Here’s a favorite of many:
1 Samuel 17:45-48 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.” 48 As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.
Believe it or not, I’m finding myself becoming a bit of a neo-monarchist. Yep, I’m a fan of the Queen. This was confirmed to me recently watching a documentary on Queen Lizzy’s life and hearing a speech she gave as a young princess of only 14 to boost the morale of the British people during the blitz.
In it she essentially said; ‘God will give us the victory because God is faithful.’
I must admit, hearing those words made me tear up a bit. What courage, What faith, for a young leader to peg a nation’s victory, nay survival on God’s faithfulness. .
She was right to do so. We now of course know how it ended. The ‘David’ of Britain was confronted with the Goliath of the Nazi Luftwaffe….and she won.
These days we love stories like this, we love the idea of the underdog winning and we rightfully encourage ourselves with the truth that in the end, God wins every time. But I have found myself reflecting on this passage of late and only just realized something.
We often use that phrase ‘the battle belongs to the Lord’ to denote that in the end, we will be granted victory in our struggle (provided of course that it is a godly one.) But what if David is saying a lot more than this? Let me zero in on verse 47
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.”
The more I read this, the more I wonder if David’s whole point is that God does not simply win thru…..well, winning.
If this famous phrase is all about God’s eventual victory, then why does David then feel the need to point out that Goliath and all of his Philistine mates, will be defeated? Is it just a re-statement for the sake of emphasis? Perhaps. But I think David’s saying something even more:
He is saying that the reason why God wins is because even the very battle he is facing (at that point of course it’s Goliath) is all part of God’s plan to win an even greater victory.
What victory could this be?
To win the hearts and minds of his people.
In other words, David knows that there is a battle underneath the battle, and a salvation so much deeper and more important than being saved from mere physical death. I think David knows that Goliath is merely (an albeit unknowing) pawn in God’s grand battle to convince his people to trust him.
If this was not the case, then it wouldn’t make sense for David to essentially point out that God does not save using conventional weaponry…..only to then have God ‘save’ the Israelites through conventional weaponry. I know a sling isn’t a sword or a spear, but it is still a man-made weapon.
The real victory here is the nation of Israel re-gaining their trust in God (v52) while the Philistine nation melts in fear before God’s people surging forward.
Ok, so what?
Here’s what: what is your ‘Goliath’ that you are fighting?
What if the real battle isn’t about you and Goliath at all, but about God allowing a ‘Goliath’ into your life so that he can remind you of what is possible when we trust him for the victory?
What if a ‘victory’ won without any deepening of our relationship with God isn’t a victory at all but in fact a waste?
What if your eventual victory, guaranteed by the faithfulness of God, will become your greatest ministry to others?
In short, what if our battles aren’t primarily about us?
If you’re walking in God’s will, you will win because God wins and in that moment, you’ll be qualified to minister to others.
Take heart, the entire battle belongs to the Lord, even your ‘Goliath’ is under his control.