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Today is the second Sunday of Advent.
When we meet in person, we share our joys and concerns. Take some time to consider the past week, and any prayer requests you might have. When you are ready, use the prayer below, written by John Birch, to get started.
We are moulded, each one of us,
in the image of God,
and within our souls there is a fingerprint
none can erase.
We pray for those who have no regard
for anyone but self,
who put no value on human life.
For nations and individuals who abuse and kill.
We are not called to be judge or jury,
but we are called to be agents of change,
and if the butterfly that flaps its wings
should be our attitude to others
then so be it, Lord,
and may the hurricane this generates
somewhere within the world
reach into the hearts and souls of those
for whom we pray, and reveal to them
how precious are those
for whom they have no love,
and how precious are they
who now bring tears to the eyes of God.
This week's lesson is on 1 Samuel 17:31-37, 45, 48-50.
The story of David and Goliath demonstrates how the Lord intercedes for His people. David was a young shepherd. King Saul and his men were battling the Philistines, one of which was a 9-foot giant named Goliath. The men of Saul’s army were afraid of Goliath; there was no one to stand up to him. David was filled with faith and a passion for God’s name, which was being blasphemed by Goliath.
An important point in this story is that Goliath was taunting the sovereign Lord of the universe. He was challenging God’s people to stand up to him and demonstrate that their God was more powerful than he was. However, David’s faith was so strong that he was willing to believe that the Lord would go with him and enable him to defeat Goliath. David’s faith was born out of his experience of God’s grace and mercy in his life up to that point. The Lord had delivered him out of dangerous situations in the past, proving His power and trustworthiness, and David relied on Him to deliver him from the Philistine.
From the story of David and Goliath, we can learn that the God we serve is capable of defeating any of the giants in our lives—fear, depression, financial issues, doubts of faith—if we know Him and His nature well enough to step out in faith. When we do not know what the future holds, we have to trust Him. But we can’t trust someone we don’t know, so knowing God through His Word will build our faith in Him.
Faith and responsibility are key aspects of living with God. Faith is our decision to follow the Lord and responsibility is how we live out our faith on this earth. There should be no doubt who we serve, just as there was no doubt that David served God and Goliath did not.
Lord, may we grow in courage in our faith. May people see the love of Jesus as he guides our steps through the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
This week's benediction is from the King James Version.
Next week's lesson will be on Matthew 1:1-17.
We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.