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I Samuel 17

20 Early in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and greeted his brothers. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. 24 When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear.

Begin playing the “Eye of the Tiger” while the scripture is shown on power point.

David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” 33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “37 The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”

40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. 41 Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”

45 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. 46 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. 47 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.”

Silent Prayer

You give the Lord control over the battle by giving Him control over you.

The person who can say, “The battle is the Lord’s” has already said, “My whole life is the Lord’s.” My trials, my battles, my blessings, they all belong to Him. When God is in control of all of you, He gets the battles too.

In return for giving your life to Christ, you get everything He has at His disposal. His power is greater than any earthly power or evil principality. You get to use that power

Ephesians 1:19-21 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

His armor is more durable than any armor and cannot be penetrated. You get to use that armor. Ephesians 6:10-1110 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

The weapons in His arsenal or more precise than any other weapon. You get to use those weapons. II Cor. 10:4.4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

His wisdom goes beyond the cunning of our enemy. You get to use that wisdom

Job 5:12 He upsets the plans of cunning people, and traps the wise in their own schemes, so that nothing they do succeeds. (GNB)

This past August, I was privileged to lead worship at a camp meeting in PA and they took care of my meals and the meals of my family members while I was there for the week. In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the cafeteria, there was a snack bar that was available to us at any time. We could order anything we wanted and they had some good stuff. Blizzards, pizza, all kind of goodies were there for us to enjoy. Hannah and Joshua made use of the snack bar. They got such a kick out of going up to the window and ordering something and then saying, “You can write our names down. We’re free. Our mom is the worship leader this week, you know, Melissa Pratt? We’re with her.” You would have thought they were Hollywood superstars, but with our kids, it doesn’t take much for them to get excited. You see, there was a benefit extended to them because they were with me.

In the same way, we get the benefit of everything that God has to offer when we are with Him and He is with us. The key to David’s success in life is stated in 1 Sam. 16:18 “The Lord was with him.” (See 18:12, 14, 28.) Three times in I Samuel 18, we read that the Lord was with David. This was also the secret of the success of Joseph (Gen. 39:2-3, 21, 23), Joshua (Josh. 6:27), and Samuel (1 Sam. 3:19), and it is the basis for success in the Christian life today.

I don’t know about you, but I think life is pretty tough. There is just day to day stuff that can turn my stomach in knots or get my dander up, and I have to have the weapons and armor and power of God to deal with some of the punches my enemy wants to throw. Once you make the Lord your Lord, and you can say, “The battle is the Lord’s” because you have given it to Him, there are some other principles you can rely on.

Because the battle is the Lord’s, you rely on Him to win it. You don’t have to win the battle. You don’t have to possess a special talent. You don’t have to try to manipulate the situation or work something out behind the scenes so trying to control everything so that it will be in your favor in the end. You don’t have to understand the strategy. You don’t have to have all of the answers. He is the God who knows the end from the beginning. When you face a giant, you are simply a pawn in the hand of the Master who knows how to produce check mate every time.

David had some skills. If it wasn’t enough that he was good looking, the boy had some skills when it came to defeating some tough opponents. He could have thought, “I’ve whipped a lion and a bear, this brute is almost as ugly and tough as they were.” But he didn’t rely on his past successes. He might have thought, “I’ve proven my bravery many times before, this time doesn’t have to be any different.” But he didn’t.

King Saul thought, “Well if this kid is going to go to battle, at least let him look like a warrior,” and he put his own adult armor on this little shepherd boy, David. Joshua loves to stand in Thom’s shoes, but it doesn’t make him a conqueror, but a clumsy kid who now has to overcome major obstacles to even walk. Wearing that armor wasn’t going to help David. Why try to be something he wasn’t? Listen, when the battle is the Lord’s, you don’t have to dress it up or act like a big shot. When the battle is the Lord’s HE IS the big shot. You just have to go to the battle line with what you have. David said to Goliath that though Goliath came to him with swords and spears, he met Goliath at the battle line with the only thing that matters, “The name of the Lord.” Listen, the name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous run into it and they are safe!” Proverbs 18:10 It’s like Hannah and Josh saying to the people behind the counter at the PA snack bar, we’re Melissa Pratt’s kids. We may have what we ask for. When we use the name of the Lord in battle, it’s all taken care of.

