Picking up on my blog from last week, we will continue in 1 Samuel 17 and taking up at verse 31 when David has decided to accept the challenge that the armies told him about, a chance happening when his father sent him to take food to his brothers who were soldiers, and he was the shepherd, too young and not skilled at war. Saul reminded David of the futility of his desire to fight in verse 33, reminding him that he was “but a youth” (those labels that I chose to address in Chapter 5 of my book). How quickly the world seeks to take away our determination and shake our faith in doing what we are called to do in this life with just a few words spoken to remind us of our humanity. Saul’s grim reminder of how Satan deals with us, how the negativity can seep in and rob us of our confidence and our strength. Just as quickly as I determine God has something for me to do or face, Satan sets out to remind me of those five stones – mentioned last week and strives to weaken my resolve and faith by reminding me of my past missteps and failures. In a futile effort, Saul attempted to help David by equipping him with his armor, with the tools that had worked for him. 1 Samuel 17: 38–39 describes the great armor Saul provided to David, to equip him for the battle, but it wasn’t God’s armor. David could not function to the best of his ability using what had “worked” for others, because God chose him in his ability to use his skills as he had done in defending his sheep from the predators, David was chosen for his own unique abilibities. David was a skilled shepherd, he knew how to guide his sheep to food and water, protect them from the storms and the natural predators who sought out his sheep to take from him and devour. Life for me is the same as the picture painted for us in this story. I have predators, and like sheep I have to have help. Sometimes I look to those around me seeking the equipment and support I need to face the struggles, challenges and giants that seek to devour me. But their equipment is not designed to work for me, because my battle is different and God called me to face the giant. God uses who we are and what we have to accomplish His purpose and it is the same for each of us. David did find strength in the words of Saul who said: “Go, and the Lord be with you!” (v.37). Words of encouragement and strength are what we all need from those from who we reach out to for support. I know how I feel, how I am girded in the prayers and support of others. I still have to find my weapons for whatever I face which is why my reference scripture has changed throughout my life, a need defined by the battle. Whether it is running a race (Phil. 3:14), believing God will supply all my needs (Eph. 3:20), facing the results of a \medical test (Phil. 4:6) or preparing for what I know will be emotional and spiritual warfare (Phil. 4:13), my equipment may change based on God’s direction in my life but needing others upholding me in prayer and even walking with me physically is how I face my giants. My armor changes, but God does not. So David went into battle with five smooth stones (v. 40) in his shepherd’s bag, and a sling. I go to battle with God in my heart and on the path going before me. But the stones re-entered my study of this scripture because now they transition from the giants in my life to those things I carry with me into any battle (if I leave the giants behind). Prayer is the first stone – it sets the tone of the day; Bible Study is the second stone in my arsenal because it is how God assures me that I am ready to face the giant, Satan’s challenge in my life. The last three stones in no particular order of preference are Faith – the sword of faith that has been the constant in my life; followed by entries into my journal, the way I identify what I am truly feeling and striving for in order to set my sight on the purpose God has called me for; and lastly the security in the hope I have in what the Lord can and has done for those who are His children. What can top the great sacrifice of Jesus and the promise of eternal life (John 3:16). All of this in preparation for the battle, David still has not faced the “bully” that was issuing the challenge to the Philistine army. David did seek to learn why the battle was not “being fought” and knew the cost to his people if he failed, but it did not deter him. He was secure in what the God who established His people would continue to honor His promise to His people. The Israelites were residents of their promised land, so David knew the Jehovah God that established them would continue to supply their needs, and I am promised an eternal life in heaven where I can worship and praise the God of my salvation. God extends this promise to all who will accept the invitation.
Image from http://www.saddlebackchurch.com and the studies from his book What on Earth Am I Here For; the Purpose Driven Life.