Tuesday, February 13, 2024

God of Salvation

The "breaking news" almost every evening when I turn on the local news is another story of a shooting in our nearby metropolis. Throughout the year, the talking heads continue to update us on the statistics of gun violence...and the community organizers and compassionate volunteers keep lamenting, "Why do we think violence is the answer? Guns will not solve our problems." 

We could get into a conversation about guns, of course (and we often do), but that's not the point. The point is that we are a people who believe in solving our problems by physical force. The guy with the fastest bullet wins. The one who is the quickest draw saves himself...if by nothing else than eliminating his enemy. 

But let's throwback to a young man of God who was caught in a real battle for his life, not some mere petty dispute. 

The Israelites were lined up across from the Philistines, and every day, the Philistine giant, Goliath, would step forward and challenge any man of Israel to a one-on-one battle. Anyone who could defeat him would take victory for the entire people. All it would take, it seems, is one man with a bigger sword, a faster swing, a quicker advance. 

Then steps forward a little shepherd boy. 

When David volunteered for this mission, King Saul tried to outfit him for the battle. He tried to put some armor on the young man, tried to give him a big sword. And David, after stumbling around for a few minutes, threw all of that off and said it was more of a hindrance than a help. He couldn't fight like this. 

And he didn't need to. 

One of the most powerful statements made by David in this moment comes in 1 Samuel 17:47, as he stands with a few rocks in hand and a heart full of faith. David says, The Lord does not need swords or spears to save people.

Read that again - God doesn't need weapons. 

We are a people who run to weapons, who think the only way to win is to have the most fire power. But God doesn't need weapons. 

He proved it that day on the battlefield with David. He proved it again on the battlefield with Jonathan. And He proved it forever on a hill outside of Jerusalem, a placed called Cavalry, and a shame called the Cross. God simply doesn't need swords and spears...or gun and knives and bombs...to save people. 

Love does that. 

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