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(Part 18)


January 22, 2014

Today’s readings:
1 Samuel 17:32-51
Psalm 144:1-10

We are warriors, and we enter into spiritual warfare. It is a fight to the death with the evil one. We fight the wars of God. Like David, we “come against (the enemy) in the name of the Lord of hosts” (1 Sm 17:45b). As such, we can look to God for our power and our victory. “Flash forth lightning and scatter my foes; shoot your arrows and rout them.” (Ps 144:6).

Our enemy is powerful, much stronger and more battle-hardened than we are. We are in a classic David and Goliath struggle. “You cannot go up against this Philistine and fight with him, for you are only a youth, while he has been a warrior from his youth.” (1 Sm 17:33). How can we emerge victorious?

First, we “should not lose heart” (1 Sm 17:32a). We must not be intimidated by the power of the enemy.

Otherwise we will already be defeated even before we start to fight. We know God is with us. We know God sends us forth into battle. We choose to be brave.

Second, we should be confident in God’s victory. “Your servant has killed both a lion and a bear. This uncircumcised Philistine will be as one of them” (1 Sm 17:36a). Why such confidence? “For the battle belongs to the Lord, who shall deliver you into our hands.” (1 Sm 17:47b).

Third, we should be confident in God’s protection. “The same Lord who delivered me from the claws of the lion and the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Sm 17:37a). We look to the Lord who is “my safeguard and my fortress, my stronghold, my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.” (Ps 144:2). There will be many times when we will be bloodied, in great difficulties, suffering setbacks, hemmed in from all sides. But we can always call upon the Lord. “Reach out your hand from on high; deliver me from the many waters; rescue me from the hands of foreign foes.” (Ps 144:7).

Fourth, we should not conform to the tactics and weapons of the world and certainly not of our enemy. Saul dressed David in his armor but David took them off (1 Sm 17:38-39). Goliath had his “sword and spear and scimitar” (1 Sm 17:45a) while David only had “sling and stone” (1 Sm 17:50a). We need to “learn that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves.” (1 Sm 17:47a). The armor we put on is the armor of God. The weapons we wield are weapons of righteousness. The sword we use is the Bible. God trains us and shows us the way to using our weapons. Like David, we look to “the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, my fingers for war” (Ps 144:1).

Fifth, we should be zealous in protecting God’s flock, and we must be bold and aggressive in repelling the attacks of the enemy. “Your servant used to tend his father’s sheep, and whenever a lion or bear came to carry off a sheep from the flock, I would chase after it, attack it, and snatch the prey from its mouth.” (1 Sm 17:34-35).

We are warriors engaged in intense spiritual war, and we look to our God. “You give victory to kings; you delivered David your servant.” (Ps 144:10). We are empowered to witness. God did not give us a spirt of cowardice. We choose to be brave. The victory is at hand.

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