Gentleness of Jesus.
If you grew up near a church in the 90s, this time of year was more than pumpkins and candy corn. It also meant getting the perfect costume ready for the fall harvest at Church. Back then you could not swing a Jansport backpack the week of Halloween without catching a few Church pamphlets. Our church was one of the first in town and for 20 years “Hallelujah Harvest” was the start of the Florida Fall. It was an open event to the city, inviting kids to wear their costumes one more time, while playing festive games and bobbing for apples. All the while the church members volunteered to cook Sam’s Club hotdogs and pass out cans of Great Value cola.
One year, my older brother William, had arrived at the age of “I’m too cool for this, but I’m too young to be trusted with my friends trick-or-treating alone” phase, so he came as a football player. (Rebellious in nature for not being a bible character, but he was Florida State so all was forgiven). My mom and her crafting friends decided that all the daughters should be matching sheep. The cotton balls were hot glued to our white ballet leotards and the pictures have been burned from my memory. Then there was Jordan, the youngest of us 3 Colle kids. He might have been small in stature, but made up for it with confidence, thus Goliath he was. My parents had him in an old Roman Guard uniform, but then took a piece of masking tape crumbled into a ball and stuck it to his forehead. They then took mom’s Mary Kay Ruby Red lipstick and drew blood pouring down this face. Needless to say, Jordan won the costume contest that year.
Growing up churched and being surrounded by those “Sunday School” stories, I always picture Goliath – this literal giant (6 foot 9 to be exact)- and then picture little David. The Sunday School felt board had mini David, sling in hand, up against this massive beast of Goliath. I have always pictured him scrawny, fearful and weak. Yet, when we look at the text of 1 Samuel 17, we read that David was in fact a fighter!
“When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 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. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear;”
If you read prior in the story, we will see that Samuel came to David’s father’s house, asking to see his sons. Jesse’s youngest, our resident fighter, wasn’t even brought into the house. David was sent out to continue to man the sheep for his family. While David might have felt forgotten about out in the field, God didn’t. He was tending a flock from predators, killing the enemy with his bare hands, all the while preparing for a battle that would change the trajectory of his life.
When we read David’s explanation as to why he could face Goliath, I soon picture a man meek in power and strength. In that moment we witness the gentle power of his spirit: “I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth.”
Later in David’s life he writes Psalm 23, proclaiming the truth that the Lord is our Shepherd. Often we forget that not only is the Lord protecting us, but just like David, in his gentle grace he releases us from the mouth of the enemy. He will protect, seize, strike and destroy the one that is after our souls. We roam off into areas that are beyond the watchful eyes of our Shepherd. But in His mercy, he gently brings us back home to him. We might have some wounds, maybe some scars to remind us of our mistakes, but our fear is not bigger than His grace.
This week I encourage you to memorize Psalm 23. One of the biggest weapons we have at our disposal is the sword of Truth. As you do, think of the spirit of the Lord as he leads you from the mouth of the enemy, to the gentle waters of restoration.