1 Chronicles 11:4-6
4 David and all the Israelites marched to Jerusalem (that is, Jebus). The Jebusites who lived there
5 said to David, "You will not get in here." Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion, the City of David.
6 David had said, "Whoever leads the attack on the Jebusites will become commander-in-chief." Joab son of Zeruiah went up first, and so he received the command.
David and his men marched up to Jerusalem, and the Jebusites sneered at them. The Bible shows us the reason David succeeded. It was through a challenge. "Whoever leads will become commander in chief." People respond to challenges.
Sometimes, people around us are a bit like the Jebusites. Satan uses them to taunt us. They stand there staring at us. "You can't get into my heart". "You can't change me. I'm gonna change you. Let's see how long you will last". They're sneering, and they're taunting us. What are we going to do? Do we sit there and get discouraged? Do we act confident on the outside?
Joab was a controversial figure, but most of us are controversial at times. Let us see some positive aspects of Joab. We know he's got some faults. He took the lead. That was great. He went first, stepped up and went for it.
David had many mighty men. Some had faces of lions. What does that mean? They could fight right and left-handed. They were swift as gazelles . . . The least was a match for a hundred, the greatest a match for a thousand. Above all these incredible guys, Joab became the chief in command. What set him apart? Why was he able to get the position? Was he the most talented? He had real zeal.
We can have zeal that's not real. Just put it on, and take it off. Jesus had real zeal as well. He could see life at its worst, and still love and serve the lost. He saw more, got hurt more, walked more, was rejected more than any of us. Still he possessed a zest for life, a love for the lost that we stand in awe of. Jesus knew the impending end that awaited him, yet he was never self-focused. He never let his zeal wane. He had real zeal because he was in touch with God.
During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
Jesus was deep with God. That was the source of his real zeal. Most of us are not in touch with our feelings. We can go on and on, work on and on without knowing how we feel inside. Jesus could have real zeal because he was in touch with his feelings. This is directly related to being deep with God. He knew himself, and he knew God. The enemy of zeal is a lack of depth with God.
When we move one step towards God, he takes ten steps towards us. He is quick to bless when we rely on him. When we get deep with God, have real zeal, we don't care what people think. God will move our life and ministry.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Do you believe that advancing the kingdom of God is a good deed? When our ministry is stale, not moving, what are we doing? God said, "Let there be light." Thomas Edison said, "Let there be a light bulb". He tried 50,000 filaments without a success. People asked him how he did it. He said, "Now I know 50,000 ways not to make a light bulb". Are we trying the same old ideas that we've always done that still don't work? Sometimes we get tired. Instead of pushing on, we just stop trying.
Real zeal will instill creativity. If we really love, we'll be creative. If we really love our ministry, we'll find creative ways to move the hearts. Do we have thinking times? Do we get on the phone, talk to people? Do we ask for help, or are we a loner? That does not show real zeal. Do we raise up the talent God has given us in our own life and ministry? Let us look at the talents we have, give them faith, show them God and let them go.
"To achieve anything significant, everyone needs a little imagination and a big dream" God has a big dream for every disciple. Where there are obstacles, there's room for growth. Every obstacle is an opportunity.
If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!
If we falter when we face obstacles, our strength will always be small. We have to ask ourselves one question: "How big is our faith?"
1. Face The Giants
Satan consistently threatens us, makes us think we will fail. Just when we think we've figured it out, we hear that unique voice threatening us. There's a giant waiting. The challenge is, how are we going to face that giant?
1 Samuel 17:2-11
2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines.
3 The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.
4 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall.
5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels;
6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back.
7 His spear shaft was like a weaver's rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.
8 Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, "Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me.
9 If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us."
10 Then the Philistine said, "This day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other."
11 On hearing the Philistine's words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
1 Samuel 17:16
For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.
1 Samuel 17:20-24
20 Early in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry.
21 Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other.
22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and greeted his brothers.
23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it.
24 When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear.
Israel had great potential, but they were not overcoming their greatest obstacle. The devil hates seeing men of potential max out. How does he do it? He gets us to focus on the odds, the size, the shape, the strength of our problems. Funny things start happening. We lose the size and shape of our powerful God. We become crippled with fear and insecurity. We become overly emotional. We even overeat at times like this, and then we get guilty.
When does this happen? When we're "feeling things". Let's just admit that we have a pygmy-sized God, and giant-sized problems. We have to see our need for a big God, to slap those problems away. When our giant problems are slapping our pygmy-sized God around, what's happening? It's a sign that we're not close to God anymore. That's when those thoughts come in.
What are the top three Goliaths in your life? Perhaps cowardice, maybe emotionalism or being feelings-oriented. Maybe it's inconsistency. Maybe worldliness, unhealthy independence, impatience. Bottom-line, it just comes down to heart and conviction.
When we decide to face our giants, then and only then will we go through our obstacles. We need to decide, "I am going to win." Winners go through obstacles. Losers go around them. It's a long way around.
2. Expect the Victory
1 Samuel 17:32-37
32 David said to Saul, "Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him."
33 Saul replied, "You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth."
34 But David said to Saul, "Your servant has been keeping his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock,
35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it.
36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.
37 The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Saul said to David, "Go, and the Lord be with you."
1 Samuel 17:46-47
46 This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.
47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands."
Look at David's confidence. He was absolutely convinced that God would win. Some points to consider for great victories are :
a. Being faithful when nobody else seems faithful.
b. Personal example must be on fire all the time
c. Don't be afraid to take risks
d. Pouring ourself into the hearts of our people
e. Titles don't inspire, courage does
f. Marital unity brings ministry unity
g. Initiate with different leaders and visit other ministries
h. Let nobody be more giving than us
i. Establish great friendships
j. Are we fun, or stoic and stiff? Are we tensed, or intense?
God has a unique way of blessing us, just as he did with David. He used David to slay Goliath with a stone.
12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.