Mary Roper - Preserving the Lamb - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia Convention - 2016

I Samuel 17:32-37, “And David said to Saul, 'Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.' And Saul said to David, 'Thou art not able to go against Philistine to fight with him; for thou art but a youth and he is a man of war from his youth.' And David said unto Saul, 'Thy servant kept his father’s sheep and there came a lion and a bear and took a lamb out of the flock. And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth, and when he arose against me I caught him by his beard and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant’s slew both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defiled the armies of the living God.' David said, 'More so ever the Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.' And Saul said unto him, 'David, go and the Lord be with thee.'” 48-49, “And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took thence a stone, and slang it and smote the Philistine in his forehead that the stone sunk into the forehead; and fell upon his face to the earth.”

I really enjoyed this story because it has a great lesson in it for me. David knew what it was to have a secret victory so he could have a public victory. He faced the lion and he faced the bear, and he preserved the life of the Lamb. How willing and how far are you prepared to go to preserve the life of the Lamb? When you were born again, there was a little life came into your heart and that is the life of the Lamb.

There was a man paralysed with fear and that fear went to the army of Israel, and that army of Israel represented the God of heaven and they were paralysed with fear. If we don’t find the secret victory, we will be paralysed just like these people were, and just like the army was. There is a secret battlefield and every individual here knows a relationship with God and has a secret battlefield. It is a battlefield in the heart, and in the mind, and in the soul. And it is on that battlefield that some of the greatest battles have been fought. That is a place of victory or defeat. If I don’t find the victory there, I will not find victory over Goliath.

I admire young people that fight the battle and get the victory, and I admire people my age group that fight the battle and know the victory. I really admire those that have faced the battle for years and years and know victory. If we want to know a public victory, we need to know a secret victory. Where the lion and the bear are faced, the Lamb is preserved. Saul did not know victory in that place, so he knew defeat on the battlefield.

I went to I Samuel 13 and yesterday, I was talking about what Satan does when he sifts us, takes out what is of value and leaves what is of no value, and Saul is such a great example of what Satan wants to do in our lives. There was a point where Saul knew the blessing of God and the spirit of God, but Satan began to work, and little by little what was of value was sifted out. And as you read that chapter, you will see that Satan sifted out humility and all that was left was pride. When God works in our heart, our heart has to humble itself, but if Satan works the first thing to go is a spirit of humility and all that is left is pride.

Chapter 14, Satan sifted out faith, and what was left was just fear. Saul began to think of his own thinking and his own commandments and it just bought fear into the children of Israel.

Chapter 15, Satan sifted out the simple obedience of a child, and what was left was the bitterness of rebelling. Satan would like to tell us we do not need to obey, and it just leaves bitterness.

Chapter 16, tells us about God removing His Holy Spirit and what was left was human strength and that was defeat, and it was all because Saul never fought the secret battle. Saul never faced up to Saul and there was a massive defeat in his heart. We have a battlefield and we need to face ourselves.

I had a companion in one of my first years in the work and she would pray that God would help her fight an honest battle and I wondered what she meant. We can go out and fight a dishonest battle, and there are battles we do not want to win and we struggle and we are not honest within our heart. And if we are not honest in our heart, it slays the Lamb and not the lion. God wants us to fight an honest battle, and to be honest when no one else sees. People do not see into my heart and they do not know my problem, but I know and so does God.

I thought about the lion and the bear that David faced. It would take courage to go and face the lion and the bear, and David saved the lamb that the lion and bear took. And he would know it is important for the Lamb to feed and I know he was faithful in feeding the Lamb nature. He defended that Lamb with all his might and he was willing to face the lion and the bear. We all have lions in us and we have to face the lion. I do not like the lion in my nature, it is there and it is in everyone’s nature.

I thought of some of the lions that David faced so he could preserve the Lamb. I Samuel 18 is says that they sang and said, "Saul hath slain his thousands and David his ten thousands." That could have been the lion of pride for David. We all have that lion, and it is a big ugly lion. It doesn’t take very much to feed our pride. And we can get so puffed up. I want to slay that lion and Saul never knew the victory over that lion. If we have an offence against a brother or a sister, it is probably because we have never faced the lion in our nature.

A man in Canada was a professor at the University and also an assist to the minister of agriculture in the government. He had reason to hide that he was serving God, and he had risen to great heights in his career and one day, he had a massive stroke. And he was left without speech and he no longer kept either job, because he could not speak. He worked very hard to get some speech back and he mutters through his testimony now and it is so rich. That man was brought very low, and he gained some strength back and the time came when he had a massive heart attack, and his heart stopped and they got it going again and he lived. I went to see him in the hospital and he was telling me this story. And he said after the first stroke and pointing to his heart, he said, "Too much pride." And that he went on to tell about his heart attack and he said, "Had I died, it would have been okay," and I just love to think that man had dealt with the lion of pride in his nature, we all have it. It is a big ugly lion and I want to face it and I want to know victory.

David entered into a cave and Saul came in and did not know David and his men were in the cave. And David’s man said, "Now is your chance. God has delivered this man into your hands and you can slay him and you can know victory over your enemy." The lion of revenge is a ugly lion. And David knew it was not right and he went and cut a little piece off Saul’s robe and he knew that was not okay, the Lamb in him hurt that day. Because of what he did, and David knew victory over the lion of revenge and the Lamb lived. We can have those feelings in our heart and we can feel it is okay, but the Lamb nature will tell us it is not okay. We need to know a secret victory over the lion of revenge, because God will never bless that lion, God wants to bless the Lamb. Are we willing to slay the lion so the lamb could be preserved in our heart?

David faced the lion of anger. And the lion of anger is an ugly lion. And it will never preserve the life of the Lamb. If David had gone ahead with the plan to kill Nabal and his household it would have wounded the Lamb, not the lion. We all have anger in our nature and it is part of our nature. Let us face the lion and preserve the Lamb.

II Samuel 3, it tells us the house of Saul waxed weaker and weaker and the house of David waxed stronger and stronger. You need to face the lion of unbelief. It was many years that David fled from Saul, and it was not an easy journey, but it made David a rich man. David could have felt God knows and does God care and he could have had unbelief in his heart. David knew someday God will deal with this situation. I wonder have we slayed the lion of unbelief to preserve the life of the Lamb. Unbelief raises its ugly head in so many ways, slay the lion and preserve the Lamb.

There was a time in David’s experience and in II Samuel 11, he faced the lion of his flesh and that is when he sinned. He took Bathsheba and he did wrong and he tried to cover it. You know the lion of the flesh is so strong, that it wounded the Lamb and it wounded the Lamb nature.

Psalm 51, it was lovely to see the repentance in David’s heart and the restoration that came when he faced the lion. And we all need to face the lion of our flesh and it is strong. We want to face the lions and the bears that are in us and you want to slay them and put them away and we want to preserve the little life of the Lamb. May we fight an honest battle and keep the Lamb alive and know the blessing of God. Amen.