One of the great anomalies of history is that the more things change the more things remain the same. We pride ourselves in the great changes, developments and new technology of the 21st century. For some reason we believe the church needs to keep up with the times. Therefore, we have all of these changes and developments and so-called improvements.
Yet, nothing really changes.
This is where spiritual warfare comes into play. You would think that after all of these years of growth and development that we would have grown beyond the need for spiritual warfare. In fact, I would be surprised if the majority of Christians today could define what spiritual warfare is all about.
One of the great types of spiritual warfare is found in the Old Testament, the battle between David and Goliath. This is not just a Sunday school story but rather a type of the spiritual warfare needed even in this age. All of the elements are right here in the story.
Never has there been a generation more in need of spiritual warfare and spiritual warriors than the present generation. Particularly is this true in the United States. Over the last two generations, there has been an emergent paganization of the American culture. As foreign cultures immigrate into the United States, they bring with them their spirituality.
I could be corrected here, but it is my opinion that there is not a false god or foreign worship or demonic ritual anywhere in the world but is found in the United States.
For us who are missionary minded this is in sense good news. The world that we are not able to reach today because of forbidding laws has now come to our shores. There is not a nationality or culture anywhere in the world but what can be found in the United States. This should spur us on to aggressive missionary activity. Nobody has been arrested in this country for proselytization. At least, not yet.
The thing we need to understand is that assaulting the enemy in the name of the Lord requires spiritual warfare and at the core of this warfare are spiritual warriors. Never have we needed such warriors as today.
Just think with me for a moment about the story of David and Goliath.
Goliath is a symbol of the world and all its values. As he stood before the Israelites, he represented the best the world could offer. His armor was superior to anything that any other nation, including Israel, had ever known. Here was a man who never lost a battle.
Often we underestimate the danger of the enemy as Israel did in this instance, we cower before him in fear. Looking at Goliath, there is no way Israel could match him armor for armor.
This is a common mistake. We see what the world is like and we cower before the tremendous power that comes at us from the world. We want to reach the world, but we are afraid that we do not have what it takes to defeat the enemy and reach the world for Jesus Christ.
When David volunteered to go up against Goliath, King Saul offered his armor to David. That must have been a slightly humorous sight. Here was King Saul, head and shoulders above every man in Israel, looking down on this teenager and trying to convince David that in order to face Goliath he needed his, King Saul’s, armor.
David tried the armor on, looked at King Saul and said, “I can’t wear this and fight the enemy.”
David is a symbol of God’s way. According to the Scripture, God does not look on the outside but rather on the inside. That was the message to Samuel when he was looking around to find a replacement for King Saul. Samuel’s problem was he was trying to find another King Saul. God, on the other hand, had a David in mind. “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV).
The remarkable thing about this situation is that in order to defeat Goliath, David did not have to become like Goliath. We have the idea that in order to win the world we have to become as close to the world as possible.
One of the signs of apostasy is thinking we can become as close to the world as possible and still call ourselves Christians. The exact opposite is true. The closer we get to the world the less we are Christian.
A wise man once said, “One of the incongruities of world history is that each generation is rescued by the one who contradicts it the most.” This is the role of the Christian. We are not to cuddle up to the world and adopt its ways and agenda and trends. Rather we are to repudiate the world and every aspect of it.
In order for David to conquer Goliath, he had to do it God’s way.
Three things about David enabled God to use him in defeating Goliath.
The first is that David was a man of experience.
David gave testimony to King Saul about his exploits in the past. How he defeated a lion and a bear who tried interfering with his flock. King Saul did not understand that David was telling him Goliath, out on the battlefield, was simply a bear or a lion preying upon God’s flock. David was experienced in doing things God’s way.
This is what the current generation of Christians needs to understand. If we are to defeat the world and the god of this world, and rescue those who are perishing, we must do it God’s way. David did not become Goliath in order to destroy Goliath. David was simply a young man who listened to God, walked with God and did it God’s way.
Secondly, David was a man of expectation.
When David encountered Goliath, Goliath made fun of him as though he was just a little dog after him. David looked Goliath in the eye, as much as possible, and declared that he may come after him with spears and swords but that he, David, was coming before Goliath in the name of Jehovah. David’s expectation was that God’s name would triumph over Goliath’s sword.
This expectation did not come out of thin air. David’s experience with God in the past had brought him to a place of expectation. He knew what God could do and he knew what God would do in this situation. David’s confidence was not in his ability but in God’s faithfulness.
Thirdly, David was a man of exaltation.
David was not in the battle to win prizes, bring victory to himself and promote himself, although that happened, but it was not David’s focus. He was there to exalt the God of Israel, to bring honor to Jehovah who would finally win the day.
Do not look at this as some Old Testament story to be read to children. It is a type of the battle set before us. Goliath is a symbol of the world. This Goliath is defeating everybody he comes in contact. All we have to do is look at the history of the United States and see how the contemporary Goliath is destroying everything decent and good in our country. We are facing this Goliath and our tendency is to match him sword for sword, which is why we are losing this generation.
The apostle Paul clearly tells us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6 KJV).
Standing before today’s church is a Goliath of tremendous proportion. Looking at him, he seems unconquerable. Unfortunately, today’s church is scrambling around trying to find a Goliath to match the world’s Goliath.
What is needed today is simply a David who has experience in the work of the Lord and expecting God to be glorified through his work. The strength of our battle is the Lord’s, as David said. Victory is assured through the name of our Lord. The victory belongs exclusively to the Lord.
There is an Old Testament verse we do not hear much today. “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein” (Jeremiah 6:16 KJV).
We are too proud to use the old ways because we are afraid we will embarrass ourselves before Goliath. Let us get out our spiritual slingshots and run towards the Goliath of this world with the expectation that the battle is the Lord’s.
“And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:47 KJV).