Fire in my Bones Youth for Jesus

Title: Before you risk your life|Fire in my bones

Date: October 18, 2023|Series: Youth for Jesus|Number: Vol. 6, No. 23

“Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his father’s family from taxes in Israel.” David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” They repeated to him what they had been saying and told him, “This is what will be done for the man who kills him.”” (1Sam 17:25-27NIV)

From our opening bible text, we see that one of the reasons David was very much interested in fighting Goliath was the reward offered by King Saul. Yes, of course, he wanted his nation to be rid of the shame that Goliath had brought upon them, threatening them for forty days and making their army look weak and worthless. But he was also interested in what he would gain, if he risked his life to save his country.

Now was anything wrong with that? No! Nothing is wrong with wanting something in return for being patriotic or faithful to our nation, family or organisation. It all depends on what we want in return. We may not want money, a position or the praise of people in return for our patriotism. But even if all that we want is a better standard of living for others, it is still something.

In like manner, nothing is wrong with wanting something in return for helping others or being good to them. It all depends on what we want in return for it. We may not want their money, praise or respect. But even if all we want is to simply see them live better lives or if all we want is God’s praise, it is still something. So, don’t ever say that you don’t want anything for being patriotic or for living a righteous or generous life. That is because we all always want something for whatever we do.

What we want, however, is what will show whether God is the one inspiring us to do what we do or the devil.Well, in David’s case, as I pointed out earlier, one of his reasons for risking his life to fight Goliath was the reward promised by King Saul. King Saul had promised to give his daughter in marriage to anyone who fought and defeated Goliath and to also exempt the person’s family from national taxes.

That, of course, must have sounded very good in the ears of the boy David And since he knew that he was anointed by God to handle such a situation, he did not hesitate at all to take it up. What David, however, did not think carefully about before risking his life in that manner was the character of the man who promised to reward him, that is, King Saul. Was Saul a man of his word? Or was he someone that would say anything to get some relief or peace when under pressure? Thankfully, for David, the reward for killing Goliath was not his main motivation for risking his life to fight him.

The deliverance of his people was his main motivation. Otherwise, he probably would have lost his mind after the whole show and told himself never to fight for Israel again. Why? Saul did not keep his word at all. He did not give David his daughter’s hand in marriage. On the contrary, David had to do the dirty job of killing two hundred Philistines and supplying their foreskins in order to pay the bride price for Saul’s daughter, Michal (1Sam 18:18-27).

Now since Saul did not freely give David the hand of his daughter in marriage, it is safe to also assume that he did not exempt his family from taxes in Israel. Why? Did he forget his promise, one that was reiterated in the ears of all the soldiers of his army and also documented for future generations to read? No! Or was it because he later became jealous of David and did not find it convenient again to reward him as his rival? No!What, then, was the problem with Saul? Why did he not fulfil his promise to David? The simple reason was that he was not actually a man of character.

A man of character would keep his word any day and any time, even if it is his enemy that he is dealing with or even if it is something that will eventually bring him distress. And that is because reputation means a lot to him. Herod executed John the Baptist at the request of Herodias’ daughter. He did not like to do it. He did not want to do it, for he knew that he would be killing an innocent man. Yet he killed him. Why? His reputation was everything to him. He had sworn an oath to give anything the girl wanted to her. And he had to keep his word to her, though it hurt him to do so.

If King Saul, then, had been anything like Herod, as far as reputation matters are concerned, he also would have done the needful in David’s case – he would have given him the reward he had promised. (Cf. Mark 6:17-28)

What is the point of all this? Well, first, it is that we should always see that our motivation for being patriotic or for helping others is rooted in the will of God. In other words, we should be patriotic, generous and helpful to others basically because we want to please God and not because of the reward of men. Otherwise, the reward of men that we are looking forward to may never come or be satisfactory, even if it comes.

Second, we should always consider the character of anyone we are dealing with before we start risking our lives for them. Some have been seriously injured along this line. They sold their properties, gave up well-paying jobs or borrowed huge sums of money to assist some family members, spouses, friends, lovers or even church members in their moment of need. And they got all kinds of promises on how they would be repaid or rewarded for what they did. Unfortunately, none of the promises made to them was kept because those who made them had no character.

So, they were left stranded and dejected. And there have been stories of those who took their own lives or who became deadly monsters because of such things.So, before you start risking your life or giving up your life savings for anybody, be sure you know them well. There can’t be assumptions or guesses here. And you can’t be acting on sentiments here. Otherwise, you may someday terribly regret your actions.

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