Because the battle is the Lord’s, we need to let Him call the shots.

David didn’t remain in Saul’s camp permanently but went back and forth between the camp and home as he was needed (v. 15, NIV). Whenever he was called to help Saul, he left his flock with a dependable man (v. 20) and hurried to the camp where now he even had his own tent (v. 54). It wasn’t until after David killed Goliath that Saul took him permanently to be one of his armor-bearers (18:1-2).

You see, David didn’t get up looking for a fight on any given day. David was just available. If the Lord needed him with the sheep, he was with the sheep. If the Lord wanted him to be a delivery boy to take lunch to his brothers, he was a delivery boy. David was a Spirit-led man and his every decision had to be in the will of God and for the glory of God. Others might come and go as they pleased, but David was guided by the providential hand of God. David was just willing to do as God commanded him whether behind the scenes or out on the front lines of battle.

Unfortunately, nobody in the Jewish army volunteered, including King Saul, who stood head and shoulders above his men. Why is it, that often those who seem the most qualified aren’t interested in participating in the battle? Perhaps that’s another question for another day. But the reality is, David willingly got involved, and I don’t believe the reward had anything to do with his decision. Oh, whoever knocked off Goliath was going to get to marry one of the king’s daughters and have some money, but I’ll tell you what I think motivated David to let God lead Him into battle. David so loved God and had been in such fellowship with God and had been given so much help from God that it bothered him that someone like this bully named Goliath thought he could get away with talking poorly about the Living God and the special people God had taken for Himself. He said in verse 26, “Who does this uncircumcised Philistine think he is? Does he think he can speak against the armies of the living God?” He reiterated this same motive for being engaged in the battle in verse 36 as well.

If David had been in this for himself and for some kind of social promotion, he might have said, “Who does this buffoon think he is? I’ve killed a lion and a bear. Does he really think nobody could take him? Does he think he’ll be any kind of match for me? I’ll show Him” He wasn’t in the battle for himself. He would have made it about himself. But he didn’t say, “I’ll show Him.” He said, “God will show you.” You’ve met your match now, Goliath, because you aren’t fighting a person or even an army, but you are going to go fist to cuff with God Almighty Himself, and He doesn’t miss. He doesn’t lose. And if He doesn’t lose and somebody wins and somebody loses, I’m afraid, Goliath, you’re dead meat.

Listen to how the Message translation puts it, “45 David answered, “You come at me with sword and spear and battle-ax. I come at you in the name of God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel’s troops, whom you curse and mock. 46 This very day God is handing you over to me. I’m about to kill you, cut off your head, and serve up your body and the bodies of your Philistine buddies to the crows and coyotes. The whole earth will know that there’s an extraordinary God in Israel. 47 And everyone gathered here will learn that God doesn’t save by means of sword or spear. The battle belongs to God—he’s handing you to us on a platter!”

When we let God call the shots, He gives us courage to speak when it’s time to speak, and be silent when it’s time to just let the enemy stew. When we let God call the shots, we don’t have to go hand grenade shopping, make lots of behind the scenes phone calls, and plot to make something happen. He’ll tell us if we need an army or just a few stones and a sling shot. He’ll help us use what will be the most effective and what will give Him the most glory.

Because the battle is the Lord’s, He alone gets the glory for winning it.-The true God of Israel and the false gods of the Philistines. That’s really what this battle was about.

Listen, God wants to use His people to magnify His name to all the nations of the earth. This purpose was involved in the call of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3) and God’s choice of the people of Israel (Deut. 28:9-10). One purpose for Israel’s sojourn in Egypt and the judgments God sent against Pharaoh was the proclaiming of God’s name and glory to all the earth. Ex. 9:16 says, “. 16But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

The parting of the Red Sea to let Israel out, and the opening up of the Jordan River to let them into Canaan, bore witness to all the nations that Israel’s God was the true God (Josh. 4:23-24). The Philistines who worshiped false gods had been hiding behind this naturally skilled, tall, ugly athlete and somehow believed their gods were seeing them through. When David defeated Goliath, he not only rescued the Israelites, but he showed the Philistines that no god and no giant was any kind of match for the Living God. What the Lord did through David would be recorded and told around the world and bring great honor to the name of the Lord.

