Picking up with the topic I started before my last post, Interlude of Fun in the Twilight Zone: David was faithful in his everyday, ordinary life as a shepherd, guiding and guarding the sheep, sometimes at great personal risk fighting lions and bears. It was there, in his everyday life that he grew strong wielding the weapons of his trade–the staff and sling and stones–and he grew strong in faith in God. He knew God and could confidently say, “the LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear …” (see I Samuel 17).
We too live ordinary, everyday lives. We too face our lions and bears, those trials and difficulties that come into our lives, perhaps threatening our livelihood, our families or even our very lives with health problems. These are the enemies that come to defeat us, enemies that threaten to destroy us.
Are we being faithful to fight them with the weapons given us—prayer and praise and the Word of God? Are we becoming adept in their use and growing in strength, growing in our trust in God? Can we say as David did, “the LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear …”
It is only in our ordinary, everyday lives faithfully facing the enemies that would destroy us—our lions and bears—that we learn to fight, becoming skilled and strong.
Ordinary life is where we learn to know and trust the LORD, bringing him glory as we fight our personal enemies. This, too, is where we learn to recognize another kind of enemy: Goliath.
Goliath wasn’t David’s personal enemy and he isn’t ours, though most of us have heard the story in those terms. Goliath is not our personal lion or bear. Oh no. He is a different enemy. Goliath, to be consistent with the text, in I Samuel 17, comes against and defies the armies of the living God; he defies the LORD of Hosts, the Lord Almighty.
Goliath is anything that is contrary to the person and purposes of God and he must be fought with weapons, not of this world, but weapons that have “divine power to demolish strongholds … and everything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God …” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Prayer and praise and the Word of God. These are the powerful weapons that we only become skilled at using in our ordinary, everyday lives fighting our lions and bears. The power of these weapons is spiritual, not of our flesh or the world, not originating with us but with God’s Spirit who lives in us.
When Jesus was on earth he fought many Goliaths. When he was about to leave and return to his Father in heaven he said to his disciples, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. … And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. … for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:12-17, NIV, emphasis added).
Jesus obviously expected that we too would fight Goliaths, all over the world. Else what did he mean by saying, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8, NIV)? (Notice the triple “and,” not “or.”)
Or this, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20, NIV)?
The Spirit was given for specific purposes, as we read from the above verses.
The questions we must ask ourselves are:
- Do I recognize Goliath when I see him?
- When I do see him, do I have the spirit of David that says, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
- And do I have the chuztpah to reply to the naysayers as David did, drawing on his experience of trusting God and and finding him faithful to deliver, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine (1 Samuel 17:34-37, NIV, emphasis added).”
- Do I have the jealousy for God’s Name that makes me willing to put “skin” in the game, my skin, for his Name and glory?
The greater works we are to do, that Jesus expects us to do, are waiting to be done. They are there waiting for us to step forward, as David did, in the name of the Lord Almighty, that the Father may be glorified in the Son—through us.
“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 deliver you into my hands, … 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).
Let us get stronger every day wielding the weapons of our warfare—prayer and praise and the Word of God—fighting our everyday lions and bears so that we may be strong in the Spirit and fit to recognize and fight Goliath–doing those greater things–for the sake of his Name, for the glory of the Father.
Let us fear God more than men.
How have you fared with your lions and bears? Have you discerned the Goliath that you should be challenging for his Name sake? How is it going? Send me your questions and comments about this post. I’d love to hear your thoughts.