|Volume 24 Number 3 March 2022
Johnny O. Trail
Most children and adults who have attended Bible school have heard the story of David and Goliath. It seems incredible that a keeper of sheep would be able to slay a nine-foot-tall battle-hardened warrior, but that is exactly what happened according to the biblical account. With the help of God, David was able to overcome an enemy who had caused the armies of Israel to remain frightfully away from the field of battle. For a moment, one might consider the account of David and Goliath and make application to the spiritual warfare that we face on a regular basis.
As enemies go, Goliath was in total, vocal rebellion to the army of Saul. Goliath’s impressive stature and words of disdain appear in 1 Samuel 17:4-10. These verses say:
And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the 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 be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” (NKJV)
Those in rebellion to God and the followers of Christ are mixed in response to what they disdain. Some are protagonists behind the scenes of our culture, while others are militant and outspoken regarding anything biblical or Christian in nature. It seems that the last few decades have revealed several who are outspoken about their hatred of Christianity. Goliath would fall into this category as one considers the boldness of his challenge.
The Israelites who faced Goliath and his fellow Philistines in battle were extremely fearful of this impressive champion. First Samuel 17:11 reads, “When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.” Sometimes the people of God are afraid of those who oppose them. While our battles are not typically physical in nature, there can be serious consequences for standing for what we believe. Some have lost family members, jobs and even their lives for practicing their Christianity. These facts sometimes cause the people of God to become fearful.
The outcome of the battle is not always determined by the size of the opponent one faces. While David was smaller in stature, he was not afraid to fight the Philistine champion. First Samuel 17:32 records, “Then David said to Saul, ‘Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.’” Sometimes the people of God need to renew their courage and realize that no battle is too big for God to win. David understood that no power on earth could defeat him if God fought with him. Note 1 Samuel 17:45 where David responded, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” While the enemies of Christ may seem powerful, they cannot stand against the Creator of the universe.
Consequently, the children of God need to realize that we have been promised God’s assistance in the battles we face. Hebrews 13:5-6 says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Therefore, we may boldly declare, “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” David knew that Goliath’s power was limited in scope. That is, human beings can only act in detrimental ways to God’s people on this earth. We should not fear others. Matthew 10:28 says, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” This being the case, we need to understand that God provides guarantees in the face of temptation for His people (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Finally, Christians need to appreciate that Christ has already won the battle for us. David knew that the outcome of the battle was victory for the champion of God. First Samuel 17:47 says, “Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands.” Similarly, if we faithfully live in Christ, we shall overcome the trials, tribulations and temptations of this life. Revelation 3:21 reads, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
One of the great themes of the Book of Revelation is overcoming. The ability to overcome sin and death has been provided through Jesus Christ. Romans 8:1-2 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Our Lord fought and won a battle at Calvary to secure the salvation of souls. Potentially and conditionally, all people can be saved if they avail themselves to and obey the teachings of the Gospel. The alternative will result in eternal torment (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9) and endless regret (Luke 16:19-31; 2 Peter 2:20).
Perilous Times Today
There are several passages of Scripture that speak to our current situation. These passages are not necessarily prophecies as much as they assure us that evil desires are nothing new. Paul informed Timothy that “evil men and imposters will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13 NKJV). Demar Elam expresses the reality of the situation in his statement, “Evil circles the globe while truth puts her boots on.” Evil holds drawing power due to its acceptance. Once it gains acceptance, evil picks up speed due to its willing accomplices. Listen to Paul’s description in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Evil steals all care for others’ wellbeing while pleasing the god of self. Whatever seems good to the eyes and pleasurable at the moment drives the willing participant to engage in his or her desires. These activities not only jade the eyes but also harden the heart. The now victim becomes so enamored by evil that he or she is unwilling to accept a worldview apart from sin. Sin rules over one as a king (John 8:34). It promises freedom but enslaves the poor soul to a life of heavy burdens.
How do we keep ourselves from this life of servitude? Paul encouraged Timothy to turn away from such people who engage in those activities (2 Timothy 3:5). He further exhorted Timothy, “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:14-15). Timothy (as well as we who live today) could find strength in the Scriptures to overcome such evil desire. Notice, knowledge of the Scripture is not enough but the continuing in the things he learned sufficed. The practice of Scripture helps the reader to change the mind concerning evil desire. Jesus’ words possess the truth that brings true freedom (John 8:32). The words of Christ give life to the hearer (John 6:63) and open the eyes of those blinded by sin (John 9:39). Jesus proclaimed, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12).
The acceptance of evil does not make it right or good. We have the ability to decide which life we live. We can choose to disregard the goodness found in the Lord and follow evil. We may desire to live carelessly, fulfilling the desires of the flesh. However, we can choose to forsake the evil of the world. We can change our hearts and minds through the knowledge of Jesus. We can choose to live our best lives today! The most difficult truth to accept is that we are given the ability to choose. Let us choose to honor the Lord in life and glorify Him in our death.