It is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves

All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.
1 Samuel 17:47 (NIV)

Read:  1 Samuel 17:32-53

Consider:  Most people have heard the story about David and Goliath.  David, an Israelite shepherd boy and Goliath, the champion of the Philistine army.  David was young, while Goliath was a seasoned warrior.  We know from the Bible that Goliath was exceptionally tall (1 Samuel 17:4).  While we do not have a record of David’s height, we do know how Goliath regarded him: He [Goliath] looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him (17:42).

We know from this passage that David triumphed over Goliath, but the story is not just about the little guy (the underdog) overcoming the big guy (the champion).  David acknowledged that while he might be younger, smaller and less experienced than Goliath, he had one major advantage; he trusted in God for victory.  When Goliath mocked David he replied: ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied (17:45).  While Saul and his men cowered at the sight of Goliath, David heard God’s name being defamed.  This caused him to exclaim: Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God? (17:26).

Goliath was self-confident in his strength and the Philistine army was confident that Goliath would win against anyone who came up against him.  Earlier Goliath had challenged anyone from the Israelite army to one-on-one combat and whoever won, the other side had to serve and be subject to the victors (17:8-9).  He issued his challenge every day for forty days (17:16).  This means that Saul and his fellow Israelites heard this challenge many times and all they felt was fear.  When David arrived in the camp and heard Goliath’s challenge, he felt righteous indignation that God was being defied in this way.  It must have been embarrassing for Saul and the army to hear a mere boy say he would fight Goliath.

What are we to learn from this passage.  Firstly, arrogance that sets itself up against God is doomed to failure.  Secondly, fear can take your focus off God, who will ultimately be victorious.  Thirdly, victory is not based on a person’s strength, or how well they are armed.  Lastly, while anger is frowned upon by God, it is proper to feel righteous indignation when you hear God being defamed, or his name being used as a swear word.

Pray: Father, give us a heart that feels righteous indignation when we hear people denigrating you, or using your name as a swear word.  Forgive us for the times when we have allowed these things to wash over us, rather than taking a stand for you.  Amen

Every blessing

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