When Jesse had sent his youngest son David to the battlefield where the Israelite and the Philistine armies were facing each other, he would have never thought about the events that were to unfold. David not only fought Goliath, the giant, but defeated him thus causing the rout of the Philistines and victory of the Israelites. David at that time was not yet of age to join the army and many a times God places us in situations that appear too big for us. In faith David stepped forward to face the giant and we are also expected to face the giants of our lives and overcome them. Life is a continuous training and preparation for battles that lie ahead and the act of stepping forward is rewarded by God.
Priority of fighting – David was not part of the Israelite army and Goliath was not his battle but why did King Saul permitted him to go ahead for the fight? Asbelievers we are part of three sets of families and the priority for fighting for each one is different. First and foremost is our heavenly family for by faith in Lord Jesus we have been made children of God (John 1:12). The priority for the heavenly line is set by the Lord, “Seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33) and this seeking includes strengthening our ties with God. The devil rebelled against God and opposes everything associated with God and he is our first enemy and an ever tempting one (Matthew 4:3). He is always looking for a chance to cause our fall for as our adversary he prowls around like a lion seeking whom to devour (1 Peter 5:8). But God has not left us alone to face our adversary but as per Scripture, ‘the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly’ (Romans 16:20). This has three aspects, first, God will do it; second, under your and my feet and not someone else’s (all believers) and finally bruise meaning incapacitate and not destroy. The final judgement is in the hands of Lord Jesus ‘the redeemed will partake of Christ’s triumph’ and rejoice in His victory (Revelation 19:14).
The second family is our earthly family and that includes our parents, wife and children forming our next priority. The devil will attack us through any of our family members either to lead us astray or to cause distractions. Lord Jesus declared to the disciples about His impending death but Peter took Him aside and rebuked Him as a well wisher prompting the Lord to say, ‘Satan get thee behind Me’ (Matthew 16:22). The devil attacks our family members to stop us through fear and doubts while coaxing them to become a hindrance to our work for God’s kingdom. Mary, Lord Jesus’ mother and His brothers, came over to take Him home for the presence of large crowds around Him prevented Him to eat or rest properly and at the right time. But the Lord knew the hindrance to His work and recognized all those who follow His Father’s commands to be His family (Matthew 12:46-47).
Third is our ministry, business, service and such professional relations – In this the most important is our ministry of God’s kingdom work, tithing and donations for furthering the same and we are to fight all doubts and opposition to this. The devil will use all means for ‘we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age’ (Ephesians 6:12). But these powers/agents of Satan could act through other human beings to make us stand against them in opposition. He will attempt to take us away from the family, thwart our plans, cause failures, divide and turn us away from the goal and for this he will use demonic spirits, use human beings or even use natural forces.
Strategies to be victorious – We face a very intelligent and ruthless adversary and it is important that we prepare well to face him. First, you may not be directly under attack for Goliath was challenging the Israelite army and David was not yet part of the same, being underage. Any challenge to the first relationship or the authority of God must be taken on immediately irrespective of who is the direct target.
Second, identify your core competence – I cannot fight with someone else’s weapons and though King Saul gave his own armor but David could not walk with that for he was not used to wearing that. David took his shepherd’s staff, then picked up five smooth stones and with his catapult, the weapons of daily use for him while shepherding, was ready to fight the giant.
Third, do not look at the giant or the problem but on God – God declares, ‘was it not I, the LORD, the God, who saves His people. There is no other God. Turn to Me and be saved, people all over the world’ (Isaiah 45:21-22). Joshua was chosen by God to lead His people into the battle but he had seen how Moses was troubled by the people and suffered punishment. He was rightly afraid but God assured him that, ‘no one will be able to stand before you all your life. I will be with you as I was with Moses’ (Joshua 1:5). God’s promise to be with us always is His guarantee to give us success in everything for ‘who can stand against us when God is with us’ (Romans 8:31).
Four, Prepare continuously – Lord Jesus aged 12, was found sitting with the Jewish teachers in the Temple, listening and asking questions and all were amazed at His intelligent answers (Luke 2:46-48). The Son of God’s preparation for the first and other battles to be fought 18 years later was extensive to face temptation of physical, spiritual and social realms for food, physical protection to test God and receive authority over all kingdoms.
God gives us a chance to prepare and the pillar of cloud covering the Israelites moved to the rear and separated the Israelites and the Egyptian army. The red sea was parted and the Israelites crossed through on ‘dry land’ but the Egyptian army perished giving adequate time to the Israelites to prepare for their future battles. Before their first battle in the Promised Land, first six days Joshua and his army were commanded go around Jericho carrying the Ark and blowing trumpets. On the seventh day they were to walk seven rounds and after the loud shout, the walls collapsed inwards ensuring victory for them (Joshua 6). The preparation was for physical fitness, faith development and psychological war against the enemy. Before entering into the fight with Goliath, David fought a lion and a bear, killed them and claimed that he can kill the Philistine also for God saved then and will save now also (1 Samuel 17:34-37).
