1Sam. 17: (1a, 4 - 11, 19 - 23) 32 - 49

When his oldest brother rebuked him, David replied, "What have I done now? I was only asking!" (29) Is that not a true-to-life child's response? King Saul said: "you are only a boy," (33) so we know that it was true; David was still a youngster when this scene occurred.

[Jesus] called a child, set him in front of them, and said, 'Truly I tell you: unless you turn round and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.' (Mat. 18: 2-3) We have all heard or taken part in discussions of what our Lord meant, that one must become like a child in order to enter God's realm. David provides an excellent answer. Just listen to this kid: "The LORD," David went on, "who saved me from lion and bear will also save me from that Philistine." (37) So, to the King of Israel! Later, facing the giant, he proclaimed: "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come against you in the name of the LORD of Hosts, the God of the ranks of Israel, whom you have defied. This very day the LORD will deliver you into my hands." (45-46)

Childish-- and foolish-- braggadocio? A fear-induced show of bravado? A transparent attempt to "psych out" Goliath? Pre-empting the great Prophet Elijah, this lad prophesied: "All the earth shall know that there is a God in Israel." (46) One is led to think that, apparently, David believed in YHWH, the LORD of Hosts. No, obviously David trusted in God. Explicitly, implicitly, trusted: placed his whole being-- body and life-- not "on the line" for God, but into the hands, care and protection of YHWH, just as the child entrusted himself to Jesus, confident that this grown-up-- who was a stranger to him-- would do him only good.(1)

"Trust and obey, for there is no other way...."

Psa. 9: 9 - 20[10 - 21, TNK]

Do you know-- really know-- God's name? Do you trust-- really trust-- God? Is the LORD real-- really real-- to you? Or just something you "believe in"?

2Cor. 6: 1 - 13Sharing in God's work, we make this appeal: (1) Paul begins. It is well to look at what work is being referred to, for that is the basis of the Apostle's appeal. This is explained in 5: 11 - 21, which merits your review. The fundamental lesson is reconciliation: desired, initiated, enabled and accomplished by God through the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Paul continues: you have received the grace of God (1). Not only is this a statement of trust, it is a proclamation of God's truth. Like dry bones in a parched valley, we have been ministered to by God-- made human and alive-- while all we did was lie there immobile and receptive. What implications does this spiritual truth have for your theology and Gospel message?

[Y]ou have received the grace of God; do not let it come to nothing. (1) We have received reconciliation to God through Christ for the express purpose of becoming agents through whom God in Christ Jesus can continue to minister reconciliation to the rest of the world. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors. It is as if God were appealing to you through us: we implore you [he begs of the Church] in Christ's name, be reconciled to God! (5: 20) Yet the Church is divided and at war within itself, preaching separation and practicing exclusion for "the purity of the Church" in abject disregard for God's will and Jesus' prayer (Jn. 17: 11).

Lest our ministry be brought into disrespect, we avoid giving any offence in anything. (3) Christians clamor to have the Ten Commandments displayed in schools and courtrooms. Perhaps this verse ought to be hung in every Christian church and home!

Mark 4: 35 - 41

A fierce squall blew up and the waves broke over the boat until it was all but swamped. (37) In the Bible, a boat, such as the ark, often symbolizes the Church. Mark's description is poignantly, and sadly, relevant to the present moment, as churches and denominations strain in the throes of a violent storm. But the most telling-- and damning-- note is that which follows: Now [Jesus] was in the stern asleep on a cushion (38); the Church is trying to sail on its own.

What ambassadors? What trust? What reconciliation? What truth? What does the world see and hear? What "Gospel" is the Church proclaiming?

1. * There is an acute difference between trusting God and trusting a human, which makes

David's example and Jesus' teaching more salient, Trust God alone (Prov. 29: 25).

Please feel free to utilize anything from these pages; just give God the Glory, Praise and Thanks and me whatever credit may be due.

(comments to Phil at ENAPXH@aol.com )