Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Battle Is the Lord's

So the Philistine said to David, "[Am] I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!" Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. "This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. "Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle [is] the LORD's, and He will give you into our hands."
1 Samuel 17:43-47 NKJV

I listened this week, as is my habit, to some teaching from a well known pastor speaking on the subject of evangelism. As he spoke of ways to share the gospel with others, my thoughts went another direction and I began to consider the reasons some might be hesitant to share their faith. As I thought about that, the Holy Spirit led me to the story of David and Goliath, and especially the fact that he never hesitated to act even though Goliath had effectively terrified the entire army of Israel into inaction. I want to share with you today just a few of the things that impressed me when I read this story that may help us all to be more bold in witnessing to others.

David's age didn't matter.

And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you [are] a youth, and he a man of war from his youth."
1 Samuel 17:33 NKJV

Anyone can share their faith. Age and maturity are not requirements for sharing the gospel with anyone. Even new Christians can share with others the joy of their salvation as a result of Jesus' sacrifice for our sin. All too often we talk ourselves out of sharing our faith because we think we may not be able to fully explain or answer all of the questions that may be posed to us. It is not our responsibility to convince others to make a decision to follow Christ, but to simply introduce them to Him by sharing our own love for what He has done. The Holy Spirit will do the rest.

David had seen God's power.

But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, "I went out after it and struck it, and delivered [the lamb] from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught [it] by its beard, and struck and killed it. "Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God."
1 Samuel 17:34-36 NKJV

In the Bible we are shown many occasions where God is put to the test, and He always is faithful to deliver. In fact, in the book of Malachi we are told specifically to put Him to the test. God wants to show us He is faithful to do great things, but how can He do that if we are not willing to put ourselves in a position where He can demonstrate for us what He is capable of doing? Jesus fed the multitudes when a little boy simply gave up his lunch. Simply bowing your head in public and thanking God for your cheeseburger allows Him to do great things.

David had faith.

Moreover David said, "The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you!"
1 Samuel 17:37 NKJV

Faith is a result of seeing God work. David had tested God before and knew that He would deliver as promised. Because of that David had no hesitation to step out in faith knowing that God was more than capable of winning this fight. As we begin to act on our faith and see God work, that experience leads us to boldness in order to do more. It becomes easier to act boldly and confidently as we see more and more examples of God's power demonstrated as a result of our stepping out. Faith is the confidence we have as a result of seeing God work.

David knew the fight was the Lord's.

"Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle [is] the LORD's, and He will give you into our hands."
1 Samuel 17:47 NKJV

The most interesting thought I had about this story is that I would bet not one soldier in Israel's army watched David walk out to confront Goliath and thought he had even the remotest chance to win. I would not be surprised to find many were taking bets as to how quickly Goliath would kill him. Just looking at the reality of how big Goliath was and how small David was in comparison would lead any rational person to come to the same conclusion. Yet somehow I think that was the point of all this. God wanted to make a point to Israel because they had lost their faith in His power to deliver them. In spite of their history with God as their King, they had sunk into disbelief. This situation was an opportunity for God to once again show His power to His people.

The glory is God's.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV

It's not us. In fact, it never has been or will be. By our own power we can do nothing and this reality might well be what stops us from sharing our faith. It is this lack of confidence in our own abilities that makes us afraid to witness. Yet this may be the whole point of the story of David and Goliath. Our confidence should not be in our own abilities but rather in the power of God to do His own work if we but take a small step of faith and open the door for Him to demonstrate what He is capable of doing. God does the heavy lifting, and because of that all the glory goes to Him.

Test God this week and see what He will do.

Keep watching.