“A Lesson From Killing A Bear”

November 8, 2017

Waterville bridge over Swatara Creek 11/7/17
Yesterday we took a hike along the Appalachian Trail in Swatara State Park. This bridge was  built in 1890 as a vehicle bridge in Lycoming County and was too narrow for modern use. In the 1980’s it was dismantled, repaired, moved and rebuilt to provide a crossing for the Appalachian Trail over Swatara Creek.

“A Lesson From Killing A Bear”

Message summary: Consider experiences in your life that may seem somewhat inconsequential, often the smaller things. But your diligence and faithfulness in encountering the smaller things prepares you for life’s “Goliath moments”.

ListenListen to our message on your audio player.

“But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine'” (1 Samuel 17:34-37).

Phil Huber with bearDuring hunting season here in Pennsylvania often an employee will excitedly show me a photo of his (or her) trophy. Normally it will be a deer, ideally with a large set of antlers. But yesterday Phil Huber shared a photo of a bear he had bagged in northern Pennsylvania, Potter County, during archery season, a rare and special feat for any hunter. He will have his trophy mounted as a wall covering for his hunting camp. He already has one on his office wall!

Often observations and events of life prompt the consideration of a Bible passage or spiritual concepts. I got to thinking of bears in the Bible and today’s passage from the account of David and Goliath came to mind. The entire account is found in 1 Samuel 17.

David was the youngest son of Jesse and had come out to the battle lines with some food for his three older brothers who were in the army; Eliab, Abinadab, and Shamma. While there he heard the taunts of the mighty giant Goliath and and was primarily offended especially for God’s honor. He was determined to do something about it but was a terrible mismatch against the giant Goliath.

“David said to Saul, ‘Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.’ Saul replied, ‘You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth'” (1 Samuel 17:32,33).

It was at this point that we have our daily text: “But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine'” (1 Samuel 17:34-37).

David was alluding to his experience as a shepherd. In the course of protecting the flock he had killed a lion and a bear. He realized ultimately that this was a result of God’s hand and protection, “The Lord who rescued me.” He was confident the Lord “will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine”.

Consider experiences in your life that may seem somewhat inconsequential, often the smaller things. But your diligence and faithfulness in encountering the smaller things prepares you for life’s “Goliath moments”.

Dan Coats, current director of national intelligence, put it this way: “Character cannot be summoned at the moment of crisis if it has been squandered by years of compromise and rationalization…The only preparation for that one profound decision which can change a life…is those hundreds of half-conscious, self-defining, seemingly insignificant decisions made in private. Habit is the daily battleground of character.”

This week we have been referring to the church shootings in Texas. Now certainly the believers that gathered in the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs have faced a Goliath moment.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we prefer routine days where everything goes as planned and even that which we do not plan falls into place and serves us well. Rarely would we ask You to bring about a situation that would challenge us, test us, and drive us to our knees as we look to You for direction. But You do that anyway, for our good and for our growth, since faith that cannot be tested is faith that cannot be trusted. It’s in the testing of our faith that You also test our integrity and challenge us to live upright and godly lives, even when others are not looking. May we honor You in all that we do and in the way we serve others whom we influence from day to day. Amen.

Brooksyne’s Note: As I am hearing and reading stories about those who perished in the gun rampage in Sutherland Springs, and those who sought to stop the killer, the personality and integrity of these individuals comes to the forefront. We so often judge or gather impressions of people by where they work, the house they live in, the kind of family they were born into, their riches or lack thereof, their appearance and on and on the list goes. But when an individual is stripped of most or all of the above it is then that we can truly determine the kind of person he or she is, not what they do or what they have. The overriding message I am hearing about the people who gathered at First Baptist Church, including those who survived, is their love and dedication to Jesus and to their families. It’s family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors who are giving these godly profiles of the shooting victims. It reminds us that our witness is not just what we say but it’s also the life we live that makes a difference to those around us and to the world at large. Psalm 112:7b & 9b speaks of the righteous, “His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord….His righteousness endures forever.” May our desire to live a righteous life be a legacy we leave for others to talk of long after we depart this life.


Between Lebanon County chaplain visits yesterday we had planned to ride our bikes on a rail trail through Swatara State Park but it was just too cold and drizzly so we decided to walk instead. It just may be time to put our bikes away for the season!

Union Canal lock ruins near Swatara Creek 11/7/17
A remnant of a lock on the Union Canal built in the early 1800’s.

Examining Union Canal lock ruins near Swatara Creek 11/7/17
Examining a lock remnant along the Union Canal with Swatara Creek in the background.
Location on Google map

Waterville bridge over Swatara Creek 11/7/17
Waterville Bridge is also known as the AT (Appalachian Trail) Bridge. We have walked on various paths of the Appalachian trail through the years and, although it generally follows the ridges, it occasionally has to cross creeks and rivers. We have walked over several AT bridges. The crossing over the Delaware Water gap has pleasant scenery but is very noisy since it shares with the I-80 bridge (photo). A beautiful section in Virginia crosses the James River at the northern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway (Photo).


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

“What You Leave Behind”  Video  The Talleys

“Didn’t I Walk On the Water”  Video  Fresh Anointing

“Time Machine”  Video  The Browders

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