Well, maybe not tigers, but definitely lions and bears. That’s what he said, “When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.” He went on to declare, “When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.”
Now, I’ve seen a bear close up. Sure, it was at night and all I could see was a big round, furry looking thing lumbering swiftly away from me (thank goodness it was going in the opposite direction!), but I knew it was a bear. We saw its tracks in the snowy yard the next morning and followed the trail of garbage up the hill into our neighbor’s yard. No sheep, just garbage. Hungry bears apparently are not fussy about their meals. From the size of that behind and the paw tracks it left, I’m glad it hadn’t run toward me!
A lion and a bear. Running after it. Grabbing the sheep from its jaws and then grabbing the beast by the hair and killing it. That is an amazing feat. Done not once but twice. All in the line of duty. Just part of the ordinary life of a shepherd.
David was responsible and dependable. He could be trusted to take care of business, in this case, sheep keeping: guarding and guiding.
David was faithful to fight and do what he had to do; he did the right thing, even at great cost to himself. He may have had the scars to prove it. He used the weapons of his profession—the sling and stones and staff—becoming adept at their use. In the process of fighting the lion and bear he grew skilled and strong. His faith in God grew as well, for David knew he didn’t do his fighting alone. “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear ….”
David was faithful in his everyday, ordinary life.
We all live ordinary lives. We all face our lions and bears, those trials and difficulties that come into our lives, perhaps threatening our livelihood or even our life. These are the enemies that come to snatch away our lives, enemies that threaten to destroy us. Are we being faithful to fight them with the weapons given us—prayer and praise and the Word of God? Are we becoming adept in their use and growing in strength, growing in our trust in God? Can we say as David did, “the LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear …”
It is only in our ordinary, everyday lives, faithfully facing the enemies that would destroy us—our lions and bears—that we learn to fight, becoming skilled and strong in spirit. Ordinary life is where we learn to trust the LORD.
What bears or lions are you facing today: Health issues, fearful job or financial challenges, death or disease of a loved one, divorce, addiction? So many beasts about that would tear us apart and destroy us. Only by wielding the weapons of prayer, praise (yes, praise) and the Word of God, in the power of God’s Spirit, can we successfully defeat such enemies.
But that’s not the end of the story. Fighting lions and bears has another vastly important function in our everyday, ordinary lives. For only in being faithful in ordinary life will we, like David, recognize and be fit to face the giant Goliath, who defies the Living God.
More on that next time we meet.