No Matter What Other People Do...Trust God




Now that you've seen the story I will be talking about today, let me add a twist, another story.  It is a story which I have grown to love through the years.  Usually, it is told in relation to businesses, how the corporate world works, that kind of thing.

            Start with a cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long, a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water. After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result - all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.
            Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise and horror, all of the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.
            Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm! Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then the fifth.
            Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.
            After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana.

Of course WE'RE NOT MONKEYS and this isn't a corporate environment!  Nooooo, course not.  But living our lives, putting our faith, putting our trust in God is, unfortunately, not something people want others to do.  Just consider for a moment the disdain and anymosity expressed toward both quarterback, Tim Tebow and point guard Jeremy Lin during this past year.  Look back over the years, and you'll see others.

History is full of those labeled extreme in their faith, and who found people trying to pull them back down.  Since her death, an attempt has been made to trash Mother Teresa.  How many tried to pull down MLK, Jr.? John Wesley and Martin Luther faced constant threat of death from other Christians.  But let us be real honest, we follow the ultimate person to go after God with a passion.  For his passion, Jesus was not merely drug down but he was finally hung up.

Sometimes it is in little ways that we face the struggle to put our trust in God.  I felt some of that same sting from friends in high school and in my own family as I wrestled with my call to ministry.  Others said things, did things to show their disdain for me as I struggled to trust in God.  And in David's story we find the example of one who, no matter what others did, he trusted in God.  For David it came from three places: The Brother, The Boss, and the Bad Guy.

The Brother,
There is probably no greater punch in the gut than when your family doesn't believe in you.  Even though David was anointed to be king, his brother, Eliab totally dissed him

...Eliab's anger burned against David and he said, "Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle." But David said, "What have I done now? Was it not just a question?"   (1Sa 17:28-29 NASB)

That had to hurt worse than anything to come.  It usually does when family is involved.  My wife and I have always tried to make our home a safe place, to work to be the best cheerleaders and not pull each other or Logan or Jillian down.  Look at the evidence and then – not matter what brothers or sisters or family does – trust God.

The Boss
Bring your resume to every job interview, but always recognize you need to grow.  That is what David did.  It is unfortunate that when the story is told today, we drop out the most important piece - how David viewed God.

Then Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth." But David said to Saul, "Your servant was tending his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. "Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God."   (1Sa 17:33-36 NASB)

The David and Goliath story is common in sports analogies but it is a tragic misrepresentation and terrible theology!  David isn't overcoming long odds to defeat Goliath, he doesn't think the odds are long at all!  They are totally in his favor.  You could chalk it up to youthful enthusiasm as David will later know a great humility that often comes with age.  But you and I need the reminder, look at the evidence and then – no matter what bosses do, trust God.

and the Bad Guy
And let us not forget our enemies.  Our enemies may not be a giant 9 feet tall but there are people who are enemies nonetheless.  And make no doubt, our enemies are just as real.

The Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine also said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field." Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.   (1Sa 17:43-45 NASB)

And here too is the solution, here is what David did on this day and on the many days to follow in his life.  When Saul wanted him dead.  After committing adultery and ordering murder.  After the collapse of his own government and his greatest despair, David still trusted God.  He followed what he knew.  He prayed.  He worshipped.  And his works which make up the majority of the Psalms are his testimony to wrestling with and trusting in God.

Have you?  Will you trust God regardless what other's do?  






May I Ask?  Have you ever trusted God when dealing with other people?  How did it go?  What did you learn about you?  What did you learn about God?

May I Suggest?  
Read David's full story in 1 Samuel.  What do you learn from his life?  OR take time and talk with someone who you know trusts in God, ask them what they've learned and why they continue.

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