Though we may think of ourselves as peace-loving people, once we commit our lives to Jesus we enter a war zone. The fight is between good and evil—between God and Satan, the temporary prince of this world. We who belong to Messiah Yeshua must not only declare our allegiance; but be ready to defend ourselves and others from attack. The battle, though not fought with physical weapons, is just as real as a military war and victory requires battle strategy. Knowing that, we can learn from David’s tactics against Goliath (1 Samuel, chapter 17).
David was young and untrained in battle, a shepherd, not a soldier. Goliath, an experienced gladiator, was bigger and stronger. Yet with God’s help David was victorious.
David was properly motivated
The rewards promised by King Saul for the man who would defeat Goliath (I Samuel 17:25) did not motivate David, nor was he motivated by a desire to eradicate the shame of Israel’s army. He purposed to fight Goliath to defend the honor of the Lord. In verse 26 he exclaimed, For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
If we choose the wrong battle, or even the right battle for selfish reasons, we may go down in defeat. Yet one cause is always right: the defense of God’s Word and His honor where the vast majority either defies Him or denies His very existence—a world that Ephesians 2:2 and 6:12 tell us is influenced and controlled by Satan, the arch enemy of God.
David did not fear the enemy
David knew that Goliath, the “uncircumcised Philistine,” was strong, skilled and equipped with heavy armor. Yet the Philistines trusted in Dagon, the fish god, a mere idol that was no match for the living God. Equate the words “uncircumcised Philistine” with “uncircumcised-in-heart-through-the-New Covenant” and the analogy will fit our present circumstances as well.
We live in an age when many are so dazzled by the Philistine weapons of wealth, sophistication and intellectualism that they cannot see the loving God who wants to rescue them from destruction. Satan often uses such unsuspecting, caring, honorable people to transmit philosophies and attitudes that keep this world filled with strife and away from God’s light and redemption in Christ. Nevertheless, Scripture assures us that the Holy Spirit who indwells God’s people is stronger than the prince of this world (I John 4:4). By His power in us, we blood-bought believers, the circumcised-in-heart, can fearlessly defend God’s Word and God’s truths. We can disarm those who knowingly or unknowingly arm themselves with Satan’s arsenal. We can pull down strongholds and cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (cf 2 Corinthians 10:4,5), with the assurance that He will give us the victory.
David chose his own weapon
To match the enemy’s weapons, Saul offered David his own armor and weapons. Though they were given with good intentions, David declined them. He knew it would be a mistake to use them, because although they were the best to be had, they were unsuitable for him. Instead he chose only the invisible shield of divine protection and the slingshot that, with God’s help, had brought him past victories as he tended his sheep.
It would be an equally serious mistake for us to fight with the enemy’s choice of weapons, or something unsuitable that a well-intentioned helper might provide. We must choose an appropriate weapon that we have skill to use. The sword of God’s Word is always appropriate. Yeshua fought the temptations of Satan with Scripture (Matthew 4:4-10). We in the Body of Christ also have other weapons—various gifts of the Spirit described in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Those blessed with a certain skill, a talent for speech or communication, perseverance in prayer, great faith, some special insight or great knowledge of Scripture, are to use that gift to fight for God.
David tackled the problem in stages
First David realized that someone was needed to take up the battle. Then he purposed to do it. Unwaveringly he told Saul, “Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine” (I Samuel 17:32). Having made the commitment, David sought the proper weapon. Finally, when he found Saul’s armor unsuitable, he chose the tried and true—five stones for his trusty slingshot.
David kept his opposition at a distance
David was cautious in his approach to Goliath. He ran toward him only a short distance and brought him down with a stone from his slingshot. Only then did he allow himself to get close enough to kill Goliath with the giant’s own sword.
Like David, we should not endanger ourselves by getting too close to the enemy. We should get just close enough to fight on our own terms, but far enough away so as not to get wounded. As we aim in the power and protection of the Lord, we will hit the target and win the battle. Finally, as the Philistines fled when they lost the battle (I Samuel 17:51), promises that if we resist the devil, he too will flee from us James 4:7.
So be like David, learn and fight our Goliaths for God. Like David, let’s remember that our cause is just. Let’s be brave in the Lord, using the skill He has given us, and He will grant us victory.