Posts tagged ‘Savior’

Looking for a Messiah

The story of David and Goliath is a favorite of children’s bibles. It features a shepherd boy named David and a Philistine giant and nemesis of Israel named Goliath who fancies himself invincible. The Israelite army is so terrified of Goliath that no one will sign up to fight him. David, however, indicates his willingness to fight Goliath to King Saul, who tries to outfit David in his armor for the battle, only to find out that he is a 42 long while David is a 34 short. So David goes to fight Goliath with nothing but a sling and some stones. But with these unassuming homespun tools, the little boy takes the big bully out:

Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, David slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground. So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. David took the Philistine’s head and brought it to Jerusalem; he put the Philistine’s weapons in his own tent.  As soon as David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul, with David still holding the Philistine’s head. (1 Samuel 17:49-51, 54, 57)

One of the fascinating features of this story is not just that a young boy kills a towering warrior, but how David does it – he does it by striking Goliath in the head. The author of 1 Samuel seems to be quite taken by this because he uses the word “head” or “forehead” five times in these verses. Goliath’s head is so central to the image of David’s victory, that he carries the head around!

When Adam and Eve fall into sin, God curses the couple, but He also curses the one who tempted them into sin – Satan, who appears in the form of a snake. God warns Satan that there will come an offspring of Eve who will one day defeat him. But what is striking about God’s curse is not only that this offspring will crush Satan, but how he will do it. God says to the snake:

I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel. (Genesis 3:15)

The offspring of this woman will crush Satan’s head.

This promise from God led the ancient Israelites to look for the fulfillment of this promise – someone who would come to save them from the sinful mess of this world by crushing the head of their enemies. They centered their hope around what they called the “Messiah,” which in Hebrew means, “anointed one.” The Israelites were looking for someone chosen and anointed by God to save them.

One chapter before the story of David and Goliath, God chooses a new king of Israel, who, unbeknownst to Saul, is Saul’s replacement. Who is this king? The giant-slayer David. God sends his prophet Samuel right before David kills Goliath to anoint him as the next king of Israel:

Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. (1 Samuel 16:13)

Just a chapter later, after becoming Israel’s new “anointed one,” David crushes the head of Israel’s greatest enemy with a stone, which begs a question: Could David be the one? Could he be the Messiah?

We know from the rest of David’s story that he was not “the one.” The one who crushes Goliath’s head with a stone is crushed by his own sin when he has an affair with a woman who is not his wife and then has her husband murdered to cover up their relationship. David may have crushed the head of Goliath, but the head of the ancient snake was still spitting its poison of sin and death. The Messiah who would crush Satan’s head was still to come.

So often, when we see amazing people do amazing things – as David did with Goliath – we wonder: Could they be the one? Could they be the doctor who wipes out cancer? Could they be the politician that fixes our nation’s ills? Could they be the soulmate who mends our heart? Could they be the financial advisor who makes us rich? Could they be “the one”?

David’s story reminds us that there is only one who is “the one.” Placing our hopes in the wrong one will eventually and inevitably lead to disappointment and anger. Placing our hopes in Christ, however, will lead to salvation and peace. He is the one we’re looking for.

May 24, 2021 at 5:15 am Leave a comment

A Simple Thought from the Life of Steve Jobs

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” – Steve Jobs[1]

When I was in college, I worked as a DJ at the number one radio station in Austin.  It was a country station, owned by a former mayor of Austin, and operated by a general manager who seemed to have a knack for picking the next country hit and formatting the station in such a way to draw in thousands upon thousands listeners – even those far beyond the Austin city limits.  But then, in 1998, the station was sold to a large conglomerate that operated hundreds of stations across the country.  The changes to station came almost instantaneously.  The corporation set up several focus groups, asking listeners what they wanted out of a country station.  Changes to the format were then made accordingly.  And the ratings plummeted.  In fact, they were cut in half.

How could this have happened?  After all, the corporation was only listening to the listeners!  But then, the listeners stopped listening to the very things for which they asked!  Perhaps they should have taken a lesson from Steve Jobs:  “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

There has never been, nor will there probably ever be, anyone quite like Steve Jobs.  He revolutionized – quite literally – the way we interact not only with technology, but they way we interact with each other and our world.  The products he dreamed up are everywhere.  In fact, I have to chuckle to myself even as I type this blog.  I am typing it on my MacBook Pro.  On my desk, sits my iPhone, on which I have already texted and talked this morning, as well as my iPad, on which I read the news of Steve Jobs’ passing.

One of the secrets to Steve Jobs’ success seems to have been his ability to dream.  Rather than reacting to what people wanted, he dreamed of what could be.  He figured that if his dreams of what could be captured his imagination, they might capture the imaginations of others as well.  Indeed, Jobs often described his own creations as “magical.”  Now there’s a word that captures the human imagination!

Apple’s products have certainly captured my imagination.  Just three years ago, I did all my work on a PC.  Now, I do everything on Apple products. Why?  Because Steve Jobs cast a vision for me of a highly integrated system of devices that would increase my productivity and, of course, be a lot of fun to use!  This is something I would never have dreamed of for myself.  But I’m happy that somebody dreamed it for me – and for countless others.

People don’t know always what they need.  So someone must dream what people need for them.  Understanding this simple truth has served as a catalyst for many of the most visionary corporations in our world today.  It is also the simple truth of the gospel.  The fact of the matter is this:  On our own, we do not know what we need.  We do not know that we need a Savior.  As Jesus tells the Sadducees, a group of religious leaders who thought they knew God well, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29).  On our own, we cannot fathom the seriousness of our sinfulness.  On our own, we cannot confess the depth of our depravity.  On our own, we cannot recognize our requirement for a Redeemer.  This is why, rather than leaving us grappling to understand the desperate state of our wicked and wretched plight, God sends us Jesus to tell us what we need.  And what we need is simple:  We need Him.  And so Jesus gives us Himself on a cross to sanitize us from our sinfulness, destroy our depravity, and escort us into eternity.

Steve Jobs was a brilliant man.  And I am thankful for his life and his legacy.  But as great as his technological innovations may have been, they cannot save us.  They cannot save him.  Only Jesus can do that.  I hope you know that you need Him…even more than your iPad.

[1]Back To The Future At Apple,” Business Week (May 25, 1998).

October 6, 2011 at 8:48 am Leave a comment

Follow Zach

Enter your email address to subscribe to Pastor Zach's blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,141 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: