As I mentioned Monday, this past weekend's Halloween-themed sermon was on battling our monsters drawing lessons from David's confrontation with Goliath. (h/t Fred for the lesson and Dave for the additional insight!)
Recall the epic battles in "Braveheart" with each nation's army lined up on opposite sides of the valley below. Remember the shouting back and forth, signaling strength and confidence. Now imagine that continuing on for 40 days and NO ONE ACTUALLY FIGHTING! I figure everyone would've been pretty hoarse after just a couple of days.
That is the scene David walks into in 1 Samuel, chapter 17. For 40 days the Philistine army had been lining up opposite the nation of Israel, daring them to fight. Leading the taunting was nine-foot tall Goliath and not a single Israelite dared to take him on. Except for young, diminutive David.
I think the reason the army of Israel was afraid to fight was because they were thinking of a conventional fight, taking on strength with strength. Of course that strategy works if your strengths match up. But if you know you're at a disadvantage, it is wise not to fight.
"Suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace." (Luke 14:31-32)
But this wasn't a conventional fight. The army of Israel wasn't fighting alone. They had the power of the Lord Almighty fighting beside them.
"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." (2 Corinthians 10:4)
Somehow they forgot that in the face of someone stronger. But David didn't. He remembered the LORD his God. But he still needed a strategy of his own.
It is obvious that he was thinking of this while with Saul when he told him he "could not go [in Saul's armor]" because he "was not used to them." (1 Samuel 17:39) He knew his only chance was to match his speed against Goliath's strength.
Also note that he picked up not just one, but five smooth stones. He expected he would need to get off more than one shot. He had a plan and he had a strategy.
But God had another strategy in mind. He only wanted one to stand up for His Name. So David only needed one shot to take down this giant.
Sometimes when facing our own inner demons, the sin that so easily entangles, we get stuck in a stare-down. We are too afraid to commit to the fight. Other times, we try and match strength for strength, but we can not overcome our sinful nature on our own. "When I want to do good, evil is right there with me." (Romans 7:21) So we need to try unconventional means. We need to plan. We need to be cunning. "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves." (Matthew 10:16) We need a strategy.
This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival hosted by Peter Pollock. This week's topic is strategy. Be sure to click the link to check out other posts!