Week beginning: 24th May, 2015
By Jeremy Cooke | London
"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… This day... the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 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…"1 Samuel 17 v 45-47 (NIV)
If you had to use one word to sum up Goliath, what would it be? In 1 Samuel 17, the word is "defiant". It appears 6 times by reference to him, in vv10, 23, 25, 26, 36 and 45. Goliath sets himself up against God and the people of God - with his spear shaft the width of a weaver's beam, its iron point weighing 7 kgs and with the sword that never left its sheath that day until used by David for decapitation.
As a boy, I used to sing along with others: Draw your swords, draw your swords, for the battle is the Lord's. Whilst relying on God's word is, of course, always good, the chorus runs the risk of missing the point. Swords, spears, human power and resources count for nothing - it is God who determines how the battle will fall out. The battle is the Lord's. The outcome is in His hands.
We are almost certainly usually wrong to compare our own problems and issues with David's situation. There, Goliath was defying the Lord and that could only lead ultimately to one outcome. The Lord will not allow anyone to defy Him for ever and His authority is supreme. Those who stand against the Lord cannot ultimately prevail.
God is not on the side of the big battalions, however formidable they may seem. His purposes cannot be frustrated by human powers, authorities or governments, whether despotic or elected, or even law courts or judges. The battle is the Lord's.
Will we trust in the God who stands with His people? In the God who saves, but not with sword or spear? The battle is His if we stand in His Name.
Thank God and take courage from the fact that the battle belongs to the Lord.
Bring to God the things that are problematic today and ask for his peace and guidance.