We all have heroes in the Bible for one reason or another – their character, their faith, their selfless nature, and many other reasons why we look to them for inspiration. We see in them something we aspire to be. Perhaps they have done something that is out of the ordinary. They challenge us to do or to be something more. Quite often they have done something we would call an exploit. The dictionary definition of an exploit is “a bold or daring feat”. It stands out. We love to hear the stories of people who have taken that bold move. They dared to believe.
David is one such character. Most of us, if not all of us, are aware of David. Even from our early childhood we are told the story of David and Goliath – the little boy against the giant. We know he was younger than 20 because he had not gone to war. He had been looking after his father’s sheep whilst his brothers were at the front with King Saul. Saul was a man of great physical stature – he was no small cookie – chosen by the people for the people because he was head and shoulders above the rest. It is strange who people pick and who God picks!
The children of Israel were up against their arch enemy the Philistines. Both nations in full battle array camped on either side of the valley. Daily the Philistines taunted Israel. Goliath would come out and shout his challenge. For forty days he did this with no response from God’s people.
David arrives on the scene sent by his father to take provisions to his older sons who were at war. Maybe it was his first chance to look at a battlefield and he would be full of excitement and trepidation at the same time. David was taken aback at what was going on. Why were they allowing this Philistine to taunt God’s chosen people? Why had someone not risen to the challenge? The proverb says “cometh the hour cometh the man.” Being a man has nothing to do with age, it is about seizing the moment, stepping up to the plate, stepping into the faith space with God. Something in David rose up. He knew His God, and he knew God had been there in the fields when he was tending his sheep. He knew that God had enabled him to prevail against the bear and lion. He had learned to hear the still small voice in his worship times alone with God as a young boy composing psalms to God. I wonder when he wrote Psalm 23? Could it have been as that young boy in those fields over Bethlehem, I wonder? Anyway, he knew His God, and he knew that God was not going to let him down now.
Interestingly, the Bible doesn’t tell us that he had a word from God or that he went away and sought God on it or that he fasted for 40 days to get up strength. Not that any of those things are wrong. But here with the moment and the challenge before him, he knew His God and how He had been faithful in the past and that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Goliath was just the next step on the faith ladder. I wonder how Goliath looked in David’s eyes? A giant or an opportunity for God to be exalted? Remember the twelve spies that went into the promised land to spy it out. All twelve saw the same things yet ten of them saw themselves as grasshoppers at the sight of the giants in the land. Only two saw the opportunity that “with God all things are possible”. We know how that one ended – it took 40 years of wandering to sort that one out.
David took the bold move, he stepped up with God, into the faith space, knowing that He was with him and if God was for him no-one or nothing could stand against him! This is not a story of the underdog winning. David was never the underdog, he was always going to win. The odds were never against David. In fact Goliath never stood a chance. David was never man’s choice for the job, but he was God’s choice. God had seen David’s heart in the secret place. When God anointed David to be king it was not because of his stature or his charisma but his character. He knew His God and His God knew him.
Bill Hybels in his book Ax.i.om talks about creating a culture of bold moves.
“These days, we use it to describe courageous, high-risk plans that God might just use in a major way. Recently I heard a Creeker (my term of endearment for a participating member of Willow Creek) telling one of my colleagues that he was trying to get all twenty of his senior executives to come with him to our annual leadership summit. My wide eyed colleague simply said “Bold Move!”
Once you label something in a culture, you give it identity, you legitimise it, and in so doing, increase its likelihood that you’ll see that behaviour on an ever increasing basis. Why? Because people become organisational heroes when they exhibit it!
As the years went by, my team mates and I have begun to notice that the primary reason we were making significant progress as a church was that we had enough people making “bold moves.” They were thinking fresh thoughts, pioneering cool new programmes, and trusting God to accomplish significant kingdom-building activity in their midst.”
He goes on to say.
“What has been true for us is true for you too: you will never take big hills without making bold moves. The alternative is incrementalism, which is dangerous and often deadly to organisations. Incrementalism says, “hey, let’s increase the effectiveness of our current efforts by 2 per cent a year but then expect a huge increase in effectiveness to occur sometime in the future!” That seldom works.
Incrementalism and innovation make terrible bed fellows.
Make a few bold moves, or you’ll breathe your last leadership breaths far too soon.”
As leaders how many “bold moves” do we make? How many times do we, like David, seize the opportunity before us because we know that God is with us, because we have taken the time to know God and therefore enter boldly into that place with Him?
So here’s the question “what is it that holds you back from taking that next step or making that next bold move for Jesus?”