One of the most well-known and probably most frequently told stories of the Old Testament is that of the battle between David and Goliath. The battle is set like many other historic battles; Israel was perched on one mountain ridge and beyond the valley on the other side is the Philistine army. There is a ‘standoff’ as the Philistines best man, and he’s quite some man, takes the valley floor. Goliath challenges the leaders of Israel to send their best fighter down to meet him. Whoever wins in the proposed hand to hand combat wins the war! Simple, but who have Israel got that is an equal match to an experienced and extremely strong champion warrior whose physical and military stature is of massive proportions?

You will recall the story I am sure, the youthful David takes him on but without armour, without a sword or a spear and slays him with a stone from a sling. He takes Goliaths sword and chops his head off. This is the sort of stuff that films are made of!

So, if I asked you where the real battle of this story was fought you’d look at me quizzically and either think me stupid for asking the question or perhaps feel I’d lost the plot! You’d probably say “It’s in the valley, between David and Goliath of course”. But is that the real battle? What territory is being fought for here in this battle? We are perhaps too quick to hail David as the victor and hero of the story. Sure, he’s been extremely bold, but even he says that his victory is not his!

The real battle being fought here was for the hearts and minds of God’s people - Israel. The battleground was, in fact, an internal one; this was not simply just a fight between our hero David and the evil Goliath.

David says in 1 Samuel 17:46-47 that it is the Lord who gave Goliath into his hands, the battle isn’t David’s it’s The Lords and not just that, The Lord is the true victor. The Lord seems to have set up this battle for a purpose! But, if He has, why has He? Look at these verses, David speaking to Goliath said “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands.....that all the assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword and spear; for the battle is the Lords.......” The ground that is being contended for is not simply, Israel’s land or Saul’s sovereignty over Israel. The land the Lord is trying to occupy is the hearts of His people. The issue at stake is one of trust! Where is God’s people’s trust? Is it in the might of the sword and the spear or in the name of the Lord?

The battleground is one for the hearts of His people. Nothing changes! The true battleground is always internal. Do we place our trust in our own might and strength, our own types of swords and spears or do we place our trust in the Lord? Maybe the battle that you thought you are fighting is in fact not the real battle!

 

Adrian Lowe, Amblescote Christian Centre