(1 Samuel 17:1-11)
This morning we continue our series “Grace that is Simply Amazing.” As we enter chapter 17, David’s story shift’s it focus to Saul. The spirit of the Lord was no longer on Saul and he no longer had the grace for national leadership. Saul was basically fired by God and he did not even know it. It was during this time, when God’s favor had left Saul, that the Philistines mustered their army for battle against Israel. The Philistine army camped between Socoh in Judah and Azekah at Ephes-dammim. Saul countered by gathering his Israelite army near the valley of Elah. So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them; just like a scene from a movie.
Once the scene was set, a Philistine champion from Gath, named Goliath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. This man was a beast. Goliath was over 9ft. tall, he wore armor that weighed 125 pounds, he carried a javelin with a 15lb. spearhead, and his shield was so big that another man (his armor bearer) had to walk with him to carry it. Goliath stood in the valley and taunted the Israelites, saying, “Why are you all coming out to fight? I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” When Saul and the Israelites heard this, instead of having confidence in the God that had seen them through countless battles, the Bible says, “They were terrified and deeply shaken.”
There was a time when Saul operated in faith, but this is clearly a case when he was operating in fear. I have lots of teaching on fear on my website and we, as believers, should resist fear at all costs. Interestingly enough, I taught on “Overcoming the Fear Factor,” from this very passage, in Jail this past Friday night. Fear is an incapacitating force that can stop the strongest person in their tracks. Fear is actually an opposite form of faith. Faith expresses confidence in God and His promises. Fear expresses confidence in the enemy and his promises. I will stop here for today.
So what does this mean to you today? A few things:
1. Satan will attempt to get you to play by his rules. No one said the Israelites had to accept Goliath’s one-on-one winner-takes-all rule, but Saul foolishly accepted what the enemy established.
2. You cannot be in-fear and in-faith at the same time. Once Saul and his Soldiers were in-fear they had no confidence (faith) in God.
3. We have a real enemy. Just like God is real, satan is real, and fear is his greatest tool. If satan can get you to fear, he can get you to stop acting like God’s representative in the earth.
4. Our Enemy uses images. Goliath’s sheer size struck fear in the Israelites, even though, as a man, he was clearly not invincible. The enemy will attempt to make your situation seem worse than what it actually is. Because if you develop an image of failure, seeing yourself defeated, then you beat yourself before you ever got started.
5. God is bigger than any enemy. Paul asked the question, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31). The answer is: anyone who wants to lose! Goliath, as big and bad as he thought he was, wound up dead and decapitated. This is the fate of those who come up against God’s children. You must have more confidence (faith) in God’s ability than confidence (fear) in your enemy’s ability.
Closing Confession: Father, Your grace and favor are on me and they bring me peace and rest. I know You are with me and You always will be. This gives me hope and confidence. I am so convinced that You are ON, IN, WITH, and FOR me, that I will not allow fear to get a hold of my heart. Fear is not a factor for me. I overcome fear, because I am rooted and grounded in Your love for me. Perfected love casts out all fear. I declare: NO FEAR HERE! Fear has no power over me. My confidence is firmly rooted in my relationship with You, and since I am always in-faith, I will never be in-fear. I know I have a real enemy who wants to steal, kill, and destroy in my life. But I also know I have a real God, who shows up in my life in real ways, so I have nothing to fear. You are bigger than satan and any enemy that comes up against me. This reality brings me peace and I enter every day in Your REST. I thank You Father for helping me to rid my life of fear, worry, doubt, and unbelief. I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.