Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Submit to God not Goliath

I am both blessed and blown away when verses from my daily YouVersion Bible Reading Plan leap off my cell phone screen and into my heart and mind! It doesn't matter when they are very familiar passages, because I know God is speaking to my heart and wants me to see something new and to do something about what He is teaching me. 

Hence, here is this blog post! :) 

The Scripture reading was 1 Samuel 17, describing the popular story of David and Goliath. The specific verse that raised a bunch of questions in my mind, and I vocally responded to myself, too, was, "For 40 days, every morning and evening, the Philistine champion strutted in front of the Israelite army." (1 Samuel 17:16) 

And, when I draw stars next to my journal notes, well, then God really has gripped me with new insight! And as you can see, this one is a three-star insight for me. :)

Whaaaaat? Forty days? Wait a minute. Goliath stepped out in front of the Philistine army twice a day for 40 days and tormented the Israelite army by loudly barking threats at them? Wait. This went on for 40 days? This is a new thought for me.

Why did this army of God's people put up with this? For 40 days? Did they forget God?

Why didn't the 9'9" tall Goliath, wearing a massive bronze suit of armor,  just take his gigantic spear -- you know, the one with the 15-pound iron point -- and walk across the valley that separated the armies and just slaughter them? He was after all, big, loud, and scary. The Israelites were already so frightened by what they saw and heard even their armor suits were rattling, right? They were getting frightfully ripe for Goliath's picking them off. 

And then another thought popped in my head: God was restraining Goliath, in the same way He has a leash on the enemy of our souls, the devil, today! This analogy became a new kind of perspective for me. Yes! This is just like the spiritual warfare every child of God experiences today. Yep. God has our raging, fierce enemy on a leash.

When we listen to the threats of the enemy of our souls -- it all starts in our thoughts you know -- and we don't resist the tormenting words, we become exactly like the Israel army in the Valley of Elah. (1 Samuel 17:2).

However, God has given us the sword of the Spirit, which is the powerful Word of God. And just like David who is a picture of our LORD, confronted the enemy in the name of the LORD, it is the same kind of warfare for us today: "Submit yourself to God, resist the devil..." (James 4:7).

I kept thinking about this verse, 1 Samuel 17:16, wondering why the Israelites put up with torment for so long. You know, that 40 days of torment thing. But now I see. I've done the same thing. Maybe I'm the only child of God who can be deceived by the lies of the enemy of my soul, shake in my armor, submit to his lies, and go on and on in torment. Those are the times I don't call on the Holy Spirit power inside me to resist with these weapons:

  • "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee. (James 4:6-7)
  • "You dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
  • "The devil is a liar and the father of lies. His native language is lies." (John 8:44)
  • "The LORD will fight for you, you only need to be still." (Exodus 14:14)
  • "I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish." (Isaiah 41:9-11)
  • "Finally, be strong in the LORD and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." (Ephesians 6:10-13)
  • Do we see that the LORD is our spiritual armor???!!! It's His power, His strength that wins battles. He's our covering, our shield! "In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one." (Ephesians 6:16)

 Are we going to submit to God or to Goliath? If we would actually sit still and read God's Holy Word daily, and learn to pray daily, we would see that God has supplied us with a supernatural arsenal to resist and overcome the evil that comes against us.

"The LORD is trustworthy in all His promises and faithful in all He does." (Psalm 145:13). David was confident in that truth. In fact, check this out: "So David triumphed over the Philistine...after he killed him he cut off his head with the [Goliath's] sword... When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they turned and ran." (1 Samuel 17:50-51) Whoo hoo! Total victory!

We don't have to put up with 40+ days of torment if we'll "submit to God and resist." Jesus came that we might have peace. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27)

For all of my Sisters, you are not alone. Spiritual warfare is normal for us in this life. But ongoing torment is not. Fight back. God is with us.

"Glorify the LORD with me; let us exalt His name TOGETHER!"  
Psalm 34:3