It’s quite a blog post title, I know. Strong and descriptive words: defied, dismayed, and terrified. But have you ever been there? I have, and the physical distress that accompanies these words is as intense as the words themselves. My Caroline came home a few weeks ago talking about David and Goliath. Her class was studying the life of David at school and as I asked her questions about the lesson, she said “oh, we didn’t get to finish reading the story in class”. So I said, “well pull up a chair girlfriend, ’cause we’ve got some reading to do”.
I love the Old Testament, and I love reading the really. good. stories…and David and Goliath is one of the really good ones. It too often gets categorized in our brain as a “child’s bible story”, when in reality, it is anything but. Caroline and I sat under a blanket and read that war story with much enthusiasm, I was about to come out of my skin with excitement. David’s words to the giant that was threatening to slaughter anyone that dared fight him are the best part of the whole chapter (well, almost the best part of the chapter):
David said to the Philistine, “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. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 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 17:45-47
Now that’s quite a war cry! Not for the faint of heart, is it? Do remember, this was a time of war. God’s people were being threatened and killed. Day after day Goliath came out of his camp to defy Israel. The Hebrew word for defy is “charaph”, and it means to pull off or to expose by stripping. Goliath was a mean guy, with mean intentions. He set out each day to humiliate and terrify God’s people, and up until David’s arrival, it had been working. These verses tell us that the Israelites were “dismayed and terrified”. But then David. David believed God. Do you? Do I? Do we (like David) believe that our battle is for the Lord to win? Do you believe that your struggle has already been overcome?
I said that David’s battle cry of faith was almost the best part of the chapter. I personally think the best part comes in the very next verse:
As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 1 Samuel 17:48
Did you catch it? David ran quickly toward the battle line. How many battle lines have been drawn in the sands of our lives, and how often do we cower away from them in fear? How many times do we face opposition and struggles, and we retreat to our camp and pace back and forth in panic. We loose sleep, we forget about grace and joy, we wish today away and pray for an easier tomorrow. When instead of all of it, we could choose to believe Christ, and shout from the top of our lungs “the battle is the Lord’s”…and then watch what happens, because the Lord never looses His battles.
At the end of the battle (as we all know from Sunday school) David was victorious, because he believed God. That day in the Valley of Elah, when the war dust had settled, Saul turned to his army commander and said “Abner, whose son is that young man?” Abner’s response is priceless: ”As surely as you live, O King, I don’t know.” I think they were in shock, and I think it had been a long time since they had witnessed such strength of faith. How about you? Have you shocked anyone lately with your belief in what God has promised you? Have you been so courageous in battle, that at the end of it, someone has said “Who is that woman?”
I saw a quote recently that I think fits very well here:
Don’t you want to be that kind of woman! Believing God is a choice, and you have been given all you need in Christ: ”For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.” Colossians 2:9-10. Believe God, and like David, run quickly to your battle line with confidence that the Lord will deliver you a victory. Fear not, and believe big, your Promise Land is waiting.
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