Because the battle is the Lord’s we don’t have to listen to the voices of discouragement. Whenever you step out by faith to fight the enemy, there’s always somebody around to discourage you, and often it begins in your own home. David’s eldest brother, Eliab, became angry when he heard that David was inquiring about Saul’s offer and he ridiculed him (vv. 28-30). “We’re soldiers and all you are is a shepherd boy! You came to see the battle! Go home and take care of your little flock and leave the fighting to us!” Of course, the fact that there hadn’t even been any fighting yet, but that didn’t seem to cross Eliab’s mind. He may have been army trained, but that doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you have no intention of actually getting into something. You know, people who like to discourage others can often talk a big talk, but they have no plans of getting involved themselves. They just want to discourage you from moving on in your faith, trust, and obedience. They just want to repress you and keep you from being used of God. I’m telling you, because the battle is the Lord’s you can tune them out in Jesus’ name.

But King Saul wasn’t any more help, either in what he said or what he advised. 33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.” Saul and Eliab would never have made the Israelite cheerleading squad. Saul was echoing the report of the ten unbelieving spies who saw the giants in Canaan and decided that it was impossible to enter the land (Num. 13:28-29). I have one thing to say to negative, “can’t do” people. When we walk by sight, we calculate everything from the human perspective, and this always leads to discouragement; but when we walk by faith, God comes into the equation, and that changes the results. There is only one voice we have to listen to, and that’s God’s who says, “With God, all things are possible.”

I love the song by Casting Crowns called “Voice of Truth.” Here is what it says:

Oh, what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I’m in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he’s holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
“Boy, you’ll never win,
you’ll never win.”

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor
Wishing they’d have had the strength to stand

But the giant’s calling out
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I’ve tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
“Boy you’ll never win,
you’ll never win.”

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says “do not be afraid!”
and the Voice of truth says “this is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

David had learned to listen to God in such a way that everything God said to him trumped everything else anyone had to say. David’s encouragement came from God, and this is one of the secrets of his life. “But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6). In spite of criticism and in spite of discouraging counsel and bad advice, David trusted the Lord his God, and God rewarded his faith.

It has well been said that there are people who make things happen, people who watch things happen and people who don’t know that anything is happening. David had insight into Israel’s plight and knew what was happening. He realized that it wasn’t a physical conflict between two armies, but a spiritual battle between truth and error, faith and superstition, the true and living God and dead idols. David’s faith lifted the war to a much higher plane, just as Paul did in Ephesians 6:10ff. Our battle is against the devil and his army, and human weapons are useless in that conflict.

When I answered the call to becoming a senior pastor, three years before an opportunity presented itself, I enlisted in a battle of sorts. I knew it, and people made me quite aware of it. “It’s gonna be hard to find a church that will accept a female senior pastor.” That was blatant discouragement. “But you’re such a good worship leader.” Those were the people who just didn’t want to see me hurt or crushed. I could have tried to push my way in somewhere or try to pry a door open that was closed just because I wanted to prove some kind of point. I could have had the “I’ll show you” attitude and done whatever dog and pony trick I could come up with to try to show people that I was qualified or that I could do just as good of a job as any man. Listen, qualifications make no difference in battle when the battle is the Lord’s. You can be qualified or completely unqualified, but if God calls you, “Faithful is He who has called you and He will do it.”

God has brought me here and He gets the credit for anything good going on. I don’t have to convince anyone or defend my call to ministry. He makes a way. I just walk on the path He has created.

I Thess. 5:24 it doesn’t matter what the odds are or what you think you’re up against. When the Lord wants to advance His name and you’ve submitted to Him, the Battle is the Lord’s and time will tell the story.

Because the battle is the Lord’s, I don’t have to be afraid OF ANYTHING. Psalm 56:4 “4 In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? David wasn’t afraid. Verse 40 of I Sam. 17 says David went out to meet the Philistine. The Philistine was crouching behind an armor bearer. David was the one taking the initiative.

Isaiah 54:17 says, 17No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.

When the battle is the Lord’s, it doesn’t mean that we don’t have a role to play. It simply means that we willingly place ourselves under His control, we let Him call the shots, we use His power, weaponry, and wisdom, we dismiss negative and critical thoughts, we move forward without fear and we let Him have all of the glory. The result is, we bring victory to ourselves and others and we have the joy that comes from being used by God to see His kingdom advance. Who doesn’t want to sign up for that?

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