It’s safer to take David’s side in a battle with Goliath.

by Charles Gardner.

Even on a short break in England’s stunning Lake District, I have been reminded once more of the ancient truth that if you bless the seed of Abraham, a blessing will return on your own heads (Genesis 12:3).

In effect, it all comes down to whether you’re on the side of young David and his sling, or the armies of Goliath, the giant champion of the Philistines who lived in Gaza.

The young Jewish state, just 76 years old, is once more fighting an implacable enemy, and one of its defence weapons is known as ‘David’s sling’.

But as nations abandon Israel to her fate, there is a noticeable sense of Christians taking their stand with David, and even of the new atheism giving way to a rising hunger for a return to faith in Christ, who offers the only real hope amid a civilization collapsing in chaos.

As G K Chesterton put it over a century ago: “Christianity has died many times and risen again, for it had a God who knew the way out of the grave.”

On our way back from an inspiring retreat with our church, we stopped for two nights with a special friend at Morecambe Bay, which affords a magnificent view of the blue mountains across the waters.

A seaside resort with a recent reputation of being past its best, things are now looking up in the town where God is even at work resurrecting a derelict 170-year-old church building on the promenade.

Photo by Linda Gardner

An unimposing brick edifice piled high with junk inside looked ready for the bulldozers. But that was without reckoning on a determined young man from the other side of the world with a passion to spread the gospel of Jesus along with a love for the Jewish people who gave him to us.

Rev Brett Murphy, originally from Sydney, Australia, and his wife Kat, from Melbourne, had originally swapped the big cities Down Under for the pastures of Cumbria, near the Scottish border.

But after faithfully tending the flock under his care, he took the brave decision to leave the Church of England due to its accommodation with what he bluntly refers to as ‘sodomy’. He has instead joined the Free Church of England, coming under the worldwide banner of Anglicans who have distanced themselves from Canterbury in a bid to stay true to the Bible.

In doing so, he has joined many others disillusioned with a church leadership adapting to worldly culture rather than challenging it. As a friend of his has said, “If sin is OK, Jesus died for nothing.”

Starting from scratch just ten months ago, Brett has built up a significant congregation while praying for the right people to come and help him. One man, with a string of degrees from the Royal College of Music and who has played the organ at major cathedrals as well as the Royal Albert Hall, walked in off the street offering his services.

The organ was evidently irreparable, requiring £750,000 to replace it. But he is managing, with his son, to bring it back to life, free of charge, and is currently teaching four youngsters how to play the instrument. It now has an impressive sound and Dr Colin Parsons was happy to give me a recital of its renewed capabilities.

Also offering his services, seemingly out of nowhere, was a professor and former missionary to India who has already started teaching Hebrew with the intention of developing a theological seminary there.

Brett is clearly being blessed with his efforts to restore the honour of Jesus to this seaside town as he also identifies with the people of Israel.

Back at the church retreat to which I referred earlier, Steve Lancaster, who has led many tours of Israel over the years, told how he was trapped with a tour party in Bethlehem on October 7th when the Gaza war broke out in response to the massacre of Jews near the border. It was a frightening experience watching the vapour trails doing U-turns in the sky and wondering how he was going to get his people to safety.

But his reference to Bethlehem was to emphasize the point of all the sessions he was leading – that the world will know we are Christ’s disciples when they see how we love one another (John 13:34f).

The UK Director of Bible translators Word for the World, Steve told of a widely reported incident involving Bethlehem priests literally fighting one another over supposedly trespassing on each other’s section of the Church of the Nativity, said to have been built on the site where Jesus was born.

He contrasted this with the extraordinary response of Northern Ireland’s Gordon Wilson to the Enniskillen bombing of 1987 in which his daughter Marie was among many killed by an IRA bomb. Gordon, who was injured himself in the atrocity, publicly forgave the perpetrators, giving the world a glimpse of the agape love unique to Christianity, Steve said.

Challenging born-again believers to show the world what this kind of love is all about, he reminded us of the need for Pentecost, for only a Holy Spirit empowering will enable us to do it.

Come Holy Spirit! It’s what the Church needs for resurrection power and to guide us into all truth, including much-neglected love for the very people who gave us Jesus.