Jim Denison on the Power of the Past to Change the Future

The University of Georgia hosted Arkansas State in a football game on Saturday. Georgia was ranked third in the nation; Arkansas State was not expected to make the score close. In fact, Georgia won 55–0.

However, what mattered most to many watching the game was not the competition on the field but the apparel worn by spectators in the stands. The stadium was filled with Georgia fans wearing not their traditional red and black but bright pink.

This was in honor of Wendy Anderson, the wife of Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson. Wendy died on August 19 from breast cancer.

A Georgia alumnus named Dwight Standridge tweeted out a call to his fellow Bulldog fans on Tuesday, asking them to wear pink to the game. He told reporters that he lost his mother to ovarian cancer when she was just thirty-seven years of age. “If you’re not affected by cancer personally, you know somebody who is,” he added.

Coach Anderson tweeted after the game:

HOW DID DAVID KILL GOLIATH?

One of the most famous stories in history is the battle between David and Goliath. Most people can tell you how the giant was killed: the shepherd boy hit him in the forehead with a rock from a slingshot.

Except, that’s not actually how the Philistine died.

First Samuel 17 tells us that after David hit Goliath with a stone and the giant “fell on his face to the ground” (v. 49), “David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it” (v. 51). David had no sword of his own (vv. 38–40), so he killed Goliath with the Philistine’s sword.

Fast-forward four chapters.

David is on the run from King Saul and needs help. He comes to Nob, a city near Jerusalem where the tabernacle is located. He seeks the aid of a priest named Ahimelech, looking for “a spear or a sword” (1 Samuel 21:8).

The priest replies, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here” (v. 9a).

David answers, “There is none like that; give it to me” (v. 9b).

WHAT PAUL CAN TEACH US ABOUT THE PAST

Dwight Standridge rallied a stadium and made national headlines by using his past tragedy to effect present action and future change. David employed a weapon from his past to wage battles in the future.

God is especially good at using our past in ways we would never have imagined. The Apostle Paul is Exhibit A.

His scholarly training at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3) equipped him when he “proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews” (Acts 13:5). His engagement with Greek philosophy while growing up in Tarsus enabled him to cite Greek philosophers in engaging philosophers with the gospel (Acts 17:28, 34).

Paul’s Roman citizenship not only protected him from unlawful punishment (Acts 22:25); it also gave him the right to appeal to Caesar (Acts 25:11-12) and thus to bear witness in the capital city (Acts 23:11; 28:30).

Even Paul’s persecution of Christians was redeemed by God as the apostle’s sins convinced him that no one can be saved by observing the law (cf. Romans 3:20).

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Source: Christian Headlines