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Devotion 2 - 14 Oct 2012

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1 Samuel 29:5 - “Saul has struck down his thousands, but David his ten thousands.”

“Your Reputation Precedes You…”

In 1 Samuel 29:5 we read of the Philistine leaders quoting a song in reference to David when they say, “Saul has struck down his thousands, but David his ten thousands.” Now this was a song first sung by the women of Israel when David returned from slaying Goliath. It was a song of praise and adoration for a boy who did what a king could not. David stood bravely and defeated Goliath while Saul, the mighty king, buckled at the knees and cowered in fear.

And at this we should see clearly just how remarkable it is that the Philistine leaders were quoting this song; for Goliath was one of them. Goliath was the hero of the Philistine army, the one in whom they trusted for their victories, yet a young shepherd boy had defeated him and scattered them. And here they are, perhaps years later, not only aware of this shepherd boy’s reputation, but also able to quote a song that extols his praise. Talk about ‘your reputation preceding you’… David’s certainly did!

Someone once said: “The two most precious things this side of the grave are our reputation and our life. But it is to be lamented that the most contemptible whisper may deprive us of the one, and the weakest weapon of the other.”

I wonder how often we make decisions and take actions with this truth in mind. The fact is we all know it to be true, we have all either been held to a reputation that preceded us or we have held others to theirs. Yet we tend to not think about this reality much.

The challenge of this one verse from 1 Samuel 28 lies in the reminder of just how important it is to keep in mind that our reputations will inevitably precede us; in David’s case it was a glorious and praiseworthy reputation (so much so that even his mortal enemies were able to quote songs of his greatness). The question for us to ponder today is a deeply thought provoking one; when others – friends or enemies – hear our names, what is the reputation that precedes us? Is it one that brings glory to Christ and leaves people with nothing ill to say of us? For this is what it should be!

So let us strive today, and every day, to make decisions and take actions that will engender a positive, preceding reputation… Because our reputations will always precede us.

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