Summary: We are not playing games with the devil; this is a series of battles in an ongoing spiritual war.
This Is War
1 Samuel 17:1-3, 11, 29
We read in the text about the infamous confrontation of the Israelites and the Philistines. You need to know that this was one of several battles that transpired in a seemingly perpetual war between the Israelites and the Philistines. On this particular moment, they had gathered in the valley of Elah to engage in the fight. There was going to be bloodshed and destruction, and many people were going to die, but one of them was going to be victorious.
Everyone in the Israelite camp anticipated that this was going to be just another typical battle against a typical Philistine army. Until all of the sudden, a giant of a man came out of the Philistine camp to lead the charge. He was over nine feet tall, and was called a champion. His strength was unlike anyone else: he wore a bronze helmet and shin guards and carried a bronze sword, which had a tip on it that weighed over 15 lbs. He was dressed in armor that was over 125 lbs. This man was intimidating to look at, and carried a presence about him that reaped fear in the hearts of all those that looked upon him.
It was common in that day when Israel would go to war they would send out messengers to muster troops together to go fight. When the call was given, Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah, all sons of an old man named Jesse from Bethlehem in the land of Judah, went with them. Together with several hundred other people, they stood there cringing at the fact that for over 40 days this huge man has come out and yelled for Israel to send a man to him to fight. He cried out “this day I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other”. He was even so sure of his victory that he said if the man comes out and kills him, the Philistines will become slaves to Israel. But if the Philistines win, Israel will serve them.
Jesse had a youngest son named David. He didn’t go to war alongside his brothers, but rather went back and forth to check on his brothers and back home to tend his father’s sheep. On one of those occasions his father said to take some grain and bread to his brothers, and 10 cheeses to their commanding officer. He wanted David to bring back a report of what was going on. It happened to be that when David showed up, he heard the usual defiance of Goliath. When Israel heard him, all of Israel ran for fear.
It reached a point of desperation for Israel; so much so that Saul the king said he was willing to give great wealth, give his daughter’s hand in marriage, and exempt his father’s house from taxes to the person who kills Goliath. David heard it and asked the men standing around him to repeat it. David, boastfully and boldly asks “who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” *His brothers all told him he was conceited and wicked in heart. But David belted out in response: “Is there not a cause to fight for? THIS IS WAR!”
I don’t think I have to remind you that we’re not playing games with the devil. He is without a doubt on the warpath and ready to destroy people’s livelihood, hopes, dreams, finances, health, ministries, etc. This is serious stuff. This is not for the faint hearted or the weak-kneed. This is war ladies and gentleman. And it’s time to start acting like it!