Everyday Encounter with God

Pastor Sylvia's Encounters with God in the Midst of Everyday Life


The Battle Belongs to the Lord

This week I re-studied the story of David and Goliath. Sometimes there are situations where I need to take a stand. But I’m tired, the holidays are coming, and let’s face it— I don’t want to fight people and issues that are bigger and stronger than me.   

We all have them, Goliaths that loom larger than life: unrepented sin, addiction, cancer, depression. The giant points to our failures: promises broken, marriage dissolutions, relationships fractured beyond repair. He laughs and tells us that we’re losers because we gave in last time, or wimps because we didn’t fight at all.  

I keep hearing that people would be more successful if they had better childhoods. But look at David. He was frequently mistreated by his father, Jesse. Normally the baby of the family would be the child most pampered. Not here. Jesse focused on his older sons’ potential. He treated David like a servant, not a beloved child.

Then God instructed the Prophet Samuel to go to Jesse’s house and identify the king to replace Saul. Jesse called all his sons to meet Samuel… all of them except his youngest. David was left in the field tending sheep. Why bother him? His older brothers had potential—he didn’t. Yet, David remained submissive to the will of both his fathers—earthly and eternal. In a stunning story twist and turn, Samuel chose David as the future king.

I would have wanted a bit of preferential treatment at that point: better food, a comfortable bed, maybe a donkey to ride while tending the sheep. Not David. After his anointing, he went back to shepherding with humility and grace.

Meanwhile, the Creator of the Universe was personally designing David’s boot camp.

When David—still a child-- walked into Israel’s military camp as recorded in 1 Samuel, there were hundreds of experienced Hebrew soldiers. They looked more ready than David. They had spears and swords and armor. They’d been trained in combat. Any one of them could have volunteered to fight the Philistine bully, Goliath. None did.

In contrast, David walked in wearing shepherd’s clothes and carrying a small bag of rocks. He didn’t look like a warrior. He hadn’t worked on muscle building, hadn’t studied strategies for killing a man twice his size.

We don’t get ready for Goliath by getting tougher and meaner. We prepare by developing a heart that is submissive to, humble before, and worshiping of the One who really leads the army.

The most important thing David did while tending his father’s sheep was strengthen his faith through worship. Alone, he communed with God in prayer. He worshipped on his stringed instrument. He wrote psalms that praised God. He developed a relationship with the Lord and practiced discerning His voice.

David wasn’t cloistered on the hillside with an eye toward being the king. He was simply enjoying his relationship with God. But that relationship was the foundation for everything else God had planned for David.

Faith doesn’t measure the size of the giant. It doesn’t care who gets the credit, whose idea was the best, or whose special skill made it happen. Faith isn’t ten easy steps we study on-line while slurping down a latte before work. Faith isn’t about us at all. It’s about the One we worship.  

Sincere faith is rooted in our experienced relationship with Him.

God never sends us into battle without preparing us for whatever He asks us to fight: bullies, negativity, abuse, deceit, criticism, sin—ours and the sins of others.   

Today’s challenges prepare us for tomorrow’s giants.  Sometimes I need to remember that humble submission and sincere worship are the only training I need in a future where God has already planned my battles.