FACING THE GIANTS
In 1 Samuel 17, we read the story of David and Goliath. It’s a story that many people will be familiar with. But what practical lessons we can learn, and how we can apply this to our lives and the world today? If we look at this story, there are some powerful analogies to be found.
Being far more than a children’s story, this account speaks of the collision of two kingdoms: the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan.
There are a number of times in the Scriptures that we witness dramatic encounters between these two kingdoms. We may think of the time of Moses and the exodus from Egypt, the plagues and the Red Sea. We may think of Joshua and Jericho – or Elijah on Mount Carmel. Then of course there is the Lord Jesus Himself and the many occasions when he confronted the kingdom of darkness, not least in his crucifixion and triumphant resurrection.
In all these events we see something of the nature of these two opposite kingdoms, and of the superiority of God’s kingdom over Satan’s. We may also learn something concerning our own time and of the conflict we face from day to day. Each of these historic events may teach us of the things God wants us to know and the victory He wants us to share.
We are living in a time when we are witnessing another great collision between God’s kingdom and Satan’s. The Bible makes it clear that Satan is the ruler of this world, and we can see this for ourselves if we just look around us. There has never been such an orchestrated attack on Christian morals and values in this nation as there is today. We are in a spiritual war like never before, and the story of David and Goliath has lessons to learn about fighting this war against what appear to be the ‘giants’ of today’s immoral and sinful society.
As we read in 1 Sam. 17 of the battle between David and Goliath we can first of all see that there are three principal characters who look very like three different groups of people today:
GOLIATH REPRESENTS THE WORLD
Firstly there is Goliath and the Philistines. They represent the world, or more specifically unredeemed, rebellious man. There is something about them which may be encompassed by the term, ‘The spirit of this age’.
There they stand, full of defiance and mockery, wilfully and arrogantly railing accusations upon God and His people. They represent man, in the fullness of self-power and self-glory.
This is the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil come to maturity. The pride of life looks down upon God from its own lofty height. The fullness of man seeks to be ‘as God’ and even to destroy all that is of God in his quest to have dominion on the earth.
As we look out upon the world today we can see Goliath if full flow. We can hear the challenges ringing out taunting, ‘Where is your God’ and the accusations pouring forth to belittle the Church and challenge her to war.
SAUL REPRESENTS THE WORLDLY CHRISTIANS
The second character in this story is King Saul and his army. This group represent the people of God, but they are those who remain under the dominion of the flesh. They may be Christians but they have a Secular not a Christian world-view. They are not Christ-centred. They have forgotten that ‘The earth is the Lords and the fulness thereof – the world and all that dwell therein’ (Psalm 24:1). They are hampered and held back by a belief that God is only interested in the ‘religious bits’ of life or that he is not much bothered by evil any more.
They are a defeated company. They are facing Goliath, understanding something of his threat, but they are fearful, intimidated and without anointing or strength from God.
How can the people of God find themselves in this kind of a situation and such a condition? The answer is, that although they are the people of God they are still ruled and controlled by the spirit of this world. They want to do things their way. They are under the dominion of King Saul, the dominion of the flesh.
They stand there in all their worldly armour. They are fitted out with everything that the world counts for something. They have their horses and chariots and weapons of flesh – and of course they have their king who stands so tall above the rest. They look just like all the others.
THEY ARE DISOBEDIENT TO THE WORD OF THE LORD
There is also another characteristic that is common to this group of people. That is, disobedience to the word of the Lord.
King Saul cared more for the outward appearances of success and power than for obedience to God’s word. He would obey God as long as it suited him and as long as it didn’t threaten his own ambitions and desires to be successful in the eyes of the people. The Prophet Samuel had to rebuke him: ‘To obey is better than sacrifice’ (1Sam 15:22).
It is the same today for many Christians. Success, power and outward appearance are their most important considerations. God’s will and His purposes are often compromised for the sake of vain, worldly pursuits. They have forgotten the words of Jesus: ‘But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.’ (Matt 6:33)
For that reason they will stand fearful and timid on that day that Goliath confronts them. They will discover that Goliath is far stronger in terms of this world than they are themselves, and they will realise they are no match for him.
THE PEOPLE OF DAVID WALK WITH GOD
Thank God there is a third group in this story. It is the group that is characterised by David.
David was of the people of God. But he wasn’t a part of Saul’s army. David was out in the wilderness tending his sheep when the call came to enter into the battle lines. He was doing that which God had placed in his care – even though it was insignificant and outwardly of little importance.
David knew nothing of Saul’s ways. He hadn’t been in any of Saul’s training schools. He didn’t know how to even polish his armour let alone wear it into battle. All David knew he had learned amongst the ordinary circumstances of daily life. He had learned the simple things of truth, love and faithfulness. He had learned to walk with God each day.
This is God’s way. He takes the lowly things, the foolish things, and the things that are not, to bring to nothing the things that are.
When David arrived on the scene, he had no organisation backing him. There were no credentials or any such thing. There was only the blessing of God. God knew where He wanted David to be. God brought things together as He always does, in the fullness of time.
David could stand before Goliath simply because God was with him. His spirit was stirred against this giant but David was not afraid. He knew that one far greater was standing with him.
It is by God alone that we can know the weaknesses of our enemy. He is the one who divinely reveals His will to us, His plans. He tells us where we need to be fighting. Having a gun to fire isn’t much use if you don’t know which target you need to fire at.
When David spoke to Goliath to challenge him, it was not so much David speaking as God speaking through Him. When David took the stone and placed it in his sling, again it was God choosing and preparing. When David sent his stone flying toward its mark, it was God guiding it to just the right place.
GOLIATH IS TOO BIG TO MISS
Saul’s army were afraid that Goliath was too big to fight. In David’s eyes, guided and directed by God, he became too big to miss. Such is the way with all true ministry. It is God in man doing the work and bringing forth the fruit.
There are many today who are trying to achieve great things for God. They are using all of this world’s resources to try and do it. They imagine that human effort is the key to divine fruitfulness. Yet they are failing. They have missed God’s way completely.
There remains a small group who have a heart after God, who want to follow His will and listen to His voice. They want to fight the giant of unrighteousness where they see it, but they will do it in the power of the Lord.
This group of people, like David of old, seems small, insignificant, unimpressive and unimportant. Yet the Lord’s hand is upon them.
God desires a people who are dead to man’s ways and man’s methods as far as kingdom work is concerned. He is preparing a people who will listen to Him, move as He moves them, and who will work according to His power that works in them mightily.
We are in a time of great conflict right now. Which company will we be a part of? Will it be
Goliath’s? King Saul’s? Or David’s?
Let us call upon the Lord today. Let us ask Him to change our hearts and take us into that David company. May we seek to learn to walk with God and be faithful unto all that He may call us to do. May we learn the ways of humility and be satisfied with simply living before Him each day. Then we shall be fit for purpose in the army of the Lord of hosts.
Praise God for His all-surpassing greatness and glory.
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