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Lions Beware

I have to admit that I wasn’t anticipating much as I began reading 1 Samuel 17.  I’m daily reading through this book of the Bible.  This chapter was too familiar, yet one of the most memorable stories in the Bible:  David and Goliath.  Sure, I’ve tapped into the inspiration of this story many times, but it is so iconic as a hero story that it almost has that yada-yada-yada feel.

Of course, we all love an underdog.  Libby’s like the worst at sympathizing with the team that’s getting slaughtered in any sports even we watch.  I mean, I nearly had to excuse her from Carolina’s trouncing of Michigan State in the national basketball championship last April.  (She was probably pulling for Charleston the other night.)

But, we all like someone to win against all the odds.  So, we love the little shepherd boy picking out his five smooth stones and slaying the giant. 

 Yet, was there a fresh lesson or two  as I read?  Of course.  So, here are a couple of lessons for the underdog.

  1. You don’t have a chance if you think that you are the underdog.  David thought that he was the favorite because of what he had experienced with God.  His confidence is amazing, even insulting to his brothers who interpret it as foolish bravado.  Have you ever noticed in the post-game interview with the team that got the upset win that they never act surprised that they won?  They usually say something like, “In spite of what everyone wrote and said about us, we knew we could win.”

People who are convinced that they are underdogs never step forward.  They totally accept the situation as it is.

  1. To slay a giant you have to slay a few lions or bears first.  And here’s the thing, to slay a lion you have to go after it.   Hmmm . . . . I hadn’t noticed that part before.  I had noticed that David had experience slaying predators, but I hadn’t noticed that his experience was the result of him going after the predator.  I think that most of us would be content just to stay out of the way of a marauding lion, glad for the sheep that were left.  In business we call that shrinkage.  It comes with doing business.  There are always lions, but they don’t take everything.  Why risk going after them.

So, here’s the question:  What marauding lions have I accepted in life, ministry, culture, the world, wherever?  What spiritual loss do I assume is normal, even expected?

On the positive side, what initiative would represent going after the lion, being engaged in the rescue of something being lost, destroyed?  A friend in trouble?  A marriage being abandoned?  A kid being neglected?  An injustice being rationalized?  Disbelief being assumed?

Can you think of some lions that we should be going after?


  1. "What do you guys talk about at Your church?" "Ya know, how to really go after a lion and take it down… you?"