"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." ~ Deuteronomy14:2

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Raising The Standard: Courage Is Applying The Resources I Have In Creative Ways When Faced With Overwhelming Odds

How Does Scripture Illustrate Courage In Creative Resourcefulness? The small group of men despairingly reviewed the bleak options which were open to them. They could remain where they were. That meant certain death at the hand of their angered and jealous king. They could go to a friendly nation and seek asylum there. That involved a great risk as well. They could hide in the rugged hills. That involved additional dangers. It would require constant vigilance and expose them to their pursuers and to the wild beasts which roamed the region.
There was only one other option, risking death because of their citizenship by going to an unsympathetic foreign nation, a former enemy. It seemed unthinkable and required a great measure of courage, but that was the course of action they chose to take. The men turned to the west and fled for their lives. When they reached the city, their leader went directly to the king. He was intercepted by officers of the royal court. When he told them who he was, their eyes widened in astonishment and they willingly agreed to take him to King Achish. As he waited to see the king, he overheard these officers excitedly tell Achish many stories about him from the past. He was amazed that they knew so much about him. As he listened to their words and their tone of voice, he realized the desperate nature of his situation. This king had more reasons to kill him than the one from which he had fled. He had killed their chief warrior in battle and caused them to suffer a massive defeat. In fact, he even had the sword of that great warrior with him. Fear overtook him. He knew he was helpless to escape. Well-armed soldiers of the king stood all around him, and others were quickly summoned to join them. the officers explained to the king how they could use this unexpected visitor to their own advantage. Then the leader's courage took a new avenue of expression. When he entered the king's presence he would do something he had never done before. He would do it so well that it would be sure to throw their plans into confusion. The door opened and he was ushered into the room. Rather than walking in, he staggered to the door post and began to claw at it. His mouth hung open and low, guttural sounds came from his throat. Spittle ran out of his mouth and dribbled down his beard. Seeing this, the king turned to his shocked officers and angrily rebuked them for mocking him by bringing a madman into his presence. Then he ordered them to take him out and let him go. The tactic had worked! Once outside, he fled to the wilderness. When King Achish realized the extent of courage and creativity in this young man, he formed a deep friendship with him. He invited him to live under his protection. In later years, when this man whose name was David became the king of his own nation, six hundred men from the city of King Achish came to help him in a special time of need (From 1 Samuel 21:10- 22:1)
Why Didn't David Overthrow King Saul Rather Than Run?
David would not lift his hand against the Lord's anointed (cf. 1 Samuel 24:6, 26:8-11). It would not have been completely presumptuous for David to rebel against Saul at this time. The Lord had already rejected Saul and chosen David as the new king (1 Samuel 16:1-13). David had become a national hero by defeating the Philistine giant. He was the commander of a thousand men and all the nation loved him (1 Samuel 18:13, 16). Furthermore, he could have made a convincing case that Saul was mentally unfit to rule (1 Samuel 16:14-16). But David was not impatient in waiting for the Lord's perfect timing. He was not willing to force the Lord's will by doing it in his own way as Saul had done (1 Samuel 13:11-14).
Was David Betraying His Own People By Surrendering To One Of Their Enemies?
David's intentions in submitting to Achish, the Philistine king of Gath, were far from traitorous. His strategy was revealed when he successfully accomplished the same plan years later. After winning the confidence of King Achish, he obtained control of the city of Ziklag. From there he launched raids against the enemies of Saul. By warring against a mutual enemy of Israel and Achish, and giving him part of the spoil, David successfully contributed to his own nation's protection (1 Samuel 27:8-12).
Was It Cowardice Rather Than Courage For David To Act Insane?
David had already been anointed by Samuel to be the next king. The circumstances which he now faced did not warrant laying down his life. He weighed the alternatives of his perilous position. Overhearing the guards conversation, he realized that if he maintained his pride and dignity and was taken prisoner as a famous war hero, his fate would be certain death at the hands of the Philistines. On the other hand, if he were willing to humble himself and feign insanity, David knew that they would not kill him for fear of reprisal from the evil spirits which supposedly indwelled the insane. He therefore took this humbling but creative role in order that he might fulfill the mission which God had in store for him.
How Does The Eastern Hognose Snake Illustrate Courage In Creative Resourcefulness?
As the boys set up their campsite in the woods, the youngest of the group questioned his older companions about Indian lore and the wildlife that might be lurking in the forest. His imagination returned to the many stories he had heard about wild animals. A few hours later, he began searching for firewood and discovered a large, dried out tree that had fallen to the ground during a storm. He busily began to break off branches which would make excellent tinder for their campfire. Suddenly he heard a fluttering noise beneath him. He stood motionless and listened more carefully, but the sound did not repeat itself. Shrugging his shoulders, the boy turned back to the tree. Then he heard the noise again... it sounded like a rattlesnake! It appeared to be coming from among the dry leaves on the far side and to the left of the fallen tree - only a few feet away from where he stood. Lifting a long, heavy branch, he cautiously moved toward the sound. Suddenly he spotted it - a coiled, well camouflaged snake. It was a thick, three-foot monster with a fierce face. Its tail beat against the leaves as it began its vicious hissing. The upraised head seemed ready to strike as it weaved in the air, mouth open. Mustering all the courage he could, the boy stepped toward the snake, swung at the deadly looking creature and grazed its head with the branch. The snake slumped to the ground. It rolled over and lay limp and motionless in the leaves. Surprised at the effectiveness of the blow, the boy cautiously approached it, poked it with his stick and flipped it in the air, testing the lifeless form. Satisfied that it was dead, he ran back to the campsite. Returning to the clearing, he quickly called his friends, blurting out the story of his valor. Before he had time to finish his tale, all had rushed over to see the vicious snake which the young boy had killed all by himself. When they came to the tree, to the amazement of all, the snake was gone. They boys searched the area around the fallen oak, but no trace of it was found. Meanwhile, a safe distance away, the bruised hognose snake curled up under another log watching the search. When first faced with the threat of the boy, it had attempted to frighten him away. When that tactic failed, it skillfully feigned the appearance of being dead. As soon as the young boy ran away to tell the others his story, it had slipped away and carefully hid among some leaves, safely concealed away from the encounter.

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