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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2016 23:50:01 +1300
by Bryan Hupperts

1 Samuel 17:34-37. 'But David said to Saul, "Your servant used 
to keep sheep for his father; and when there came a lion, or a 
bear, and took a lamb from the flock. I went after him and smote 
him and delivered it out of his mouth; and if he arose against me, 
I caught him by his beard, and smote him and killed him. Your 
servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised 
Philistine shall be like one of them, seeing he has defied the 
armies of the living God."' 

Long before he was the great King of Israel, David was the runt 
of the litter, the youngest kid in the family. He probably got the 
hand me, hand me, hand me downs from his seven brothers. 
Nobody expected too much from the baby of the family.

What I love about David is that he learned to worship God at a 
young age. Something in this kid cried out to know God. He 
learned warfare at a young age. Part of his family duties included 
tending the family sheep flock.. I laugh when I hear kids 
complaining about chores, taking out the trash, weeding the 
flowerbed, and so on. David had to fight wild ravenous animals
as part of his family chores.

I have a friend who lives on a small rural Missouri farm. One of 
his sons owned a 10-gauge shotgun. He and his kid sister were 
walking back from the family shooting range when a rattlesnake 
suddenly appeared right between his kid sisters' ankles. He 
carefully loaded and aimed his shotgun and shot the snake in 
half - right between his sister's legs. While I admired his heroism, 
I asked him if what he did wasn't rather dangerous. If his aim 
had been even a few degrees off, he would have shot his sister. 
He retorted that he was a marksman (my phrase) and the only 
dangerous thing in that garden was the snake. He was
protecting his sister.

In David's time, wealth was measured in livestock. For every lamb 
that was lost to lions and bears, the family's financial security 
was diminished. Most shepherds hurled stones using a leather 
sling in order to scare the wild animals away. It's interesting that 
David wouldn't let them take even one lamb. He would fight to 
snatch them right out of their mouths. If they fought back, he 
would kill them. He was intent on stopping the danger to his 
family at the source. He duty was to protect the lambs even at 
the cost of his own life.

Years later, another monster came on the scene. This one, a 
giant named Goliath, was terrorizing the armies of Israel. A lion's 
paw, a bear's paw, a six-fingered hand of a loathsome giant, 
what's the difference? The lambs were in danger and one monster 
kills as easily as another. David sought the king's permission 
and blessing to go and kill this monster. It was all the same to him.

Fighting bears and lions were his training ground. He had been 
faithful in the small tasks of defending the lambs. David would 
grab the beards of the wildest animals that prowled the lands 
and kill them - all for the sake of delivering defenseless lambs. 
Who was watching David fighting alone on those obscure 
mountains? No one except God. And God found in this young 
man both the heart of a warrior and of a shepherd, one who would 
willingly fight and, if necessary, lay down his life for the flock. 
And no man has greater love than this.

The bears and lions that meet you in your younger years are 
often disguised training grounds for God's greater purposes. If 
David had not first fought and felled the lions and bears that tried 
to ravage his father's flocks, he would have not been "proved" 
to fight Goliath. 

Most saints of God I know that are mightily used of the Lord 
often spent years going through one trial and hardship after 
another. Circumstances seemed to say they were accursed of 
God. No matter what happened, they seem to find sorrow and 
suffering at every turn. Yet it is these very trials that begin to 
refine their hearts so that they come forth as gold, as useable 
vessels in the King's service. Unfair hardships were God's hidden 
grace to train them for His higher callings and purposes.

After a time, you begin to see danger merely as another opportunity 
for God to show Himself strong on your behalf. So much of modern 
Christianity has removed the risk factor of faith - we have it all too 
well oiled and planned. When David was a lad, if the Lord had not 
delivered him from the paw of the lion and bear, David would have 
been mauled to death. He was the first and last line of defense 
for the flock. If God did not strengthen him, he would have perished, 
and the lambs would have kebob for any hungry beast that 
happened to find them...

If you will not throw yourself into the fray to fight the bear and 
lions, what will happen when the real strongholds, the giants, 
finally come to mock you and your God? The devil, in the person 
of Goliath, came using fear to war and make slaves of God's 
people again. Will you suddenly rise up and learn to war? No, 
the proving and training comes by stages. David was thoroughly
trained for the battle by the time he was a teenager, because he 
faithfully did his assigned tasks when no one but God could see. 
That's why the whole army of Israel sat cowering in fear; not a 
man among them had been perfectly faithful to God's training in 
his life. Only one was finally ready to fight the defiant giant in 
the Lord's strength and prevail.

Think of the lions and bears that attack your life as stepping 
stones to ultimate victory, and God's ultimate purposes for your 
personal destiny. David was anointed as king years before he 
was crowned king, and I suspect that battling lions and bears 
was a necessary part of his training to one day shepherd his 
nation. He who is faithful in the small things will be found faithful 
in the big things.

-Bryan Hupperts (c) 1998.