Written by: Nico Bougas
Article source: JOY! Magazine
One of the best known Bible stories is that of David and Goliath. To set the scene, the Philistines were always a thorn in the side of the Israelites, and again they were attacking the Israelites. It was a fairly common practice in those days to avoid the high cost of battle, and to pick two combatants to slug it out – this avoided great bloodshed because the winner of the fight was considered the winner of the battle. That is a smart way to conduct a war, particularly if you have a giant on your side.
We are more than conquerors
In one sense, this is how our spiritual battles are won. We don’t have to fight. There is another that fights for us. As Moses said to the people, “Stand still and see the salvation of your God” – Exodus 14.13. We do not have the strength to fight the giants that would oppose us. But through Him we are more than conquerors. What are the giants that stand against you in your life. What are those large looming obstacles that seem too big for you to conquer? You may feel inadequate and incapable of defeating the giants in your life, but you are on the victory side. So no matter what the opposition, no matter what the obstacles you face, the mountains you have to climb, or the wall you have to scale – you are assured of victory.
We have to fight the battle ourselves
But in another sense, we are always called upon to fight our battles on an individual basis. We must meet the enemy head on. We cannot rely on our parents, or pastor, or friends. When the Israelites saw Goliath they cringed. He was huge, well over 2.5 metres tall. He had a coat that looked as if it must have weighed at least 100 kgs, bronze leggings, and a bronze helmet as big as a peck basket. He also had a javelin as big as a weaver’s beam, with an iron spearhead that must have weighed 12 kgs by itself.
How it all began
His armour bearer walked before him. He looked like a dwarf with the size of the huge shield he was carrying and the size of the giant behind him. The giant raised his arms in the air. Everyone went quiet very suddenly. “Do you need a whole army to settle this?” he bellowed. The silence was even greater. “Choose you a champion. Send him out here. We will settle this in a single combat.” No one dared answer him. No one moved. “If your champion is able to kill me – you win.” He shouted. “But if I kill him – we win. And you will be our slaves.” Not a man dared answer him. He waited a moment, then he turned on his heel and stalked back again, his armour bearer retreating behind him, walking backwards. Everyone sighed with relief. This went on day after day for 40 days.
Going against God
So here was this huge giant strutting to and fro in all his pride and arrogance, defying the armies of Saul. But if you look at the other side of the valley you see a pathetic picture. Although this was God’s people and they were in a covenant relationship to Him, the battle was lined up in territory that actually belonged to Judah, in a place that rightfully belonged to the people of God, yet here was Goliath breathing out his defiance.
Goliath – a picture of satan
Goliath was a striking picture of satan and his power. He may not strut around in armour like Goliath, but he is impressive and far too powerful for any human being. Today you will find a modern satan who seems irresistible, arrayed in all kinds of fascinating garbs. There is modern education, modern literature and philosophy, moral liberty, and the interfaith movement. You will find satan defying the people of God in all these things that are so alluring and tremendously powerful. Satan may be powerful, and his power should never be underestimated, but we should never allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by him. We should never feel outnumbered or inferior to the world. Remember, “The Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” – 1 John 4:4.
The Christian Church
On the other side of the valley is the professing Christian church. It is absolutely helpless to do anything about the powers of darkness arrayed against them. The Church today is very largely well-equipped and well-organised. The battle is set in array, everything is planned, but when it comes to facing the enemy, we are fighting a losing battle. We have tried to imitate the world in order to win its approval. As Warren Wiersbe said, “The Church does the most for the world when the Church is least like the world. Where was the Israeli leader, where was their king Saul? Where was he when they needed his encouragement and motivation? He, like all the other people of his nation, was dismayed and greatly afraid. Why was he so frightened? His reaction is so different from when he first started out as king and rallied the people together to help the people. Then he had moved with courage because the Spirit of God was upon him. Now Saul was out of touch with God, he was unable to draw on the power and motivation of God.
A time of anxiety
Time dragged on and the Israelites continued in this state of tension and anxiety. It was the custom of the families to supply them with food. So Jesse sends David along with a packed lunch. He arrives at the battlefield. The excitement has reached fever pitch. Mostly it is fear. They have no one who can match the giant Goliath. The giant continues his taunts and insults. King Saul is desperate for a champion who can rescue the Israelites from the humiliation of subjection to the Philistines. He offers great rewards, and even his own daughter plus tax exemption.
Then came David
When David arrived on the scene, his eldest brother Eliab was furious. “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” – 1 Samuel 17:28. A soft answer turns away wrath. If David had got into a fight with his brother, he would never have taken on Goliath. The modern day Goliath often challenges the Church today because we spend too much time fighting amongst ourselves to be able to deal effectively with them. We don’t get on with the real business of fighting the enemy. We will never win the right victories if we are always fighting the wrong war, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, with the wrong enemy. Saul was convinced that David did not stand a chance, but there was no other alternative. David was the only one prepared to take on the giant.
Preparing for battle
Saul tried to load David down with armour. He did not understand that here was a man who had God’s hand upon him. We don’t need better organisations, more talent, more money, more equipment, bigger churches, better buildings, better facilities, or more training. What we need is the hand of God upon us. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labour in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” – Psalm 127:1.
Goliath was dumfounded and mortified
The Israelites were sending in an opponent with no protection, no shield bearer, no armour, no helmet – this was just a harmless youth. “Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the Name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” – 1 Samuel 17:45. Maybe in his anger and humiliation he threw down his helmet to the ground. His guard was down. Quick as a flash, David sprang into action. He wound up his sling and pierced the forehead of the giant who crashed to the ground, lifeless.
Prepared for this moment
David’s skill with the sling was not an inherited ability. He had no doubt spent many hours practicing out on the hillside while he was watching his father’s sheep, until he had become so proficient with the use of a sling that he could knock a bird out of the sky. The problems that you are facing right now are the lions and the bears. They are for you to practice on so you will grow strong. So when the giants come along, you will be prepared. Like David, you will be prepared through disciplined living and daily committing your life and serving God in the little things. Prepare yourself spiritually by living for God – witnessing for Him, spending time with Him, and in prayer and the study of His Word.
Are you in good shape?
Are you training for the great contests that lie ahead of you? Or when the giants do appear in your life, will you cringe away in dismay and terror? “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” – Romans 8:37. “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgement you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.” – Isaiah 54:7
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