May 20

1 Samuel 17:45,46b,47 (NIV) 45David said to the Philistine, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied

. 46b...the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands."

Goliath hurried to meet David. When he saw he was just a boy, he mocked him and made boasting threats. David responded with the facts. Goliath had physical weapons upon which he relied. David declared that he fought as a representative of LORD of the armies of heaven and the armies of Israel. "The outcome of the battle," he declared, "will show that there is a God in Israel." David fought that the world might know God.

He declared one more reason that God would bring the victory, that everyone gathered would know that the LORD does not save by sword or spear. He is the One who determines the outcome of battle. It is His battle. "He is about to give you, Goliath, into my hands," David was saying.

What faith David had in his God! He was so certain that he ran to meet Goliath. For David it was a chance to proclaim the greatness of his God. Saul needed to be reminded the battle was not about physical weapons. The fearful army of Israel needed that reminder. We do too. Though it is not a physical war we fight, we often try to solve our spiritual wars through natural solutions like man made reasoning, instead of prayer and faith. Are you declaring that the outcome of your battle will show God is alive and well? Do you know it is not up to man to win it, for it is the Lord's battle?

Consider: Are you fighting for self or God's testimony?

May 20

Luke 18:11-14 (NIV) 11The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Jesus told this parable to those who were confident about their own righteousness and looked down on others. Spiritual pride is a devastating disease of the soul. It is like the continual use of painkillers making us unaware of the problems going on within us. How can we know if we are afflicted with it? Consider the attitudes in these two men that prayed.

The Pharisee prayed about himself. He thanked God that he was not like other people that he considered evil. It is good to thank God for His grace in your life, but the Pharisee is making the great blunder of comparing himself with fallen men. The standard is not men but God. In comparing himself with men only, he has missed his great sin of pride. He goes on praying about his righteousness, declaring to all in the range of his voice that he fasts and tithes. Whoops, there goes his heavenly reward. Jesus said when men praise you, their praise is your reward.

The other man just beat his breast, recognizing he was a sinner. His request was for mercy from God. Jesus said it was this second man that went home right with God. God was his standard. The great distance between his righteousness and God's caused him anguish. He had the true picture of his condition. Prayer is about seeing God for who He is, and in the light of that reality we see our great need. God lifts up the humble. He gladly gives mercy and grace to those who recognize their need, to those who are brokenhearted about their sin. To the proud, He will prepare a path of humiliation. That, too, is grace and mercy.

Prayer: Lord, grant us eyes to see our real spiritual condition that we might enter into Your presence in prayer instead of praying about our self.