Fourth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 7

Track 1: Facing Giants

1 Samuel 17: (1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-49
Psalm 9:9-20
1 Samuel 17:57-18:5, 10-16
Psalm 133

2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Mark 4:35-41

In life we may face many obstacles. Some may seem like giants to us. In today’s Old Testament reading we get a chance to see how David handled giants:

David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.”   (1 Samuel 17:34-36)

What David was saying that he knew who he was in God and that his enemy was also an enemy of God. Though it might have seen that David may have been bragging on himself, in this passage he state that this battle belongs to God:

The Philistine came on and drew near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was only a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 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 said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the field.” But David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head; and I will give the dead bodies of the Philistine army this very day to the birds of the air and to the wild animals of the earth, so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.”   (1 Samuel 17:41-47)

God’s ways are not our ways. King Saul spoke from a human point of view. It may have seemed like good advice. Yet David knew to trust the higher authority. If we are to allow God to take over we must carefully follow his instructions. We must put 0ur full trust in God as did David:

When the Philistine drew nearer to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.   (1 Samuel 17:48=49)

The psalmist wrote:

The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed,
a refuge in time of trouble.

Those who know your Name will put their trust in you,
for you never forsake those who seek you, O Lord.

Sing praise to the Lord who dwells in Zion;
proclaim to the peoples the things he has done.   (Psalm 9:9-11)

Do we know the name of Jesus, enough to put our trust in him. in today’s appointed Gospel, the disciples of Jesus were gaining an even greater understanding of His name. They were in a boat facing a dangerous storm and pleaded with Jesu for help:

He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”   (Mark 4:35-41)

Jesus quickly conquered the storm. This same Jesus will conquer our storms.

Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
    we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.   (Romans 8:34-37)

We are conquerers because Jesus is our conquerer. He is interceding for us. Do we know Jesus enough to call upon him? Do we know him as Lord of heaven and earth?


Track 2: Suggestions

Job 38:1-11
Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32
2 Corinthians 6:1-13
Mark 4:35-41

God asked Job:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.”

And the disciples of Jesus asked:

“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Are we in awe of God or do we attempt to lecture his and correct his understanding of our situation? This may be something to explore. In our troubles do we give him thanks for his care? the psalmist wrote:

He stilled the storm to a whisper
and quieted the waves of the sea.

Then were they glad because of the calm,
and he brought them to the harbor they were bound for.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his mercy
and the wonders he does for his children.

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Filed under Eucharist, Gospel, Jesus, lectionary, liturgical preaching, liturgy, Pentecost, preaching, Revised Common Lectionary, sermon, sermon development, Year B

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