IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: LET NO MAN’S HEART FAIL BECAUSE OF THESE UNCIRCUMCISED PHILISTINES!
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM.
“Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” — Mark Twain
“COURAGE IS RIGHTLY ESTEEMED THE FIRST OF HUMAN QAULITIES BECAUSE IT IS THE QUALITY WHICH GUARANTEES ALL OTHERS”
17:1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. And they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. 3 And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4 And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six1 cubits2 and a span. 5 He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels3 of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him. 8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
Note: When they heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid: This was Goliath’s exact intention in issuing the challenge. The reason why he came out with full battle equipment and paraded in front of the Israelite army was because he wanted them to be dismayed and greatly afraid. Goliath defeated the Israelites on fear alone.
33 Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.”
Saul’s assessment of the situation was entirely worldly and consequently concluded that David had no chance of victory. When God is left out of the equation, difficulties appear insurmountable.
In any contest, it’s always useful to demoralize your opponent and strike fear in their heart. First, it may keep you from ever going to battle with them because they are so afraid. Second, if it does come to battle they will fight with fear and apprehension and so with your words, you’ve done a lot to win the battle before it even begins. This is a significant strategy of the devil against believers.
When circumstances brought David to the scene of the battle, he discovered that the Philistines had a champion, Goliath, whom no Israelite dared to fight (17-25). David was not even a soldier, but he volunteered to fight the Philistine (26-32). He reasoned that since Goliath had defied God he was certain of defeat, and since Israel was God’s army it was certain of victory (33-40; cf. v. 26, 45). David killed Goliath without using a sword or a spear, proving that God did not need weapons to save his people (41-50). The Philistines fled in confusion, but the Israelites caught and killed many of them, then plundered the camp they left behind (51-54).
“Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, the Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.”
—1 Samuel, 17 36- 37
WE have all thought a great deal of the courage of David in meeting giant Goliath, but probably we have not given him credit for his conduct in a previous contest. We have not sufficiently noticed that immediately before the encounter with the Philistine he fought a battle which cost him far more thought, prudence, and patience. The word-battle in which he had to engage with his brothers and with king Saul, was a more trying ordeal to him than going forth in the strength of the Lord to smite the uncircumcised boaster. Many a man meets with more trouble from his friends than from his enemies; and when he has learned to overcome the depressing influence of prudent friends, he makes short work of the opposition of avowed adversaries.
it is clear that David fought the battle with Saul as admirably as he afterwards conducted his duel with the giant, and he deserves no small honour for it; nay, rather unto God be honour who while he taught his servant’s hands to war, and his fingers to fight, also taught his tongue to utter right words, by which he put to silence those who would have abashed him.
What was the pith of David’s argument? What were the five smooth stones which he threw at the head of carnal reasoning? That shall be the subject of this morning’s discourse. We will consider the way in which David argued down all doubts and fears, and by the Spirit of God was nerved to go forth to deeds of sacred daring in the name of the Most High, for the same conquering arguments may, perhaps, serve our turn also.
Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear.” These were noteworthy facts which David had stored up in his memory, and he now mentions them, for they exactly answered his purpose. We ought not to be unmindful of the way by which the Lord our God has led us, for if we are we shall lose much. Some saints have very short memories. It has been well said that we write our benefits in dust and our injuries in marble, and it is equally true that we generally inscribe our afflictions upon brass, while the records of the deliverances of God are written in water. It ought not so to be. If our memories were more tenacious of the merciful visitations of our God, our faith would often be strengthened in times of trial. Now, what did David recollect, for I want you to remember the same?
He recollected, first, that, whatever his present trial might be, he had been tried before, tried when he was but a young man, peacefully employed in keeping his flocks. A lion rushed upon his prey and he had to defend his sheep: — no small trial that for a young man, to have to meet a savage beast, strong, furious, and probably ravenous with hunger. Yet the ordeal had not destroyed him, and he felt sure that another of the same kind would not do so. He had encountered that danger in the course of his duty, when he was in his proper place, and engaged in his lawful calling, and he had thereby learned that the path of duty is not without its difficulties and perils.
Brethren, some of us who have been for years in the ways of the Lord can tell of shrewd brushes with the enemy, and we can speak of wounds and ugly rents, of which we wear the scars to this day. Many have been our adversaries and furious, yet have we been upheld till now by Jesus, the Captain of our salvation. Wherefore, then, should we fear concerning the present fiery trial, as though some strange thing had happened to us. Is it a Philistine this time? Well, it was a lion before, and a bear on another occasion: it is only a little change of the same constant trial of our faith, and therefore let us not shrink from the conflict.
Is there not a cause?
David’s attitude is completely different than the other men of Israel, including King Saul. David is concerned with God’s cause before everything. Before his own personal safety, before his own personal glory, before his only personal honor, he has a passionate concern for God’s cause. Where did David get this perspective, this courage?
It had been born in secret and nursed in solitude. David had a real relationship with God. God was as real to him as his brothers were, or even as Goliath was. “There is no short cut to the life of faith, which is the all-vital condition of a holy and victorious life. We must have periods of lonely meditation and fellowship with God … Thus alone can the sense of God’s presence become the fixed possession of the soul, enabling it to say repeatedly, with the psalmist, ‘Thou art near, O God.'”
“I charge you, therefore, my beloved brethren and sisters, who know the Lord, be up and in earnest to slay your lions and your bears, that you may learn how to kill your Philistines: that is to say; – serve God with all your heart, and patiently bear the cross for his name’s sake, so that when the time shall come for you to stand as a lone man for Christ, you may do it gloriously, and may bring honor to your divine Leader.”
“I wish that young men would aspire to brave lives for the God of Israel. I would that for truth, and goodness, and the eternal glory, they would be ready to rise to the measure of their destined hour. Why should we all be mean men? Is there not room for a few downright devoted beings, who will lift their hand unto the Lord, and never go back? If self-sacrifice is wanted, let us make it. If some one is needed for a heathen land, or to bear testimony for truth in this almost apostate nation, let us cry, ‘Here am I! Send me!’ God’s David will not hang back through cowardly fear or dread of consequences, but will take up his place as God shall help him, and say, like Martin Luther, ‘I can do no other: so help me, O my God.'” (Spurgeon)
David won a great victory, but not greater than the victory Jesus won on our behalf. David’s victory over Goliath is a “picture in advance” of the victory Jesus won for us.
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