Giants, Seas, and Trees

I had an idea floating around in my mind for a while to blog about, but the Lord had a different plan. A plan to kind of blow my mind. So He did.

See in studying Psychology, we have a cure- a drug or form of therapy- for almost every deviancy, traumatic event, or intellectual disability. But, there are some situations about which professors have said, “I’ve never seen anyone come back from that.” This defeat simultaneously broke my heart and made me angry. I firmly believe that God uses counseling and/or medication to usher forth healing- a healing not separated from Himself. I also firmly believe that we serve a God who does not leave us hopeless. So I had been seeing this pattern in scripture of firmly established things being uprooted. The Red Sea, for example, was a massive body of water the Israelites and their ancestors had referenced for the duration of their lives. Yet, one day, it became dry land. Throughout scripture these “cedars of Lebanon” are mentioned. These huge trees that endure season after season, the oldest recorded one being at least 1,000 years old. And in both Isaiah and the Psalms, the Lord speaks of uprooting them, completely removing and no longer permitting revitalization of these huge, established, landmarks.

So, I wanted to apply this to our lives. I wanted to show how yes, when there is a generational pattern of sin or when we see a pattern in our own lives, we need to understand that yes, it can rear its ugly head and we must be aware of that. But, these “landmarks” of sin or scars in our lives can be uprooted. These bodies of water that we feel like we’re drowning in can be turned to dry land.

But the Lord slowed me down to remind me this morning, that none of this is of our own doing. I recently listened to Louie Giglio’s sermon called “Goliath Must Fall”. He talked about the story of David and Goliath, in which a tiny little shepherd boy comes out to bring his brothers lunch on the front lines of battle and when everyone else is afraid of this giant that had come out day after day, David steps up, throws some stones, and defeats the giant. We teach this message and hear this lesson and we think, “okay I am David and I can slay all of my giants”. Yet, Louie shifted our thinking and reminded us we are not David. This story is a representation of Jesus. Jesus is David. Jesus kills the giant. Because we have been throwing stones over and over again at our sins and our scars, yet they are still coming out every afternoon yelling, “Who will fight me?!” And the answer is not ourselves. It’s the God that parts seas and uproots thousand year old trees.

So sin is defeated and scars are healed. What’s the point of this difference? The point is bigger than I can seem to fathom. The point is God must be glorified. When we hear about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea, we don’t applaud Moses for hitting the rock with his staff perfectly. We sit in awe of a God who protects His people, performs huge miracles, and uproots what seems eternal in our limited understanding. So if defeating our giants meant us throwing the stones correctly, our giants would never be defeated.

Many times our understanding of the story of David ends there, but the story continues. David defeated Goliath, but this was just the beginning of years of war with the Philistine army and with Saul. Hundreds if not thousands of men were killed. David’s life was repeatedly threatened. Yet he chose righteousness. Finally, the Philistine army is defeated and he establishes “the city of David” and builds himself a cedar home. The Lord tells David that the Lord himself had been dwelling with His people, with no dwelling place since their exile from Egypt. He details the story of David’s life showing him how He has been David’s fortress all along and He will continue to be. But requests that first, David builds a dwelling place for the Lord. To summarize, if I may, The Lord basically says build My house and I will make you great.

And the Lord called me out, fiercely and painfully, of getting those two things out of order. I like to make myself great, then build the kingdom of God, but in doing that I’m missing the importance of the truth that God must be glorified. See, if David were of equal caliber with Goliath, we would just run over this story and potentially never know their names. This story is remarkable because David is young and weak, yet he defeats a man so large that the weight of his armor has been recorded for all of human history to marvel at. But I, I like to make my name great. I like to pretend I can be my own fortress. So I am busy polishing my stones and practicing throwing them at the enemy that keeps calling me to fight itself. I keep drowning in the sea that has been flowing ferociously throughout the entirety of my existence. I am being defeated and drowning, and the Lord is not being made great.

So He is teaching me that when I take a step back, I build His house despite my faults, my weakness, my age, He is glorified. And He doesn’t leave me hopeless, defeated, and drowning, instead He rescues me and shares with me His glory that both satisfies and pervades history.

See Jesus Himself in John 17 refers to the glory He has as the glory the Father has given Him. Yet, we like to “consider equality with God something to be grasped”, modeling our ancestors who sure did miss the glory of the Garden.

God is not glorified in our strength. His Name is not made great in the stones that we throw with our own determination, strategy, and might. “His power is made perfect in our weakness.” That power though, doesn’t leave us weak. No. Instead, that power uproots thousand year old trees whose root systems are more intricately woven than our very DNA. That power parts seas and delivers us. That power defeats giants. That power dwells inside of us.

We are not hopeless, lost without a cure for our sin and our scars. Our giants will be defeated, the chains of sin decimated, but not so that our names will be made great.Healing is not in our hands. Every sin and scar is overcome for the sake of His renown. Our Hope of Glory. Because He is our hope. And if one thing is sure, it is that God must be glorified. And He will be.