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Grace and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Everybody knows the story of David and Goliath. But the world thinks that David’s young victory is about a little guy triumphing over amazing odds. The world puts the story of David and Goliath on the shelf next to the “Little Engine that Could”.
But David and Goliath is not primarily about determination, perseverance or even courage. Sure David was courageous, but that’s not the main point. What happened on that battle field 3,000 years ago happened because of David’s FAITH.
David knew God had promised that no one could stand in their way as Abraham’s descendants as they took possession of their God-given homeland. Turn to Deuteronomy, chapter 20.
“1When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. 2When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. 3He shall say: “Hear, O Israel, today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not be terrified or give way to panic before them. 4For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (Deuteronomy 20:1-4 NIV).
When David first saw Goliath taunting the Israelites he said, “Who is this… that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26b). When King Saul told David that he was too young and inexperienced to face Goliath, David replied that Goliath would die because he had “defied the armies of the living God.” (1 Samuel 17:36 NIV).
David believed that God would KEEP HIS PROMISE and would fight against the enemies of Israel. David knew that when God is the Commander of your army, fear is silly.
Today in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says something very similar: If God is your Father, than worry is silly.
Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)
25“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Worry makes us near-sighted. It causes us to focus on details that may or may not matter. Sometimes at the expense of what more important.
When David told King Saul that he would fight Goliath, Saul’s mind thought of the little details of battle, not the big promise of God. He tried to discourage David, saying that Goliath was far more experienced.
When David refused to turn away, Saul turned to other details. Saul dressed David up in his own gear of war. Armor, sword, etc. He figured David would need these to stand a chance against Goliath.
David tried them on, and then took them off. He wasn’t used to wearing these things. Instead David took his shepherding stick and went down by the stream to get a few stones for his sling.
The truth is, David would have defeated Goliath if he had walked into that showdown armed only with a feather duster. The victory wasn’t in the sling. The victory wasn’t in the stones. It wasn’t in the boy. It was in the God whom the boy trusted.
And when it comes to you and me, our LIFE and HEALTH doesn’t depend on food and clothing alone. Our culture values these things highly. But food and clothing are just the details. True life depends on having a faith connection to the Creator.
In verse 33 of our Sermon text Jesus promises…
“…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV).
Being part of God’s Kingdom means believing His promises and basing our decisions on them. That’s what it means to seek God’s rule in our lives. First believing Him, then living by His Word. When we do this, we have God’s guarantee that He will provide our food and drink. A good King takes care of His subjects.
We have God’s righteousness when we trust in Jesus alone for the forgiveness of sins. In fact, God says that through faith in Jesus we no only OBTAIN forgiveness, we BECOME the righteousness of God.
Turn to 2 Corinthians 5, verse 21. There Paul writes…
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).
Through faith in Jesus we are declared as sinless and perfect as God is.
These are the things that really matter! Not whether we’re eating macaroni and cheese or prime rib. Not whether we’ve got a pair of shoes for every occasion or just one pair of holey sneakers. Faith in Christ. Participation in the reign of God, right now.
Look again at verse 26. Jesus says…
“26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?...
28“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:26, 28-30 NIV).
Jesus was sitting on a large hillside when he said these words. The people could no doubt hear the birds and maybe they could see the flowers around them, too.
What if tomorrow God forgot to make the flowers grow? What if tomorrow God forgot to feed the birds and they all died? These are silly questions. Here’s another silly question. What if tomorrow God forgot to care for the sinners He redeemed with His own Son’s blood?
Paul said it like this:
“31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32 NIV).
If the God of the Bible is our Father, and Jesus says that by faith He is, then we never have reason to worry.
He’s not a stupid Father! He’s not a weak Father! But that’s what we treat Him like when we worry. As if He could forget His own people. As if we might need to pick up the slack for God when He forgets to give us what we need.
He’s given us His Son to be our Savior, our Ever-living, raised-from-the-dead Savior and even calls Him our brother! He will not fail to provide what we need. We ARE far more valuable to our Father than all the little creatures and plants that He feeds and clothes every moment of every day.
Worry settles into the heart when we take God’s responsibilities on our own shoulders. King Saul and his whole army were dismayed when Goliath challenged them because they thought that their sword and skill that had to win the battle.
We too, can lose heart when we begin to think that forgiveness depends on us sinning less tomorrow. But it isn’t our doing better that kills the giant called SIN, it’s Jesus’ perfect life that did that. We just trust in the promise, just like David.
