Thursday, February 17, 2011

Slaying Giants - Entry 11

Using the historical account recorded in 1 Samuel 17 as a metaphor for the cultural battles raging in the nations we next read, “…David said, ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and may the Lord be with you.’ Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. And David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, ‘I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.’ And David took them off. And he took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.”

David recognized the appropriateness of including and relying upon the Lord in this huge endeavor he was about to undertake. Saul, after discouraging David’s decision to face Goliath, yielded by saying, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.” Having the power, presence and provision of the Lord as our source of strength is crucial. As I’ve emphasized previously, this does not exclude employing our God-given human capabilities. We are not faced with an “either/or” situation but are to find the appropriate “both/and” balance. Let me suggest that, though Saul said, “may the Lord be with you”, he was inclined to rely upon his armor. I could take time to formulate a list of things we tend to rely upon over and above the Lord but I’ll allow you to formulate your own. It is often the case that we can say the right thing but operate in a contrary manner. David, however, found Saul’s armor to be too cumbersome. Again, in a previous post I mentioned that Paul encourages us to put on the armor of God consisting of truth, righteousness, taking good news wherever you go, faith, salvation, the Word of God and prayer.

Next, David chooses five smooth stones for his sling. I am not going to speculate on the meaning of smooth stones or the significance of the number five. I will simply say that we should have a plan and preparation for the battle in which we engage. Five stones and a sling seem insufficient for the task David was about to undertake but in his skillful hand, together with the Lord, it proved effective. As we walk by the Spirit, receiving training in righteousness from the Word of God and gain understanding about the opposing army and its strategy, we might not always seem to have the preparation that conforms to the standards of this world but God can multiply our efforts and resources as we exercise faith in Him.

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