Time to Step Up

“…who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
— 1 Samuel 17:26

“…all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

― Malcolm Gladwell

“I’m out of breath. This race is unbelievable, a race everybody wants to win.”
— Rick Hendrick, Hendrick Motorsports, Elite Championship NASCAR Owner

The epic battle of the ages.
Everything at stake.
The future of a nation threatened—It’s wives, children, brethren—freedom or slavery, life or death.
Would anyone step up? Anyone?
The King didn’t step up, nor did any of his valiant soldiers or decorated leaders. They were too busy trembling in their boots, paralyzed with fear a whole army shut down.
If not for one young man.
Thankfully, someone had the guts to step up, make the call, and make a move—one unreasonable young man. It’s amazing how just one guy who gets some crazy can be a game changer, even if he is only a shepherd boy.
You remember the story.

Samuel the prophet was sent by God to anoint one of Jesses’ sons as the next King of Israel. King Saul had disobeyed God one too many times. Now God told the prophet Samuel that He had picked one of Jesses’ sons to take Saul’s place. God’s like that. No matter how bad things get, He’s always got some man, somewhere, that’s waiting for his time to step up.

One by one, from the oldest on down, Jesse paraded his boys by Samuel, but God said “no” to each of them. Puzzled, Samuel asked if there were any others. “Well,” Jesse said, “There is, my youngest, David, but he’s just a shepherd boy off in the fields tending sheep. The implication: don’t waste your time on him. Surely he’s not the one. Jesse just didn’t get it. David, in his mind, was too young or too small, too inexperienced in battle. “Go get him!” Samuel demanded. “I’ll wait!” God had told the prophet “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature… For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (I Samuel 16:7 NKJ).

When Samuel saw David, the Spirit of the Lord said “He’s the one. Anoint him with oil” (I Samuel 16:12). David was small and ruddy on the outside, but God knew that on the inside he possessed the heart of a warrior. Though it wasn’t time for him to take the throne the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward (vs 13).

Sometimes later after his anointing, David was still faithfully tending sheep, waiting, when his dad instructed him to pack some food and take it to his brothers who were on the battlefield (I Samuel 17:17). These were the guys that David looked up to, his heroes. You may be a man that is anointed for a certain task, but God has you in waiting until your time. Don’t despise the time God has you in training, but be ready to make a move when your time comes. You’ve heard the saying, “It’s amazing how much work, how much time and effort it took to become an overnight success.”

When David finally arrives at the battlefield, he’s stunned by what’s going on. This giant Philistine warrior/leader named Goliath is mocking, humiliating, talking smack, and threatening God’s army. The ultimate trash talker, Goliath was. 9 feet 6inches tall, a monster covered in armor. Dreadfully afraid, the whole army of Israel was in flight mode. David was aghast at his brothers. He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Now we are going to find out why David was chosen to be king. He may have been small in statute but he believed in a big God that had his back.

A holy boldness rose up inside of him. “Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, ‘…For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? [Let me at him!]” (1 Samuel 17:26).

There were seeds inside of David that angered him as a man. He’d seen God at work and he believed God. His brothers tried to talk him out of his insane thinking. “Go back and tend the sheep,” they told him, but David didn’t back down. Frustrated at his brothers for their spinelessness, he shouted, “Is there not a cause – is there not something to fight for? There’s a battle to be won!” It’s easy to loose heart when he enemy is defying you and making fun, disdaining you and more. But David believed. He knew what the Lord could do. Back in the fields God had given him the strength to defeat a lion
and a bear with his hands (I Sam 17:34-35). He’d become quite effective at slinging stones.

Fear, by the way, makes you play small, to pull in. Ozzie Smith said, “Show me a guy who is afraid of looking bad and I can beat him every time.” David had confidence of who God was in his life and who he was as a man. Even if nobody else saw it, he did.

Saul tried to give him his armor. David put it on, but it only weighed him down (I Sam 17:38-39). He said, “Nope. This isn’t mine – doesn’t work for me. I’m going with what God has given to me.” So he packs up his sling and some stones. Get back to the fundamentals. Remember this, separation is in the preparation and God prepares each of us uniquely. You’ve got gifts and talents and abilities. Maybe you’ve lost sight of that. To get back in the fight, you need to go back and you work on your core stuff. You get back to the stuff that you know matters, the stuff that stabilizes you.

Spending time with God and the people that matter most.

Pouring into your life the seeds of truth and hope.

David’s core came from spending time with God in the field. He knew his weapons (they had been tested). When life gets tough, when you’re facing a giant, get ready. Your giant will challenge everything about you. It might even feel overwhelming.Put your faith and confidence in God like David did. He even talked smack right back! He shouted to the giant Philistine,

“…You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts! … This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand and I will strike you and take your head from you…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel!..” (1 Samuel 17:45-47).

David knew what mattered in life. When it was his time to take the stage, he
literally ran towards Goliath.
“…David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth… And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of
the valley…” (1 Samuel 17:48-52).

Life is not easy. Sometimes it can feel like there is no hope. Believe that God is with you. Get some fight, some passion back in you. Go with the heart and gifts God has placed in you. It’s time to step up.
Run to the battle.
Get your swagger back.
When you do, you’ll pick up momentum and others will follow you. It’s time for a new generation of Davids that are willing to get some fight into them. Willing to step up and do what needs to be done.
Its time to separate and consecrate yourself for battle.
You play/fight like you practice. What are you doing to get yourself ready? That’s what this devotional is all about. It’s about helping to anchor your faith so at the end of it all you can look back and know that you left it all on the battlefield.

Prayer to IGNITE:
Lord, empower me to step up.

*A devotional from “Ignite Your Faith” by Dr. Tim Clinton and Max Davis