“Today the LORD will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!”
-1 Samuel 17:46-47
I’ll be honest, I wish I had the strength and the faith to be able to say that. I am not at this level of just..confidence..that I can take on the giants. And yet I am, at the same time. It’s weird. I think that, what it really comes down to, as we talked about last time, was the readiness of David-at a moments’ notice-to go into battle for the Lord. To develop that mindset, to be ready in season and out of season, it takes time. I have no doubt I can get there; I very much want to. And you should too. So while I may not be there yet, in disciplining myself to be at that level I am, in effect, ready at all times. So with the help of the Lord, I can always give an answer for what I believe.
Isn’t that interesting? That God doesn’t call us to necessarily come to serve Him when we have achieved some X, Y, and Z list of goals that prove we are ready. He uses those who are willing to learn and willing to fight, even if they feel themselves inadequate. He will always give us what we need, but we have to be willing to try and to strive. And that was a huge factor in David’s life. He was ready, and God made him able.
Why is there a distinction between ready and able? it’s a matter of spiritual…readiness, for lack of a better term. Some people are completely ready to go all in for the Lord-but God has to temper their spirit, and show them a thing or two before they are able to do the work HE has for them. And others are very much equipped and blessed by the Lord to do His work, but aren’t ready to make that leap into His service. They are two sides of the same coin, because they go hand in hand. David was ready to serve the Lord-He dropped everything at the sight of injustice being done to His God. And he was also spiritually able enough to go into battle, because the Lord was with Him. Look at verses 32-37 (a long passage, but bear with me.)
“32 “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” 33 “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”
34 But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35 I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. 36 I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! 37 The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”
Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!””
I want to look at two things here: David’s able spirit in terms of the people, and the giant.
1. Being able to stand against the people
Saul never questions David’s willingness-his readiness-to go fight. What he questions is His ability to carry out the task at hand. The world may do the same thing to you-heck, even those who call themselves “Christians” may do the same thing whenever you face giants in your life. Nobody can question your readiness and willingness to fight. But everyone can plague you with doubt, asking if you’re really able to do this, if you’re able to deal with the pressure,
if you’re able to come up with the “right words” and “right speech” to win over that person,
if you’re able to muster up the courage to give a speech that centers around Christ at your school,
if you’re able to withstand the criticism and mockery of carrying around a bible at school all the time,
if you’re able to take on the criticism of giving most of your money to buy food for the poor,
if you’re able to deal with the world coming against you on whatever you do because inside, you know it’s what God wants.
if you’re able to deal with everyone coming against you because the “right” thing doesn’t fit in with what’s acceptable-in the world or in the church. What’s worse, is that everyone will try and tell you how you SHOULD be doing it. Saul, even when he consents, gives David his armor to go fight the giant. But David refuses it, because he already has a plan given by God. I’m not saying to refuse all counsel-advice from people who are deep in the Lord, or have been in similar situations, is good. But anyone who tells you something contrary to the word of God-the people in the world who say you shouldn’t do it, it’s not worth it; or those in the church who want you to soften your message, to fit in, to use this five-step plan instead, to use this gimmick, to not preach hell..those people do not deserve your ears. People may even have good sounding ideas. The armor wasn’t a bad idea; he was going to fight a giant. But, like the armor, that kind of advice can weigh you down and burden you in trying to do your work for the Lord.
And the thing is, on our own, we can’t be able. We can’t withstand these attacks and attempts to “help” and such things.
But Christ is able.
David says that he defeated the lion and the bear, but he says it was because the Lord was there with him. On our own it’s so hard to not succumb to the pressures of this world, but with Christ we can stand up to everyone that tells us we aren’t gonna be able to accomplish what we set out to do. If we really are in God’s will, and doing what He would have us to do, nothing can stop us. He makes us able.
2. Being able to stand against the giant
As well as being able to stand up to people around you, God equips us to be able to stand against the giants in our lives as well. David went in there, not with the wisdom and the weapons the world tried to give to him, but literally with the belief that God already had the victory. This is one of the more trusting moments in the Bible-David, a strong man, but still completely unprotected versus a giant who had been fighting all the days of his life. But isn’t this how God works? He takes those who are seemingly unfit for the job and it turns out they are the only person for that job. God knows exactly what He is doing with you and I, no matter what situation we may be facing. It may seem like something that we have no clue how to deal with-we’re completely exposed and unprotected, and all we have is the fact that God is with us. Joshua 1:9 says that “9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”. It’s also mentioned numerous times throughout the Old Testament. It is a COMMAND that we not be afraid. With the Lord on our side, whom do we have to fear? Now, of course, being human, we do get afraid.
But I personally am striving to have a David attitude about situations. I don’t want to worry, I don’t want to be anxious anymore. Instead, I want to go right into the situation, following His lead. Like David says, the LORD rescues His people, but not with the conventional wisdom the world possesses. He does it in extraordinary ways, in mysterious fashion, to show everyone that He is God. I want to believe that and trust in that with everything in me, like David does. I want to be ready and willing to fight when need be, and I want to trust that God can give me whatever it is I need to be able to fight the good fight.
I want to be ready, and able, for my God.