Wolverine

Now that’s a super hero, Wolverine from the Marvel Comics X-Men. For those of you who don’t know the story behind the hero, here it is.

James Howlett was born in Alberta, Canada, in the late 1880s, as the son of wealthy farm owners John and Elizabeth Howlett, though he is actually the illegitimate son of the Howlett’s groundskeeper, Thomas Logan. After a falling out, Thomas killed John right in front of young James, and in retaliation, James discovered he had retractable bone claws coming out of his fists and used them to kill Thomas, which is when he discovered the truth about him being his father. He flees with his childhood friend Rose and grows into adulthood with her and adopting the name “Logan”, only to accidentally kill Rose by stabbing her with his bone claws. Logan discovers that he appears to have some kind of healing abilities and decelerated aging, as he managed to serve in both world wars, even alongside Captain America. One day, he was discovered by a secret military program known as Weapon X who wanted to turn him into a living weapon, doing so by coating his skeleton with a nigh-indestructible metal alloy called Adamantium. The experiment was a success, proven as how Logan had given into his new-found animalistic instincts and slaughtered his way out of Weapon X. Now known as the Wolverine, a man named Charles Xavier discovered him and explained that he was a mutant, and that he was invited to join Xavier’s mutant team known as the X-Men, which he accepted.

Wolverine’s retractable bone claws, three on each hand, that are also coated in Adamantium, allows him to cut through almost anything. In one movie he kills a ninja before she knew she was dead. Wolverine’s strength, durability, and speed are noticeably much higher than that of a normal human being. He can fight for more than a day straight without tiring. Wolverine is very quick to anger and can often attack without warning. His aggressive nature has often gotten him into trouble and makes him unreasonable.

Wolverine is at least 137 years old, physically 42 years old; is 5’3” tall and weighs 300 pounds, due to his Adamantium skeleton.

I can just picture it. The Philistine and Israeli armies facing each other on opposite hills of a valley for battle. A giant of a man, nine feet all wearing a two hundred pound coat of chain mail steps from the ranks and shouts across to the Israelites, “Do you really need a whole army to settle this? I will represent my army and you send someone to represent you, and we shall settle this in single combat!” For forty days, twice a day, morning and evening, Goliath strutted before the armies if Israel waiting for someone to take him up on his challenge. But the armies were dismayed and frightened.

Now if the Bible were written like movies, you’d have seen Wolverine stand firm the first time the challenge was issued, and being quick to anger, put his arms down to his sides, extend his Adamantium claws to the ground, dragging them over the rocks, creating sparks as he charged Goliath, turning him into Philistine sushi, before he even knew he was dead.

But that’s the beauty of God’s Word. It is written to show us that with God, nothing is impossible. He can use every day folks like you and me to accomplish his purpose. Because the real story goes like this.

Men of the age twenty and older were conscripted into or volunteered to join the army. (Numbers 1:3 “From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to shall go forth to war in Israel ) David’s brothers were part of the army shaking in their boots before Goliath. One day David’s dad, Jesse, packed up a picnic basket of food and asked David to go see how the boys were getting along. So the very next morning David left the sheep in care of another shepherd and went off with the goodies for his brothers. When he got to the battlefield, he went off in search of his brothers. As he was talking with them, Goliath shouted his challenge again, and the solders ran away in fright. They asked David, “Have you seen the giant that insults the entire army of Israel? The king has also offered a huge reward, his daughter in marriage, and his whole family being exempt from paying taxes!”

Bible scholars estimate that men of ancient Israel were about 5’3” tall and weighed about 110 pounds. The Bible also says that David was a youth. As he was not in the army, he must have been under 20 years old.

So what does this young kid say? “Who is this heathen Philistine that is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” When David’s older brother heard this he insulted him (you can almost hear the snotty tone he is speaking with) “What are you doing here anyway? Aren’t you supposed to be home taking care of the sheep? I know what a cocky brat you are, you just came to see a battle.” (I’ll bet he regrets his words later!) (See 1 Sam 17-[TLB]) There is just too much about David’s response to his brother to unpack here, so I am saving this for my next post.

Meanwhile, someone told King Saul about what David was saying, and he was brought before him. David tells the king, “Don’t worry about this giant, I will take care of him.” And the Saul replies, “Don’t be ridiculous! How can a kid like you fight with a man like him? You are only a boy and he has been living in the army since he was a boy!”

Here comes the best part! David persisted! He tells the king that when he takes care of his father’s sheep, he has gone after lions and bears who have grabbed a lamb in its mouth and run off with it. David goes after it with a club, and takes the lamb from its mouth. If the critter turns on him, he grabbed them by the jaw, and clubbed it to death! A 5’3” 110 pound kid coming up against lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my! (Okay, that’s borrowing from Wizard of Oz, but it fits, right?)

He tells Saul, “I’ve done this to lions and bears and I will do this to the heathen Philistine who has defied the armies of the living God.” He further states, “The Lord who saved me from the claws and teeth of the lion and the bear will save me from this Philistine!”

Saul finally gives in and gave David his own army to wear to battle the giant. Saul would most likely have stood somewhere around 7’0″ as the Bible describes him as being head and shoulders above all the people. This armor is way too big for David who exclaims he could hardly move in it, and took it off.

David then walked to a stream, picked up five smooth stones and put them in his pouch and went off with his shepherd’s staff and sling. Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer in front of him, sneering in contempt at this nice little red-cheeked boy! “Am I a dog,” he roared, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. “Come over here and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals.”

Benson’s Commentary of 1 Sam. 17:40-41 states “He took his staff — His shepherd’s staff. These arms (weapons) in themselves were contemptible, yet chosen by David, because he had no skill to use other arms; because he had inward assurance of the victory, even by these weapons; and because such a conquest would be more honorable to God, and most shameful and discouraging to the Philistines.”

And just when you think it can’t get any better, it does! David shouts back with, “You come to me with a sword and a spear, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of angel armies and of Israel—the very God whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you and I will kill you and cut off your head; and then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know there is a God in Israel! And Israel will learn that the Lord does not depend on weapons to fulfill his plans—he works without regards to human means! He will give you to us!”

Wow, that last part is pretty much rubbing the noses of the frightened soldiers in it, isn’t it?

Goliath approaches, and David ran out to meet him! No need fear with God on your side! Writers in Hollywood couldn’t make this stuff up! A 5’3” kid runs out to meet a 9′ tall giant with nothing but a sling and smooth stones! David took a stone from the bag, hurled it from his sling, and it hits Goliath in the forehead, where the stone sank in. Goliath probably hit the ground before he even knew he was dead.

Now I know David is no Wolverine. As a matter of fact, David’s powers are much greater than anything humanly, or X-Men mutantly possible, because God, the Lord of angel armies does not depend on human weapons to fulfill His purposes. As the One who created everything, nothing is impossible for Him. He can use you, just like he did a nice little red-cheeked boy, You just need to be persistent with a giant sized faith in God! A much better super hero awaits in us all. Tap into it by the power of the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to be a Wolverine, you can just step into who God made you to be!

And best of all, no heavy armor or yellow Spandex suit necessary!

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