The Lord will deliver me
1 Samuel 17:34-37
Who’s your worst enemy? Economy? Masks? I am not used to putting one on yet. I fought with it in the store the first time. Is your enemy the stress of juggling everything you must do? Some of you are parent, teacher, employee all at the same time. Some work has gotten easier but much is harder because of this. Is your enemy the government? Is it those out there who don’t really understand what’s going on? There are two enemies that are much worse than any of the previous mentioned. Satan and you. How do you fight against such enemies? Relate to this timeless truth in the history of David and Goliath. The Lord will deliver you.
David was a young shepherd before he became a great king. The king of the land during this time was a man named Saul, tall and strong. But he no longer walked with the Lord. An evil spirit would occasionally come upon him and enrage him. Music would be the medicine for Saul’s bouts with anger. David was known to be a good musician so he was asked to serve Saul whenever the evil spirit came upon him. In peace time, David would return to the fields and watch over the sheep in Bethlehem.
David’s older brothers, Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah, fought in King Saul’s army. Father Jesse, like any parent worried over deployed children in wartime, wanted an update on his boys. There was no Instagram posts or Facebook updates that allowed Jesse to check in on them, so he sent David with a care package for the brothers and their commander. David trekked the 40-mile journey down the mountains into the Valley of Elah. In this valley, the Israelite troops were positioned on one hill and the Philistine enemy army on the other. In the middle shouted the giant, Goliath.
Every morning, for 40 days, each army would line up ready for battle. Each morning, Goliath would approach the middle of the valley and make fun of the Israelites for being cowards. By doing this, he was taunting the God of Israel. Each morning, the Israelites ran like cowards. When David came to the camp with the supplies, he couldn’t help his curiosity as he witnessed the Israelite army waiting in fear. David would take on the challenge to fight the champion, Goliath. He would fight. I can imagine the laughter of all the trained killers mocking little shepherd, David. His older brothers were embarrassed that he came out. One soldier overheard David speaking to the others and reported this to King Saul.
King Saul doubted David. “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.” (vs. 33).
Here’s where David replies. 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Whoa! This is no young pup. David is a fighter. He took down a bear and a lion. He didn’t do it with some high-powered rifle from a safe distance. He grabbed the helpless lamb out of the mouth with his hands. The normal reaction when a dog turns on you is to back away but not David. The beast turned on him and he then gripped its fur to strike it again. He took the bear down with hand to hand combat.
David goes on. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” This is a confident David. He is not confident in his own strength. He trusts in the Lord to fight with him and deliver him.
The enemy we face is not disease. Many have made it through disease. The enemy is not your employer. Many have survived the ups and downs in the economy. The enemy is not the government. They never make a decision that will please everyone. The enemy is you. You are your own worst enemy right now. I live and make unhealthy choices because I am a selfish sinner. I live for myself rather than others. I choose me over everyone else. I choose my own pleasure over what is healthy to keep me fit and sane. I choose to overexert myself where I need to take a break. I choose not to slow down. I am my own worst enemy. Your flesh it much too slippery and your spirit much too disobedient.
When that happens, Satan loves it. He defies the battle line of God and thrashes out accusation after accusation. “I told you so. See what you’ve done. You lazy good for nothing. You think you are a Christian. You call yourself a parent and leader. You don’t know what sacrifice is.” He loves to catch you in despair and plunge you deeper into darkness. He loves to lob distraction after distraction after you to blow a crater in your path. He will wage attack after attack of accusation and lies. Satan rams against the rock. He wants to break your confidence in God and his salvation.
Do you think the devil is going to put up with any talk of Jesus? Is there any chance that the father of lies is not going to take advantage of all his strength and craftiness to obscure, corrupt, and altogether uproot the teaching of salvation and eternal life? The two demons that torment us are ourselves and Satan.
Christ has overcome these two monsters and crushed them underfoot, in this world as well as the next. Christ my victory, through the strife. Christ is the one who brawls and battles the enemy. This has been given to us all, without the use of our free will. It is not an invention of human wisdom but it has been given from above.
David used a slingshot to fight and win, mere sling and a stone against the javelin, shield, and armor of the great Goliath. Yet such a seemingly insignificant pea shooter takes him down. How is that? Because God was behind that weapon, not because of the weapon itself.
We too get a seemingly insignificant weapon. You know what God uses to deliver you from your enemy Satan? The word. As Luther penned, “one little word can fell him.” It is the word of the Gospel that Satan despises because he knows he can’t fight against it. His lies are no match for the truth. You are saved. You are forgiven. You are redeemed. Jesus died for you and you are not his enemy. He has made you a friend, more than that, family. That good news is a rock in the head of your enemy Satan and sinful self that knock him dead. Your failings and his accusations are no match for the powerful word of God.
Although sin seems to be an unbeatable tyrant, now that Christ as conquered it through his death, everyone who believes in him cannot be broken. These are David’s words right before slew the giant. You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. These are Jesus words right before he slew your enemy, “It is finished.” Words are powerful. Against them, your enemy can’t stand.
David is a timeless piece of history. It is another event that God is mighty and he will deliver. It is one told over and over again. What about when you tell your story? What kind of story do you want to tell your children someday about how you thrived 2020? Will it be one of victory or defeat? Will it be one where you trust in your own strength to fight your daily battles or is it one that you find refreshing strength in the deliverance of the Lord?
Jesus has come. He did fight. He did rise from the dead. That deliverance is yours. Jesus is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia. Amen.
Pastor Josh Bishop