the same time refusing to live in it.

David turned away to someone else

And I am sure Eliab’s jaw dropped and his world rattled and the question surfaced, ‘did that really just happen?’

So questions for today – ‘whose voice do you need to stop listening to in your life?’ It might be the voice of someone no longer in your life and maybe even someone no longer alive in this world – but you are still being controlled and intimidated by them. It may be someone very much alive and present in your life – maybe even someone, like with David, that you are related to! It may be a girlfriend or boyfriend. It may be a peer group or workforce. It may be a voice in your own head. It may be the ‘voice’ of social media or contemporary culture.

Whose voice do you need to stop listening to in your life?

Another question – ‘whose control do you need to stop living under with your life?’ Now don’t get me wrong here – this is not a green light to bail on a marriage, rebel against parents, etc. Let’s expand what was going on with David – ‘whose control do you need to stop living under in your life BECAUSE it is hindering the purpose and call God has for your life?’

So spend time honestly answering those questions. And like with David, turn away. Not in defiance. David did not get into a spitting match with his brother. He was too smart for that. And too focused for that. He turned not so much away from his brother as he turned toward his pursuit to honor his God. Talk to God about those things today.

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