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Seeds of the Kingdom

Losing focus

by Philip Asselin

“The priest replied, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one. David said, There is none like it; give it to me.
1 Samuel 21:9, NIV

David is now on the run from King Saul. He heads to a town called Nob and makes up a pack of lies to the priest there. David is only focused on three things. Firstly, he has to escape Saul. Secondly, he needs food, so the previous days consecrated bread would do nicely. And lastly, he wants something to protect himself with. David is fearful, and when we become fearful we very easily lose focus on God and concentrate on our problems.

The dramatic change in David from giant-slayer (Goliath in chapter 17) to desperate runaway in chapter 21, is quite startling. When faced with Goliath David is totally God-focused. He particularly disparages what Goliath had to protect himself saying. “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come in the name of the Lord God Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel” – 1 Sam 21:45. The result is a resounding defeat of the ‘invincible’ Goliath. Now, in the verse we are considering, Goliath’s sword is the protection David seeks because “there is none like it.

What was different between Goliath and Saul? Goliath was over and done with in a very short time, but Saul’s hatred for David went on for years. I think it wore away at David and turned his attention from God’s provision. How about you? Have you successfully faced your Goliath, only to be bogged down with your Saul? Who is your Saul? The belligerent boss at work, the antagonistic relative, the bullying partner, the inappropriate colleague at work. Saul’s are everywhere.

In the day-to-day grind our focus starts to shift. We become problem-focused instead of God-focused. Last thing at night and first thing in the morning, and through the day – a sense of dread. We look to what we can do to protect ourselves. God is subtly moved out of our focus, which is what the enemy wants. That change can also affect our actions, and we can find ourselves doing and saying things we would never have done or said before. All because we are trying to sort the problem out ourselves. Where is God in all this? Well, we can’t really expect God to intervene because we have taken full responsibility for sorting things out ourselves. From personal experience this seems to always end in failure, and I find myself coming back to the One I should have gone to in the first place – Almighty God. When I bring Him my Saul (or whatever problem it is) He does one of two things. Either He removes the problem. Or He gives me the grace to face the problem knowing He is on my side. He will do the same for you. Losing focus? Go to God!

Prayer: Father God. I find myself becoming so focused on my problem(s). They are with me when I go to bed at night, and there when I wake in the morning. They occupy so much of my time and in the process I am losing sight of You. I realize that I can’t resolve them on my own. I need You. So, now, I refocus my attention away from the problem(s) and turn to you. Please help me. Give me the strength for each day and the peace for each night. For you alone are my Helper in times of trouble. The One who has promised never to leave me nor forsake me. So, whom have I to fear! Amen.

Philip Asselin Philip is on the associate ministry and teaching teams at Glyndley Manor. He, and his wife Gillian, attended the second Healing Retreat at Glyndley Manor in 1992, and were greatly helped. They have two grown-up children, a daughter living locally and a son in California. They have two young grandchildren and one step-granddaughter. Their desire is to see people set free to serve God.

 

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