This is God's Battle Plan
During this enforced break from overseas travel, I have been writing some thoughts from the life of David for the encouragement of our Ghanaian brethren. Perhaps we all could use some encouragement to look beyond our current circumstances to see that this is God’s battle!
When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. ~1 Samuel 17.11 When not viewed through the eyes of faith, our difficulties often seem insurmountable.
“The Philistines have returned!” is a reoccurring theme in the reigns of Saul and David. The Philistines were Israel’s archetypal foes – enemies who continuously harassed and threatened God’s people. But they were often used by God as the backdrop against which He demonstrated His power and provision for His covenant people. It is the same story with the trials and difficulties that God allows to come into our lives: they reoccur regularly, and they are used by God as a means of showing us His power and provision. David will show us that faith is the key to dealing with difficulties – whether Philistines, hard circumstances, stubborn sin, or loss.
These implacable enemies had once again invaded Israelite territory, and they brought their gigantic champion, Goliath, with them. Goliath challenged the army of Israel to send a champion against him in single combat, in a winner-take-all competition. But Saul and his army, overcome by fear, cowered in their tents, unwilling to take up the challenge. Why?
Admittedly, Goliath was an imposing, even frightening, figure. But why did Israel hesitate? There was no rule saying single combat was necessary. They could simply have attacked the Philistine army as they had before. In fact, since Israel had faced the Philistines frequently over the years, it seems likely that they had seen Goliath before and he had presented no great difficulty. Besides, Israel had its own “giant,” an experienced warrior-king who stood “head and shoulders” above his fellow Israelites: Saul.
But Saul was the problem. Remember his spiritual condition at this point: he had been forsaken by God, and the Holy Spirit had departed from him. He was a spiritual lame duck – still bearing the title of king, but no longer God’s anointed. Incapable of faith and now bereft of the Spirit’s power and Samuel's guidance, Saul had taken the field in his own strength, and it was not enough. He was terrified, and his cowardice had infected the entire army of Israel.
The situation cried out for a man of faith – a man who could see what was truly happening. And onto the scene stepped David. Looking through the eyes of faith, David did not see a giant, he saw a blaspheming enemy of God’s people; he did not see an insurmountable obstacle, he saw an opportunity for the Lord to demonstrate His power.
You see, faith does not calculate on the same basis as unbelief. Unbelief (personified by Saul) looks only at the human resources at hand, weighing them against the size of the obstacle. In Saul’s view, an inexperienced boy could not possibly prevail against this gigantic, battle-hardened warrior (1 Samuel 17.33). But David’s calculations of faith yielded an entirely different result. He started with the victories God had given him in the past (17.34-35), added to them the importance God places on His own glory and honor (17.36), and concluded that this fight was already won, because it was God’s battle. David’s personal strength and resources were not the issue. The only question his faith asked was whether God was in it, because if God was in it, then victory was assured. David was willing simply to be the means through which God worked. By faith he grasped that “power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12.9)
What about you? Have you learned the calculus of faith yet? In following God’s will, God’s power + a weak and willing vessel = the manifestation of glory of God (regardless of the size of the obstacle). The church of Jesus Christ cries out for men and women of faith. May you be part of God’s answer to that cry!
~ Pastor Steere