Whose battle is it anyway?



Scripture: 1 Samuel 17:31 When the words that David spoke were heard (of his willingness to challenge Goliath)… King Saul sent for him. 32 David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. 36 Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them…38 Saul clothed David with his armor; he put a bronze helmet on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David strapped Saul’s sword over the armor, and he tried in vain to walk, for he was not used to them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these; for I am not used to them.” So David removed them. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in his shepherd’s bag, in the pouch; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.

Observation: Saul, like the rest of Israel, was completely psyched out by Goliath’s size and fighting prowess. It would have seemed absurd for the boy David to suggest he would defeat Goliath. But he did. Unlike Saul, David understood that the battle wasn’t really about his armor or size or ability to fight. The battle belonged to the Lord God.

Application: While I greatly admire David’s faith, truth is I often find myself thinking more like Saul. At the church I lead in suburban Dallas we’re launching a new Sunday evening worship service. It starts this coming Sunday at 5pm followed by food and fellowship by the grill in the church backyard. And, if I’m honest, I can make myself crazy worrying about the details. Do we have the people we need? Is the worship band prepared? Is my sermon ready to go? Is our children’s ministry adequately organized? Will we be ready with food as we planned? I can make myself crazy.

Today’s passage reminds me that, while all of these preparations are important, our success depends more on the favor of God than all these other things combined. If God’s grace goes ahead of us, the ministry will thrive despite mistakes and a steep learning curve. If God’s grace is not with us, perfect execution of a human plan will fail. This morning I’m reminded where I need to place my trust.

What about you? Where do you place your trust today?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, you can accomplish more in a moment than we can in a lifetime. Help us to remember that today. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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