2 Corinthians 11:24-27, “Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.”
It’s the age-old question: “How could a loving God He allow bad things to happen to good people?” Paul had every reason to ask this, yet he didn’t, despite his hardships. He knew God loved him, and he trusted the Lord’s plan and purpose for his life.
There’s a lot we can learn from the life of Paul. He always knew his disappointments could actually become Divine appointments. He may not have always understood what God was doing, but he had faith that it would be to his benefit. Likewise, we won’t always understand what’s happening to us, but we can be certain that God loves us and has our best interest in mind. No matter the situation, if we are living according to God’s plan, He will turn our lemons into lemonade!
Father God, thank You for loving me and having my best interest in mind. I may not understand everything that comes my way, but I know You are faithful and will work all things according to my good.
Read more about the life of Paul by reading Acts 9:1-31.
I Samuel 17:37, 45-46: “The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine… David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty… whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands.”
Did you know that the first “Yo Mama” joke was found by researchers on a stone tablet dating back 3,500 years to the ancient Babylonians? Shakespeare himself penned the one most widely published in history! And since the 1990’s maternal insults are forever memorialized on TV, in music videos, movies, and now memes. Why are they offensive? Because they target those who brought us into this life. Similarly, but for a far greater purpose, David took umbrage when he heard Goliath mocking the Creator of life. He refused to stand back while this godless giant trashed talked the name of God. Therefore, with great courage he said, “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty”! You see, coming in the name of the Almighty means to act with His power, presence, and authority. David’s passion for God outweighed his fear, thus he stepped forward in faith to do what others were too afraid to do.
David had three character qualities in particular that helped lead him to victory. First, he had a great spiritual perspective. The Israelites saw Goliath from a human perspective, but David didn’t. He knew no mortal could match God’s power. He also had great practical faith. He hadn’t just killed a lion and bear to defend himself—he pursued them and fought to rescue his sheep. Thus he said, “Goliath, lion, or bear I don’t care!” Why? Because, God’s deliverance in the past is always an assurance of His deliverance in the future. And finally, he was more focused on God’s glory than his own victory. He didn’t fight the 9’9”ft Behemoth to become a national hero—he did it to display God’s sovereignty. So, the next time you’re facing some seemingly insurmountable giant, realize that what God did for David He’s also willing to do for you!
Father God, today I seek to bring glory to Your name. Help me to pursue Your will before my own, and to not grow complacent in doing what’s right. I praise You in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Be inspired by David’s faith, courage, and passion for God by reading I Samuel 17:1-54. Then, journal what stands out to you for future reference.