Now, Jesus isn’t saying never prepare for the future.
In Proverbs 10, verse 5 it says…
5 He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son” (Proverbs 10:4-5 NIV).
Preparation for the future is different than worry. Peter says that all Christians should be prepared to tell people why they trust in Jesus. (1 Peter 3:15) Paul says that we should prepare ourselves to face the Devil’s temptations by putting on God’s armor. (Ephesians 6:11)
Letting our minds race around what might be said, or what might be done, or what possibly could go wrong – is not an exercise of preparing, but of worrying. It is also not an exercise of faith, but of doubt. Preparation for the future is different than worry.
Ever get stuck in the snow? Or mud? In your car I mean. Our instinct is to step on the gas. More power will help, right? But usually what works best is a steady foot on the gas. Let the weight of the car give the car some traction. Give just enough gas to move the care forward instead of polishing your own personal ice-rink with your tires.
That’s what worry is like. Spinning your tires. Thinking, oh, I can get out of this if I just put a little more mind power into it. Oh, no, it’s not working. Better spin faster. And on it goes until we’re tired and frustrated to finally sleep.
But Jesus wants us to know that even though our minds are attracted to worry, worry is really no good. Worry is not only powerless to help us, it is also a cumbersome weight that pulls us down.
Look at verse 27. Jesus says,
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27 NIV).
Worry is powerless to help us, and it is therefore foolish to waste our time and energy worrying.
I’d like to prove this fact for you right now. I’ve got a feather here. Just one single feather. I’m going to put it here in front of you. And now I’m going to move this feather onto the ground just by using the power of worry.
(Pastor concentrates hard on the feather, but nothing happens.)
Okay, maybe I’m not good at worrying. I thought I was a pretty good worrier, but I guess I’m going to need some help. Is there anyone out there who is good at worrying? Raise you hand if you’ve got some experience worrying?
(Pastor asks one person to help him “worry” the feather onto the ground. They both concentrate hard, but nothing happens to the feather.)
Looks like we’re going to need everyone’s help here. I need you all to help me worry about this feather. With our combined worrying we surely move mountains, we must be able to move this feather.
(Everyone in the congregation concentrates hard on worrying the feather to the ground, but again, nothing happens.)
Some of you are thinking, this is a very silly exercise. And Jesus would agree. Worrying about anything is a very silly exercise indeed. Worry is powerless to do anything, except waste our time, waster our energy and draw our attention away from our Father in heaven. That’s why Jesus commands His followers “Don’t worry!”, three separate times!
Did you notice that? Look at verse 25. Verse 31. Verse 34. Jesus knows that worry is a persistent problem.
There’s one more thing Jesus wants us to know about worry. Look at verse 34. Jesus says,
“…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NIV).
I think we would all agreed that it’s foolish to let the past weigh us down. Christ Jesus cuts us free from all our past sins. It would be foolish to let guilt over those sins weigh us down. It is equally foolish to look forward and borrow tomorrow’s responsibilities today. In the present we can’t really do anything about tomorrow’s problems. We can’t really even be sure what tomorrow’s problems will be!
Have you ever gotten all prepared for some problem that you just KNOW is going to happen, and then it doesn’t? Ever had to talk to someone about something very important and gotten all tense about what they might say or do, and it turns out to be no problem at all?
When we borrow from tomorrow’s problems we borrow weight that isn’t meant for today. Leave it be, Jesus says. Quit pretending you’re God and just trust in the Father. Let today be what it is, and trust that God will care for you tomorrow also. He’s your Father, you know. He cares for you.
I’d like to end this message with a prayer.
Father in Heaven,
Forgive us for the times we try to wrestle Your responsibilities away from You. Help us not to worry, but to trust in Your promises. Help us to grow in faith, trusting in You and Your Son, knowing that You’ll take care of all the little details of our lives.
Forgive us for the times we have treated you like you didn’t know what we really needed, or like you were powerless to give us the right things. When we worry, help us to remember the birds and the flowers, which you feed and clothe. And help us to remember the way you have already clothed us with Christ’s righteousness, totally apart from our help.
When we find ourselves worrying about something, help us to realize it, Lord, and to throw off our worry with prayer.
We pray all these things in Jesus’ name, through whom You have made all worry a silly thing.
The Peace of God which surpasses all our understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.