Great Moments. Great God.

The answer surprised me that day as I sat in a seminary class.  A well-known evangelist was on campus as a guest lecturer.  Toward the end of his presentation, a student asked, “What is the key to knowing God’s will?” I expected the usual response outlining the necessary convergence of God’s word, wise counsel, and the peace of the Holy Spirit.  However, in that moment this Christian leader introduced me to a thought that has stayed with me over these many years.  He replied boldly, “Learn to trust your great moments.”

The evangelist went on to explain that God is always active in our lives and works in and around us for specific purposes.  His purposes can be traced from the past, embraced in the present, and trusted in the future.  Our problem is that we easily forget the great moments of His work in our lives.  This is one reason we should journal in order to capture, clarify, and count on those lessons when we face a crossroads of decision.  (To review my 2012 devotion on the topic of journaling that complements this writing, CLICK HERE.)

I have noted in other devotionals that during biblical history the Lord commanded His people to remember His exploits and never forget His lessons.  To reinforce their memory and obedience, God instituted “memorials” such as the Passover, the 12 stones at the Jordan River, and even the feasts.  Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper so that we would remember and trust the great truths of our salvation.

Trust at the Crossroads

Trusting your great moments, and ultimately your great God, is never more important than in those times when you are at a crossroads of decision so often infused with risk, emotion, and substantial consequences.  These decision points might come when you are sensing a call to a new dimension of service.  They might arise when you are facing persecution or criticism for your faith.  It might be a crossroads of a decision that requires great sacrifice personally, financially, or for your family.

A Story of Contrasts

Recently, I heard an insightful message about the familiar account of David rising to the occasion to challenge and slay Goliath.  Israel was at a crossroads and the name of the Lord was on the line.  Within the story, David confronted Goliath with this profoundly bold declaration:

“I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:45-47).

David’s courage was in radical contrast to the spiritual apathy, fear, and inaction of the armies of Israel who, for forty days, both morning and evening, were “dismayed and afraid” as Goliath defied them (1 Samuel 17:11 & 16).  What made David different? What compelled him to rise to the occasion and win the victory for God’s glory? 

What Defined the Difference?

The bottom line was that David had a clear conviction and confidence about his great moments and what they had revealed to him about his great God.  The other soldiers of Israel either had no such great moments or had completely negated them.  Thus they had no compulsion to act in bold courage for the sake of the name of the God of Israel.  They were immobilized and unable to confront Goliath.  They compromised the honor of God’s name.

Earlier in the story, David was questioned by King Saul about his determination to fight Goliath.  David’s desire was disdained by his colleagues and doubted by Saul.  In their minds, David was naive, young, and inexperienced.  David’s mind was captured by another reality.  He explained to Saul:

“‘Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.  Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.’ Moreover David said, ‘The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’  And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the LORD be with you!’” (1 Samuel 17:34-37).

David’s conclusion that he should take on Goliath, and his confidence in doing so, was based on his great moments of God delivering him from the lion and the bear.  God had power to also deliver him from the defiant Philistine.  Saul had the wisdom to recognize that the key to David’s success would be that his God would be with him in His presence and power.

What About You?

Are you facing any “Goliaths” today? Is there an enemy of your soul that threatens to defy the honor of God in your life? Is there a costly decision to be made? Are you at a crossroads requiring new and profound trust?

Rehearse the work of God in your life in days past.  Reaffirm His specific provision. Remember the important lessons.  Reassure your heart through the lens of this reality.  For the sake of His name, trust Him and then resolutely move ahead.  He is your great God and the provider of great moments, for His glory.

Copyright © 2013 Daniel Henderson. All rights reserved.