The Battle Belongs to the Lord

At 8:17 pm on the evening of March 3, 1943, air raid sirens begin to scream in London, England. Taxi drivers immediately pulled their vehicles over to the side of the road, and buses emptied their passengers. Motorists slammed their brakes on, and people began looking up into the sky and running down the boulevard. Some fell face first on the sidewalk; others covered their heads. Still others cried out, “They’re beginning to drop them!” Gunfire could be heard in the distance, and nearby antiaircraft forces began launching a steady stream of rockets. People continued to search the sky for sights of Nazi airplanes, and the fact that they saw none did nothing to dampen their hysteria. Many people raced toward the Bethnal Green Underground Station, where more than 500 citizens had already taken refuge, and where more than 15 hundred would join them in the next 10 minutes.

Trouble began when these safety seekers all reached the entryway to the underground station at the same time. One young mother, carrying a baby, began hurrying down the 19 uneven steps, and she lost her balance. Her stumble interrupted the flow of the crowd, causing a domino of people to tumble down on top of her. Matters only worsened when the late arrivers thought they were being deliberately blocked from the entryway. They were not, but nevertheless they began to push.

The chaos lasted for only few minutes, but the disentangling of the bodies lasted four hours. In the end 173 men, women, and children had died, and not a single bomb had been dropped. It turns out that Nazi bombs didn’t kill the people, fear did. Fear loves a good stampede.

Have you ever been afraid? What do you fear? Fear is everywhere! Everywhere we turn we hear the voice of fear. We worry about the future, about politics, and our health. The media fills our ears with the noise of unemployment, murders, and a failing economy. The doctor’s report flood our ears with cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart attacks, tumors. Fear has been making an extremely good living lately. In the year 2020, fear has pretty much occupied center stage throughout the world. Fear fueled by such things as COVID 19, shutdowns, lockdowns, layoffs, the downturn in the economy, violence, riots, looting, racism, division, politics, elections, terrorism, the Middle East, climate change, unstable dictators collecting nuclear missiles.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. The Almighty tells us not to fear because He is in control of every situation. He is our refuge and strength! God is our help in times of trouble. So, we don’t have anything to fear! God will be with us. We can face the future fearless. Fear will cripple even the strongest. It can prevent us from moving forward to receive all that God has for us. Fear brings turmoil in our hearts and minds. When we are filled with so much fear, we can’t think straight. The only time fear is mentioned in a positive light in the Bible is when it refers to reverence for God. One psychologist recently wrote that the average child today experiences and lives with the same level of fear as a psychiatric patient in the 1950s.

There may be opposition in the year ahead, but God will give us victory over it. Our role is to trust Him completely and genuinely. God will never leave us. God does not want us to fear, to be afraid.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.

The story of David and Goliath is perhaps the favorite of all the Bible stories for many people. Everyone loves a story where the underdog wins against all odds.

Goliath had all the things that would normally impress and intimidate. David was not impressed. David was not intimidated. David knew no matter how big the giant might be, and no matter how powerful he might be, God is greater. God is all-powerful.

1 Samuel 17:1–3 “Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.

The Valley of Elah was more like a canyon about a mile wide, and on one slope was the army of Israel and on the other, the army of the Philistines. Goliath was huge. 1 Samuel 17:4 “A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span.” Goliath was somewhere near 9′ 9″ tall.

1 Samuel 17:5–7 “He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.”

His body armor weighed between 175 and 200 pounds. Goliath also wore a bronze helmet, and bronze leggings to protect his shins, and he carried a bronze javelin or spear slung between his shoulders. The head of his spear alone weighed six hundred shekels of iron, or about 20 to 25 pounds. He also had a “shield-carrier” who walked before him with a man sized shield.

Imagine how frightening it would be to take Goliath on in a battle to the death? The odds would not be in your favor.

Goliath shouted a challenge. 1 Samuel 17:8, 9 “Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.”

Goliath proposed a practice commonly used in the Eastern world, and that is, a one-on-one fight. Winner take all. Goliath proposed to fight whoever Israel brought him. If Goliath won, the Philistines army won. If Israel’s warrior was victorious, so was the Israelite army.

His challenge went on for forty days. 1 Samuel 17:16. For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand.

Goliath is like any giant we face. Worry and fear don’t just come once and leave. Sins and addictions and anxiety doesn’t come once and leave. They come and come and come back to plague us. They challenge us to fight them under our own strength. They make us believe that we cannot win against them.

David was tending to the family sheep about ten or fifteen miles away, up in Bethlehem. He was too young to be fighting in the army but his three oldest brothers were off fighting in Saul’s army.

David’s father was very concerned about his brothers. 1 Samuel 17:17–18 1Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. 18 Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them.

David wasn’t going there to fight. He was just bringing some food and to check on his brothers.

1 Samuel 17:20. Early in the morning David left the flock in the care of a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. As David gets to the edge of the Israelite camp he sees the troops.

1 Samuel 17:22–23. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. David is standing there talking to his three brothers, when all of a sudden, he hears yelling from the Philistine side. It’s Goliath, challenging God and Israel.

1 Samuel 17:24. Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear. Goliath has been challenging Israel for 40 days but this is the first time David heard the challenge. Everyone around him starts to run and hide. Not one of them will stand up to Goliath. David sees Goliath, just like the all the other people saw. Everyone else sees an enemy they can’t defeat, but David sees an enemy God can defeat.

1 Samuel 17:26–27. David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” And the people answered him in this manner, saying, “So shall it be done for the man who kills him.”

Here’s what King Saul promised to the guy who kills Goliath. Great riches, his daughter’s hand in marriage, and he promised to exempt his father’s house from paying taxes.

You can’t let a Goliath take over your territory. He’ll move in. He’ll take your thoughts that normally ought to be on God, and he’ll put them on himself.

1 Samuel 17:32–33 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” 33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

David replies in 1 Samuel 17:37. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” We need to remember what David kept on his mind. God has been faithful to me in the past and he’s going to keep being faithful. God brought me this far. It is God who has sustained me.

When your giants call your name, remember that God loves you. God is your strength and you are not alone. David basically says “I can defeat Goliath by God’s strength. It was God’s strength that saved David from the lion, the bear and would give him power over Goliath.”

Saul says, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.” 1 Samuel 17:40. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. What’s particularly cool about this story is that it’s a perfect example of how God operates. He magnifies His name when we are weak. We don’t have to be a public speaker or strong or good to look at. We don’t have to have all the answers to be blessed by God. He honors our faith. All He asks is that we trust Him. God is just waiting for His moment, waiting for us to trust Him so He can empower us to battle our giants.

1 Samuel 17:41–46. Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. 42 He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!”

45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.

We live in challenging times. We can fear the unknowns of the future. There are real concerns we are facing. But we must have more faith in God than we have fear within ourselves. God can handle the problem no matter how big and scary it can be.

1 Samuel 17:47. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” We must fight our giants God’s way.

1 Samuel 17:49–50.  Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground.

50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

The Battle Belongs to the Lord

In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land
The battle belongs to the Lord
No weapon that’s fashioned against us shall stand
The battle belongs to the Lord

When the power of darkness comes in like a flood
The battle belongs to the Lord
He’s raised up a standard, the power of His blood
The battle belongs to the Lord

When your enemy presses in hard do not fear
The battle belongs to the Lord
Take courage my friend, your redemption is near
The battle belongs to the Lord

And we sing glory, honor
Power and strength to the lord
We sing glory, honor
Power and strength to the lord.

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