Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Slaying Giants - Entry 6

Using the historical account recorded in 1 Samuel 17 as a metaphor for the cultural battles raging in the nations we next read, “Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze. He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. And the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him. And he stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, and said to them, ‘Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.’ Again the Philistine said, ‘I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.’”

In the previous entry, I emphasized that there are “sides”, there is a battle raging over what actually and ultimately belongs to God. In the passage above, as we see Goliath step forth, we can reflect upon the fact that each ideology sends forth its “giants” to represent it. These giants are clad in their necessary and appropriate “armor”, toting their necessary offensive and defensive equipment. Paul instructs the people of God to do the same. He compares the armor with such things as truth, righteousness, taking good news wherever you go, faith, salvation, the Word of God and prayer. Recently 111,000,000 people watch two teams clad in football armor attempt to move a little leather ball back and forth on a field. I can guarantee you that each of these teams and the coaching staff had watched something throughout the two week period between their previous game and Super Bowl XLV; they watched film of the opposing team. This is done in order to be as thoroughly familiar as possible with their opponent’s strategy, techniques, strengths and weaknesses. In contrast, it is often said that those training to spot counterfeit money spend most of their time studying real money. Both points are significant. A well-rounded approach involves understanding one’s own belief system as thoroughly as possible. Surely, we need to study the revelation God has given us, the playbook that reveals the principles by which we are to approach the “game”. Sadly, it is often the case that professing Christians do not do so. It is also important to identify the “giants” being sent forth and the ideology they represent. This, I would say, is rarely given attention to within the armies of the Living God. It is not as though it has been totally neglected, there are those who have studied such topics and make the information available. However, for individuals or congregations to benefit from such works, pastors, teachers and leaders must gather the troupes, emphasize the importance of equipping the saints in this fashion and encourage as many as possible to do the hard work of thinking through such information.

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