Although the calendar challenges the notion, I like to think I’m still young at heart. That may explain why I find fascination in the life story of young David. It’s true, as he matures things get dicey, but when we trek around the hills with him in his teens it’s a surprise-a-minute. Let me skip over the bear fight and the lion fight and some of the other placid stuff and get to the story that makes every teen’s pulse quicken.
Here’s the picture – 10,000 Philistine soldiers arrayed on one side of the valley; 10,000 Israelies on the other. It might have been parity except for the 9’ behemoth named Goliath. Every day for six weeks he stands in the valley between and taunts Israel’s legions. His biceps, his voice, and his ego are a matched set.
Young David arrives on the scene, fresh from taking care of the lambs on his dad’s farm. He is embarrassed at the deadlock and offers to dispatch the bully in the valley. Interesting odds: Goliath’s armor weighs as much as David weighs. But David is on a mission. His mantra is: (If we win), “…the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.” (ISam17:46)
So he fingers his slingshot, picks up five little rocks (Goliath had four brothers), and then this, “David ran toward the battle line…” (v.48) He ran to the emergency. He had no doubt about God’s ability to bring victory in the valley. And He did.
I like to picture my church in that narrative. Running to the hard places. The campuses of today’s universities, the tragedy of today’s inner-cities, the hedonism of today’s entertainment icons, the slick farce of television’s marketing of stuff nobody needs, the clever deception of big-pharma that says, “Don’t change your way of living, just take this new pill.” Pick a fight. (I didn’t say Start one.) Choose a valley and run to the fray. Make your presence felt. The cause? So that “the whole world will know there’s a God.”
A squadron of sanctified ambulance chasers, that’s what we are. Rushing to the wrecks sin causes. Fortified and guided by time on our knees, then showing up at the pub, the crime scene, the divorce court, the hospital ER. Probably not to throw rocks, but to intercede. On the edge of every tragedy stands someone who needs us to pray. In Oregon a neighborhood bank was robbed. Twice. The kids from the church school went to the bank, made a circle around it, and prayed. That’s running to the roar. If you haven’t already, try it.
-By Don Jacobsen