Oct23WedOctober 23, 2013
"David 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..." - 1 Samuel 17:45a
As hockey seasons go by we can all say we have played with some great and not so great teammates. Most of us know what makes a teammate a good one. But, to refresh our minds and get a clear picture, spend 5-10 minutes thinking about past or current teammates and what makes them special.
I want to look at a guy from the Bible that I believe would have been a pretty amazing person to have on your team. His name is David. He would be the guy I’d like to suit up with. Now, let’s get one thing straight….there is no such thing as THE perfect teammate. We all make mistakes on and off the ice. I have never played a perfect game and have never seen anyone do it either. David was no different with regards to mistakes in his life, but I want to focus on David’s positive character traits. He had many, but here are three that might help you see why he’d be such an asset on your team.
There might be nothing worse than being a healthy scratch or having to sit on the bench for an entire game or an entire season. Your role becomes more of an encourager and it is tough to stay positive. It’s certainly not glamorous, but sometimes it’s the coach’s plan for you whether you agree with it or not. David found himself in a similar situation when his people went to war against their arch rivals, the Philistines. We read in 1 Samuel 16:18 that David was “a brave man and a warrior” at the ripe old age of 18! People throughout the land knew of David’s abilities before the war even started, yet we find David away from the battle field. He was left at home to take care of his father’s herds and sheep. There is no record of David grumbling or complaining about staying home while his brothers and fellow Israelites went off to war. He was actually sent to the battlefield by his father, but it was only so he could deliver bread and cheese to his brothers.
So, essentially David was a healthy scratch, a water boy, and somebody looking in from the outside of the “team”. Despite all of this, he was obedient and did what his father asked. Hockey coaches like players who listen to the game plan. You may not be on the first power play unit let alone dressing for the game, but he has the game plan. If one player decides he doesn’t want to follow the plan, it’s tough to be successful and even tougher to play with someone that wants to do their own thing. David’s personality certainly suggests that he was ready and willing to battle, but it simply wasn’t God’s plan for him to get involved; at least not yet.
Now fearlessness may not be the right word because David, like all people, experienced fear in his life. The great thing about David was that he relied on the Lord to bring him out of these fearful situations. In hockey there are lots of intimidating factors, but a great teammate always rises above the fear and anxiety of a tough, physical game.
When David went to the battlefield to deliver food to his brothers he could see there was one Philistine soldier standing out in the open taunting the entire Israelite army. The soldier’s name was Goliath and when he was finished with his speech the Bible says that King “Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified” (1 Samuel 17:11). This Philistine wanted Israel to send out their best man and they would settle the war in a one-on-one fight. Guess who volunteered? While everyone was terrified, David said to Saul the king of Israel, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him” (1 Samuel 17:32). Now that is impressive for a young man to be so brave, but here is the crazier part; Goliath was a Giant! Picture an 18 year old boy fighting a trained warrior 3 feet bigger than Zdeno Chara.
It should come as no surprise that Goliath was not overly impressed with the “soldier” that Israel sent out to fight him, but David still remained confident. David told Goliath, “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands…” (1 Samuel 17:45,46). David was fearless because he had the one true God on his side. God is able to remove fear and anxiety in our lives if we yield to his Spirit and trust in Him. David was willing to do what no one else was willing to do because he trusted in God.
In hockey I think blocking shots is one of the most fearless aspects of the game. You may have had teammates that would do anything not to block a shot. You may have also had guys that were willing to dive face first in front of a slap shot if it meant helping the team. They knew there was always a possibility of getting hurt, but it wasn’t just about them; it was about the team. David was that kind of teammate! To top it all off, he defeated Goliath with a single rock shot out of a sling. This sent the Philistines running and gave the victory to Israel.
After this event David, became extremely popular among the people. He was rewarded with a high ranking position in the army. He became so successful King Saul started to worry that David would become too powerful and take over the throne. Soon, Saul decided that enough was enough and he needed to kill David. Saul would later spend much of his life chasing after David and his men. I’m sure you can relate to opponents like this. The guy who is always all over you. The guy constantly taking cheap shots when the ref turns his back. The player always in your ear. A player who seems to be first on the scene every single time you touch the puck. It can get very frustrating and sometimes your natural response is to take a swing or a chop at them. Obviously that is never part of a team’s game plan to lose your cool and just react when the opportunity is there. For David, King Saul wasn’t just looking to “get him off his game.” Saul was looking to kill David. David was on the run and it seemed like everywhere he went, Saul was there to meet him.
Except for one time when David and his men were hiding deep inside a cave when Saul came inside. He wasn’t able to see David and his men in the dark and his back was turned….a perfect opportunity for David! He had a chance to get him. Saul would never see him coming. However, David realized that this was not God’s plan. God didn’t want David to kill Saul. He was able to exercise unbelievable self control. In fact, he went up to him and cut the corner off of Saul’s robe. Once Saul left the cave David came out and said to him: “This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you” (1 Sam. 24:10a).
David was sticking to the game plan and while it may have felt good at the time, it would have been harmful to David and his “team” in the long run if he did take his swing at Saul.
So, because of David’s selflessness, fearlessness, and self-control; I think he would make a great teammate. I can’t guarantee his vision on the ice would be the best, but he would be someone who would battle with you to the very end…all for God’s glory.
Check back every Wednesday for more lessons from other characters in the Bible!!