Summary: There are many battles not worth fighting. Here we can learn when we need to engage in the good fight of faith.
How To Pick Your Battles (I Sam. 17:1-15)
Illustration: Paul wrote, "Fight the good fight of faith."
People who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes.
Abigail Van Buren.
Stan Mikita, a professional hockey star, used to get into a lot of fights during games. He stopped when his eight-year-old daughter asked a very grown-up question: "How can you score goals when you’re always in the penalty box, Daddy?
Bits & Pieces, July, 1990, p. 19.
Some of us need to be careful about being in the penalty box because of our contentious attitudes.
When we know more about the omnipotence of God we can learn some of the following lessons:
1. David chose to fight Goliath because he represented a threat to the security of his people, the Philistines were oppressing the freedoms of the Israelites, and the giant dishonored God. Many fights are not worth our energies. David chose to fight the good fight of faith. When you go to battle be sure that the victory will be worth the price.
Illustration:A couple of navy stories may help illustrate the sad result of internal strife and the positive result of unity. Two battleships met in the night and began to attack each other. In the conflict, a number of crewmen were severely wounded, and both vessels were damaged. As daylight broke, the sailors on the ships discovered to their amazement that both vessels flew the English flag. Many years earlier, just before the battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the British naval hero Lord Nelson learned that an admiral and a captain in his fleet were not on good terms. Sending for the two men, he placed the hands of the admiral and the captain together. Then, looking them both in the face, he said, "Look--yonder is the enemy!"
2. David did not plan to overshadow his brothers, but just left his home to carry food to his warrior brothers and to give his father Jesse an update from the battlefront. When he arrived in the camp he learned that Goliath had been challenging the Hebrew army for 40 days to send someone brave enough to face him in battle. It was a custom in those days for two soldiers to fight a duel to determine the outcome of a war. Since the Philistines controlled the metal industry and were skilled warriors from their youth, no brave Hebrew youth had volunteered to fight the nine foot nine inch giant. Everyone thought this was a suicide mission and predicted David’s defeat. Don’t hesitate because of peoples’ doubt. criticism. or trying to project their problems to you.
3. King Saul offered freedom from taxation for the family of a courageous volunteer as well as the hand of his beautiful daughter Michal in marriage, but found no takers. When David first offered his services, his brothers mocked him and told him to return to caring for the sheep back in Bethlehem. David refused to be discouraged. deterred. or frustrated By those who were closest to him - his family.
4. King Saul was impressed with how others had so much confidence in David’s faith that he beckoned him to come to the King’s palace for an interview. Initially King Saul was doubtful that such a small ruddy boy of 17 could handle a giant. King Saul was too accustomed to judging people by appearances. Yet, David insisted that he was not inexperienced with killing lions and bears in the wilderness while protecting his sheep. Having conquered these ferocious beasts with nothing more than a staff and a sling shot, David was convinced that God could also help him defeat the mighty Goliath. By being faithful & powerful in smaller things God used David in bigger battles.
5. David refused to wear Saul’s armor because it did not fit his small frame. The young lad wanted everyone to realize that God’s enablement would bring the victory through His miraculous intervention. David stuck with the weapons that he had proven experience with. Gain experience.
6. David took 5 smooth stones into the battle because he knew that Goliath had 4 brothers who might come to his defense. He made preparations for any contingencies.
7. When Goliath saw David he said, "Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks? Then Goliath cursed David’s god - a bad move! It angered David who said, You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. The boy exhibited great confidence. courage. and faith in God’s ability to overcome the stiffest of odds.
8. David gave a reason why he was so confident of victory. "All those who are watching today will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give all of you into our hand." David wanted the Philistines and the Israelites to know that what was about to happen would be a demonstration of God’s power, purposes, & processes. His was not a boastful tone, but a pious trust while ascribing to God all the credit for the victory in advance. Life’s struggles do not always go to the strongest. but to the one who believes they are on the winning team.