Meditations by John Dean

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Level Playing Field

(1 Samuel 17:4-7 KJV) And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.  And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass.  And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders.  And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him. 

Is it wrong for one person to have an advantage over another? I suppose it would depend on the circumstances. In most situations in life an advantage does matter.

For example…in the case of war, one would certainly want the advantage over his enemy. This was certainly the case when the Philistines challenged Saul to send out his best warrior to face the Philistine’s best warrior.

The Philistines thought they had the advantage over Israel, and Saul seemed to agree with them. Goliath (the Philistine champion), was several feet taller than Israel’s best man, and his weapons probably weighed as much as the “body weight” of any one of Saul’s army. That being the case then, for all practical purposes the Philistines had the advantage.

However, with God, height, weaponry weight, age and military training do not count for much in spiritual battles. For example: one day a kid by the name of David came along. He never had a single day of natural military training, but he was able to defeat Goliath. The only thing that David knew was how to worship God, tend sheep and practice his marksmanship with his slingshot. He did not look like a warrior, nor did he act the part of a warrior, but the Bible says that “God uses the foolish things to confound the wise.”

As a result of David showing up the advantage shifted from Goliath to David.

Everyone goes through life looking for an advantage…even those who claim they do not. One gets an education because it gives him an advantage for a job over those who do not have an education. A tall man has a greater advantage over a short man when playing in the NBA. An employer interviews potential employees looking for the one who paid the price of having the advantage over the rest. Every mother and father wants their child to have the greatest advantage in life regardless of the cost.

A few years ago a couple of my ministry friends and I were visiting Wheaton University where we were invited to sit in on a conversation with a man who had started his own school. This man was meeting with five of the faculty heads plus the three of us ministers. His topic was “A level playing field.”

People were passing by this man’s school to attend Wheaton and he wanted what he called “a level playing field.” Wheaton had worked hard for many years building their reputation and academic status in order to have an advantage in appealing to students. This man’s school was only three years old and he was asking Wheaton to be “less” than they were in order for his school to be “more” than what it was…and that is what he called a level playing field.

The fact is there is no such thing as “a level playing field” in life. I am personally glad for that because that would eliminate our God given initiative and thus we would fall short of our intended destiny.

I know the reason David had the advantage over Goliath was because he spent his “sheep tending time” dressing himself with Your glory through prayer and praise.  His relationship with You is what gave him the advantage over the lion, the bear and Goliath. Father, I too want to be as diligent as David in dressing myself with Your glory through prayer and praise so that I too may defeat the Goliaths in my own life.

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