Lord have mercy, what a place to start!
I have always built these weekly reflections on a schedule of Sunday readings called the “Revised Common Lectionary.” not because I am much enamored of the schedule, but because so many churches use it. And because I believe that if you go to the Scriptures seeking the Father, you will find Him, and His Riches, no matter which text you’re reading.
So instead of choosing a subject, and then going to find Scripture texts to support what I want to say, I let this schedule of readings set my agenda for me.
And when I saw this week’s text, I flipped. I know that Angelo had a million other things on his mind when he chose the date to go “live” with the Eureka Network, but I don’t believe in coincidence, and there’s no way God didn’t want me to be writing about David to start things off! What do you find if you dig into this week’s readings? David and Goliath!
This short tale from 1 Samuel 17 epitomizes what it means to act in pursuit of the Riches the Father intends for you. David, young, too small for Saul’s armor, strides out to meet the giant Philistine with his sling and five smooth stones. What in the world convinced him that he was the one to step forward in this moment?
He had his Father’s promise in his other pocket. David has already been anointed king of Israel (1 Samuel 16). He knows what God holds for him, and so he is fearless in the face of the giant’s taunts. There is no shaking of his hands as he loads the only stone he’ll need into the sling. No weakness of his shoulder as he lifts his arm to set the stone in motion. No failure to trust his aim as the giant bears down on him.
Because he knows. He knows what God has in store for him, and he, David, a man after God’s own heart, cannot fail.
Friends, if you are reading this, it is no doubt in part because you are seeking something you don’t yet have. You’re trying to discover a way to lay claim to the desires of your heart. You are, in some way, hungry, thirsty.
“Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.” (Isaiah 55:2, ESV)
We fail to find satisfaction in that for which we spend ourselves because we do not know how to seek what the Father desires to give us. He intends to make us rich beyond measure, but He does not, will not bless efforts that are not rooted in our intimate knowledge of Him and His good will for us.
It is about time that you and I put to rest the lie that dominates our culture. You know it. It goes like this, “If you put your mind to it, you can be or do or have anything you want. You just have to try hard enough.”
That simply is not true. I graduated a year behind Bobby Jones in high school. (He was a power forward for the Tarheels and later the NBA’s best defensive forward, playing for the Sixers.) I don’t care how hard I worked, if I had set my mind to be a successful NBA player like my schoolmate, I would never have achieved that. Never.
The lie we’ve been telling ourselves and our children sounds so right, though. And it has just a tiny kernel of the truth in it, but it has been twisted by sin into something centered on the desires of my sin-broken heart. If I want it badly enough, I can make it happen. The truth sounds similar, but it’s as different as night is from day. It goes like this, “If you set your desire on the Father, and on His Kingdom, He will show you that which will make you truly fulfilled, and nothing will stop you from having it.”
Jesus said it this way, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Mt. 6:33 ESV)
But in order to do that, we need to learn to seek the Father’s face, His Presence, so that we can hear Him speak His anointing words over our lives. Then we can face the giants without a tremor. Then we can feed on that which does not leave us hungry again tomorrow. Then we can have all the riches He has in store for us.
David had a prophet who spoke this destiny into his life. Some of us may also have had a prophetic word spoken over us. I know, for instance, that this column is a part of the realization of a prophecy that I have received. David’s success wasn’t grounded in his determination, but in the trust he placed in God’s promise.
David sought the Lord’s will before he acted. He didn’t just decide when to go to battle and how on his own. Read 2 Samuel 5. David is instructed by God to “go up” against the Philistines the first time, and they are given into his hand. But the second time, David doesn’t just assume that he should do the same thing. He seeks the Lord, and this time he is instructed to wait, and to attack only after God has routed them.
God grants David victory after victory, but David seeks the Lord before he makes a move. He has determined only to want the riches that the Lord intends for him.
You and I may not have a prophet handy that we can call upon. But we have something, Someone, that David did not. The Holy Spirit. We can approach the Father much more directly than David ever could because Jesus has given us the Counselor. God may use a prophet to speak something into our lives, but when we read the Word as led by the Spirit, we can discern for ourselves the Voice of Promise.
Receiving His Riches is all about learning to hear that Voice of Promise. It is about telling the difference between the Father’s desire for you and the desires you have had thrust upon you by a broken world. And it is about trusting God to make those promises happen.
I look forward to walking with you.
Jeff Krantz is an Episcopal priest, and has been the rector of the Church of the Advent in Westbury, New York for 12 years. He leads retreats for men’s groups, parishes, and parish leadership groups. A lifelong Episcopalian, Jeff experienced a crisis of faith after his ordination that led him into a new way of being in relationship to his “Father” that he now wants to share. His early email ministry, “Hearing His Voice,” grew into a soon-to-be released book by the same title. Jeff can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.