I remember meeting every Sunday morning with up to 20 men on the U.S.S. Archerfish, over a 10th of the Crew. But I also remember my first day on the submarine and feeling that I was the only Christian on board. It didn't seem like any of the guys that I met were serving the Lord.
In today's society that seems so hostile to God and those who represent Him we can very often become overwhelmed by that feeling that there is no hope. When isolated from one of our biggest sources of encouragement and help, our wives, we can become doubtful and even fearful. I can remember being out to sea and going weeks and sometimes a month with out hearing from friends and family.
Wondering what is going on many men wish just a line from their wives saying that all is well, no need to worry. God is doing great things, still. He is really still in control. The wives sitting at home the same way, worrying and hoping to hear a good word. There is a story in the Bible that much parallels this experience but many of us remember it from a much different angle.
Jesse was sitting at home wandering what was happening on the front line. His three sons were with Saul fighting against the Philistines. No word had come in weeks and maybe months. This was the longest it had ever been without word of victory. Surely God was doing great things for Israel and their King, but no word had come and in times of war no news can be bad news.
Jesse grew more and more impatient as to hear what was happening so he calls David away from tending the sheep long enough to send him to the troops. He tells him "Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See How your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them."
With the supplies delivered David now looked for what his Father had asked for, some assurance. He reached the front lines just as both sides were taking their positions for battle. This was it just what his father had asked of him. The Israelite army let out the battle cry. The Lord would surely work on their behalf and soon David would see victory. But just then someone stepped out for the enemy. Goliath it says stepped out from the rest of the army to shout his usual defiance.
I'm sure David's attention turned to the question of who will step out for Israel. Instead it says that they didn't even hold their ground. All the men even to the last one ran in fear. Just a few chapters before this story in 1 Samuel 13:14, speaking of David, the scripture says "The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart."
You know the rest of the story. However, the story repeats itself today to ask, "Who will step out for God?" The world will oppose you. Some will tell you that you need weighty armor. Some on your own team and from within your own family will question your motives. But we can return home, too, with what we couldn't find when we got there, Assurance.
Pastor Bud Brown
Neah Bay, Washington