One Sling Shot Will Do
Our next story is about a young shepherd boy named David. One of the enemies of Israel was a people named the Philistines. The reason God had allowed this enemy to attack Israel was because God wanted them to know that they were His people, and that their army was the army of the God of Israel (Judges 3:1-4). No other nation was known as God’s chosen people, and no other army was known as the army of the God of Israel. Their enemies, including the Philistines, knew that the Israelites served a mighty God, and that their army was not just an ordinary army, but an extraordinary army because of the God they served. Consequently, the Philistines had stopped invading Israel for a period of time (I Samuel 7:13).
However, one day they decided to attack Israel once again. But they wanted to be certain that they would win the battle, so they devised a plan whereby the Israelite army would forget that they were the army of God, and would, therefore, not rely on the power of God to help them fight the battle. The plan of the Philistines came in the form of a giant named Goliath. And he truly was a giant, for he was over nine feet tall. His height was sufficient to make the Israelite army feel defeated (I Samuel 17:1-7). But it was not just his height that caused them to forget who they really were, it was his voice as well, for his voice was very loud, as we can know from I Samuel 17:8-10 Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.”
The Israelite army had heard his shouts every morning since they had gathered for battle. Each morning, the message had been the same; he called them the servants of Saul and challenged them to a battle. Perhaps, for the first few days, they may have questioned his remark, for they knew they were not the servants of Saul; they were the servants of the God of Israel. But then, as time went on, doubt had begun to set in, and they had begun to believe that he may have been right after all, and that they were just servants of Saul, for they knew no-one among them who could fight this giant. He was just too tall, too strong, and too loud. But God had seen the situation and God knew He needed to step in to remind His army who they really were; the army of the God of Israel. And so God sent them help in the form of a young shepherd boy named David.
(David) “Have you ever seen a giant? I had never seen one until today. And that is not so surprising because I am a shepherd boy (I Samuel 17:15). And that means I am usually with sheep rather than with people. But today my father spoke to me and told me to go and see some of my brothers who are in the army as soldiers. He told me that he wanted me to bring them some food. And at the same time I should find out how they are doing (I Samuel 17:17-19). So I left early in the morning and it took me a while before I found them. Now my father had said to me that I should be careful because the army was in battle with the Philistine army and they had a giant among them. By the time I arrived at the battle scene both sides had put themselves in position (I Samuel 17:20-21). That is when I got to see this giant whose name is Goliath. I did not only get to see him, I got to hear him for he shouted at the army (I Samuel 17:23). To my shock and horror the Israelite army ran away from him (I Samuel 17:24). Don’t they know who this giant is? He may be a giant. But he is only an uncircumcised giant (I Samuel 17:26). And I knew that God would make sure that he would be defeated. So I went to the king and I told him that I would fight this giant for God would surely help me to kill him (I Samuel 17:32). Now, I am not a soldier. As I already said, I am simply a shepherd boy. So I do not know how to use ordinary weaponry. But I know how to use a sling and a stone. I told the king as well that God had helped me to protect my sheep from a lion and a bear (I Samuel 17:34-35). So, definitely, God would help me this time to get rid of this giant Goliath for them. After I had spoken to the king, I then went to look for some stones. And once I found them, I went quickly onto the field (I Samuel 17:40). And this is what I said to Goliath. “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. 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. All those gathered 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 (I Samuel 17:45-47).”
(David) “As soon as I had spoken these words, I ran towards him and pulled my sling (I Samuel 17:48). And God directed my stone so that it hit the giant right in his forehead and he fell face down (I Samuel 17:49). I then ran towards him, took his sword and cut off his head with his sword (I Samuel 17:51). That so encouraged my brothers and the other soldiers that they right away began to pursue the Philistine army. And they destroyed them (I Samuel 17:52-53). That’s when they once again knew that they are the army of the God of Israel.”
This is such a great story. But it is not just a great story, it is a story we can learn so much from. After all, we, as believers, are part of the army of God and we too may feel so defeated at times by the challenges we face on a daily basis, so that we may forget who we are and forget to rely on God’s power to help us be victorious in our battles. Now, we know that our battles are not physical battles, as was the case with David and with the Israelite army. Our battles are spiritual battles and we will need spiritual weaponry in order to be victorious, as is described for us in Ephesians 6:10-17 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armour of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and, after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word God.
Our weapon against the enemy is the sword of the Spirit or the word of God, as we can read in Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Moreover, as believers, we need to make sure that we are dressed in the armour of God to protect us against the onslaughts of the enemy. The first piece of the armour is the belt of truth. This refers to Jesus being the Truth (John 14:6). The next piece of this armour is the breastplate of righteousness. This speaks of the fact that as believers we are righteous in Christ (II Corinthians 5:21). Then Paul mentions that our feet are to be fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
Of course, we know that Jesus says, “My peace I give you." (John 14:27).
He is Himself our peace. (Ephesians 2:14).
Thereafter, we are to take up the shield of faith. (II Corinthians 5: 7).
And then we must not forget to take the helmet of salvation for God did not appoint us to wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:9).
As believers, we need to remember that God’s power to overcome the enemy is available to us twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. All we need to do is to be obedient to God, be dressed in the armour of God, and use the sword of the Spirit to defeat the enemy. Jesus used the Sword of the Spirit and the Word of God to defeat satan when satan attacked Him in the desert (Luke 4:1-13). We must learn to use the same method that Jesus used when attacked by the enemy, so we too will be victorious against our enemy, just as David was against Goliath. God wants us to know that, no matter the kind of battle we face, God will enable us to be victorious. All we need to do is to use the weaponry He has given us. This weaponry may not look powerful in the eyes of the world but it is powerful in God’s eyes, as we can read in II Corinthians 10:3- 5
For, though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
In this way we will be triumphant over our enemy and God will receive the glory He so richly deserves.