Friday, Aug 22nd

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Healing the Rejection Wounds Caused by Siblings

Sibling rivalry exist to some extent between all siblings. Many times sibling rivalry, however, turns into all-out abuse. Indeed, sibling rivalry sets children up to deal with issues of rejection. Let's take a look at David's relationship with his brothers to see if his brothers were jealous of the young lad. We can discern the attitudes of David's siblings toward him by how they treated him on the day he defeated Goliath.

As the chronicle goes, one day the Philistines assembled their armies to battle against Israel. The Philistines stood on one side of a mountain. Israel stood on the other side. Only a valley separated the archrivals. The Philistines presented their champion warrior named Goliath of Gath. His height was six cubits and a span. (That's over nine feet!) As Goliath approached the armies of Israel he mocked and challenged them. His voice was heard throughout the camp of Israel taunting,

"Why did you come out to set your battle in array? Am not I a Philistine, and you servants to Saul? Choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall you be our servants, and serve us."As if those words weren't clear enough, Goliath threw down the gauntlet, saying, "I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together" (1 Samuel 17:8-10).

Goliath was a formidable looking foe. The Word of God says, "When Saul and all Israel heard the words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid" (1 Samuel 17:11). But God had a young boy whom He had prepared for such a time. As we know, his name was David, the son of Jesse.

David had three brothers serving in King Saul's army. Their names were Eliab, the firstborn. Next to him there was Abinadab. The third was Shammah (1 Samuel 17:13). Knowing his sons were gathered at the battlefield, Jesse sent the young David to his brothers with gifts of food. Jesse also directed David to find out how his brothers were faring (1 Samuel 17:17-18). As David approached the battlefield he heard the railing voice of Goliath, the champion of the Philistines. This so stirred young David that he declared among the camp, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?" (1 Samuel 17:26).

David's older brother Eliab offered a frigid response to David. With utter scorn and contempt, Eliab asked David, "Why are you here? Where did you leave those few sheep?" Eliab did not receive or respect his little brother. In fact, he was angry. Eliab despised David all the more for showing up to the battle. It seems Eliab didn't want David anywhere near him.

David was severally rejected by his family. Could it be they remembered the visit from the Prophet Samuel who rejected them and anointed David to become king over Israel? Eliab continued badgering David: "I know your pride and the naughtiness of your heart. Did you just come to the battle to watch?" (1 Samuel 17:28). Eliab falsely accused David of having deceitful motives, pride, and apathy, none of which was an accurate de scri ption.

It must have been painful for David to be rejected by his oldest brother. After all, the younger sibling often looks up to and admires the older brother. David's reaction to Eliab's accusations came in the form of a question: "What have I done now?" David's question suggests his brothers were riding his case for some reason or another regularly.

If rejection has stung you, you must decide this: What others think of you is not as important as what God thinks of you. David's response to Eliab is something rejected people can learn from. David asked his brother, "Is there not a cause? And he turned from him toward another" (1 Samuel 17:29-30). Many of us will face false accusations from family members. David turned away from the rejection of his brother and stated his cause. Then he prophesied his future. Let's read this scripture.

"And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner. And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him. 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, You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for you are but a youth, and he 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 slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, 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 to David, Go, and the Lord be with thee" (1 Samuel 17:30-37).

Instead of taking his brother's accusations to heart, David focused on the big picture. There wasn't time for a self-centered pity-party. God's people were being challenged. David simply turned away from his brother's false accusations. Like David, people who face rejection must discipline themselves to turn away from false accusations and pity-parties. David never considered his brother's comments. If he had, he never would have defeated Goliath. God had prepared David for that moment in time. A new champion was about to be revealed to Israel. But he had to overcome rejection before he walked off the battlefield in victory. David took three clear steps to overcome the power of rejection. These steps are important insights for us. Let's review:

  • David turned away from his brother's false accusations and unto God's purpose.
  • David stated his cause and reason for living when he said, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that would challenge the armies of the living God."
  • David prophesied his future by decreeing, "Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God."

These three actions are powerful tools of freedom to those who suffer from rejection. Are you ready to turn away, state your cause, and prophesy your future? Are you ready for life after rejection? In the next chapter we learn that rejection by a spouse can be one of the most painful events in life.

(c) Jonas Clark

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