Five, involve God in the fight, do not try to fight alone – David declared to Goliath that ‘I come in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of Israelite armies. This very day the LORD will give you into my hands and I will defeat you’ (1 Samuel 17:45-46). God honored the claim made in faith. Jehoshaphat, the Israelite King was facing attack from the three armies of Moab, Ammon and Meunites and God promised to save them in answer to the prayers offered to God. After they received God’s word the army moved out next day, and were led by singers wearing ceremonial clothes singing, ‘Praise the LORD! His love is eternal’. God created confusion in the enemy camp and their armies fought and killed each other while the Israelites spent 3 days gathering the loot which was so much that they could not carry everything (2 Chronicles 20:4-30).
Six, no battle is final till the Lord’s second coming – There are valleys after heights for during the transfiguration of Lord Jesus, Moses and Elijah appear followed by declaration from God in heaven, ‘This is My beloved Son – listen to Him’. But in the valley below the father of the child suffering from a deaf and dumb spirit asked Him, ‘have pity on us and help us if You can’ (Mark 9:2-4; 7, 22-27). Even after resurrection and seen by so many, Thomas doubted saying that unless I see the scars in His hands and put my hand in His side, I will not believe (John 20:24-29).
Seven, plan post battle strategy – It is necessary to thank God for what He has done. Jehoshaphat and the Israelite army after seeing the dead enemy forces and collecting all the valuables, gathered together ‘on the fourth day in the valley of Beracah and praised the LORD for all He had done’ and then only returned to Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 20:26). Beracah means blessing and the Jewish prayer ‘berachot’ is to thank God and recognize Him as the source of all blessings.
In every fight learn some lessons for God wants to teach us through life experiences but beware of flatterers and resultant pride. After David defeated Goliath, in their celebration the women sang, ‘Saul has killed thousands, but David tens of thousands’ and on hearing this Saul became very angry and David suffered for years. This is a continuous battle and we must not let down our guard while climbing down from the top after the victory for the next battle is just round the corner. Lord’s transfiguration was a great high for the three disciples but immediately thereafter they faced the deaf and dumb spirit.
Positive thinking or positive faith – It is often said that we must maintain a positive attitude when facing difficult situations. But positive thinking alone cannot make the goliath in front disappear for the Scripture says, “You, LORD, keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You and who put their trust in You” (Isaiah 26:3). It is faith in God that helps in the battle, like Abraham did not falter even when he and Sarah passed his age of childbearing and believed in God’s promise. Positive belief system and positive thinking alone are different for it is faith that enables us to look goliath in the eye and like David declare ‘My God will give you into my hands’.
The message of the five stones – There is nothing specific mentioned in the Scripture about David’s choice of the stones except there number and smooth surface. But we can learn a few lessons from the number itself. First stone, the purpose – What is your motivation for getting into the battle for the right purpose leads to more prayer and unity with others having a similar aim. Greater purpose will help in taking greater challenges and better planning to expect greater miracles. In every situation ‘God’s purpose will stand’ and we must align with that (Proverbs 19:21).
Second stone, the cost involved– Lord Jesus places a very high cost on the followers and we are to ‘bear our own cross and follow the Lord’ (Luke 14:27-29). There are always three voices playing in the mind before and during a situation; your own voice says what you want to hear. On the other hand the devil repeats the Nike slogan, ‘just do it’ and bear the consequences later. God always wants you to count the cost of everything that you desire to undertake.
Third stone, plan your course – Listen to God’s voice and ignore the voices around you for others will give you their armor. But though the battle is God’s but He uses us as tools to fight and we have to reject it and stay the course.
Fourth stone, persevere and stay focused – David declared God’s hand of help to goliath for He was well aware of His status in and with the LORD and the power that works in and through us. All believers are chosen and are ‘from God and have overcome them for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world’ (1 John 4:4). Apostle Peter walked on water but ‘when he noticed the strong wind, he was afraid and started to sink’ but Lord Jesus heard his cry for help and saved him (Matthew 14:29-33). God is ever ready to help us when we step out in faith, to lift us up and lead us to safety.
Fifth stone, charge and fire – All the faith, preparation and planning is wasted without stepping forward to take on the enemy. Jehoshaphat moved and God did His part; Moses moved and God parted the Red Sea and in the same manner ‘Lord confirmed thw word of the disciples through signs and wonders when they moved out to make disciples (Mark 15:19).
The perceived giants of our lives, sickness, evil desires, sinful deeds, broken relationships or financial crisis will keep coming at us. But we can overcome and defeat these when we shift and retain our focus on Lord Jesus as Savior and Redeemer. Lord Jesus’ message to His Body is ‘to overcome’ and be ready to claim the exemplary blessings from Him. We glorify God by being victorious over the forces of darkness and that is what we were created for!