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An Epic Battle by Tom Sember

            I want to share with you about an epic battle. It’s a story we all know so well, but let’s see if we can apply it to our walk and ourselves as men.


            It begins in the 17th chapter of 1 Samuel. It is entitled in many of our Bibles as “Goliath’s Challenge”.


            Beginning in Verse 2 “Saul and the men of Israel were gathered and camped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines. 3 The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them.”


            We have the battle lines drawn.


            There are battle lines drawn in our life today, and the greatest battle line drawn is between satan himself and us men.  


            Now that the battle lines are drawn, let’s look at the opponent:


            4 Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was clothed with scale-armor which weighed five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 He also had bronze greaves on his legs and a bronze javelin slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron; his shield-carrier also walked before him.


            Ok ,we don’t use those kinds of measurements today so let me see if I can help us understand using The Message:


            4-7 A giant nearly ten feet tall stepped out from the Philistine line into the open, Goliath from Gath. He had a bronze helmet on his head and was dressed in armor—126 pounds of it! He wore bronze shin guards and carried a bronze sword. His spear was like a fence rail—the spear tip alone weighed over fifteen pounds.


            Now when I was fighting fires, our turnout gear with our SCBA weighed about 44 pounds.  This guy was carrying 126 pounds of armor and a fifteen-pound spear!


            8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array?”


            The first question we need to ask ourselves is, “Do we stand in battle array, ready to do battle against our enemy?”


            There are two major battles we face as men:


1.        Our personal battles


2.        The battle we face as brothers in Christ


            Both are battles against the powers of hell!


The Terms of the Battle


            Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 10 Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.”


            This is a battle to the death!  We are in this battle, to the very death of our Christianity as men, ourselves, our families, our churches, our schools, our communities are in the balance!  It is a fight to the death!  This is not just a simple tug of war…this is WAR!


The Reaction:


            11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.


            I am sure many of us stand here today with the same reaction, dismayed and greatly afraid.  Some of us have tried to fight the battles we face on our own only to fail time and again, only to fall back in defeat.  But I say to you today, there is hope!


            Enter DAVID,  the smallest, ruddy in nature, a shepherd boy.   Many times we may just feel like that, small and insignificant in the matters of battle.  We feel that there are others who are stronger in their faith, who know more Bible verses, but God is calling US! You and me!


            16 The Philistine came forward morning and evening for forty days and took his stand.


            Sometimes the little battles we face last a long time. This challenge for battle was at the 40 day mark, a long time to have your opponent in your face.  Yet many of us know just what that’s like, don’t we?


            In verses 17- 19 David is told to bring lunch to his father and brother and in verse 17 he is told:


            For Saul and they and all the men of Israel are in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.”


            I find this verse kind of funny.  “Fighting with the Philistines”…there was not fighting going on!  I am sure there was a lot of yelling by Goliath, but the army was just kind of standing around.


            Many times, we “think” we are in the battle but really we are just standing around!


            Now David Accepts the Challenge


            22 Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line and entered in order to greet his brothers. 23 As he was talking with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine from Gath named Goliath, was coming up from the army of the Philistines, and he spoke these same words; and David heard them.


            Did you catch the little word there,“RAN” to the battle line?  How many us barely walk to the battle line and yet here was a young boy who ran to the battle?


            So Goliath begins his rant again ...making fun of the army


Reaction to Goliath’s threats



          24 When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid. 25 The men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who is coming up? Surely he is coming up to defy Israel. And it will be that the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.”


            It's like their are trying to get someone to step forward.  "Hey whoever fights this guy will get a lot of stuff...but not me!"


            Next is the verse that I love so much: David cries out,


            26 For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”


            I wonder if we ever think about saying that as we face the battle of sin and temptation in our lives, the battle to do what God is calling us to be?


            But the reply of even his family is one that many of us have heard:


            28 Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle.”


            Here was jealousy and anger that someone was ready to battle.  Have we ever been jealous and angry of those who are doing battle, many times in our very place?


            29 But David said, “What have I done now? Was it not just a question?”


            Now David gets ready for the battle but he has one more hurdle to cross.


            33 Then Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.”


            37 And David said, “The Lord Who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”


            And there we have it:


3.        David used the lessons from his past to face the challenge


4.        He was not going alone.


            We need to learn this lesson.  So often we fight the battle on our own only to fail time and again.  We need to instead remember that the Lord will deliver! In His strength, with Him, we can win the battle!


            Most of us know the rest of the story.  David, using just a simple slingshot and a stone, dropped the giant!


            With God’s help, we too can win the battle.  But we must do a few things.


1.        Have a relationship


            We must have a personal relationship with our God and that only comes about by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior


2.        By learning the lessons of the past


            If we want to know the victory we have in Christ, than we must read God’s Word.  Don’t just skim through it.   Read it, meditate on it, memorize it, learn it.  That way, when the battle comes, we are ready to face the challenge .


3.        Keep our eyes upon Jesus


            This is a daily, minute by minute thing.


4.        Remember it’s a God Thing!


5.        Bathed in prayer, by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit


            I want to leave you with one more scripture.


            John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”



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