1 Samuel 17:1-16 God’s Unseen Power Within
1 Samuel 17:1-16
The Philistines now mustered their army for battle and camped between Socoh in Judah and Azekah at Ephes- dammim. Saul countered by gathering his Israelite troops near the valley of Elah. So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them. Then Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was over nine feet tall! He wore a bronze helmet, and his bronze coat of mail weighed 125 pounds. He also wore bronze leg armor, and he carried a bronze javelin on his shoulder. The shaft of his spear was as heavy and thick as a weaver’s beam, tipped with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 pounds. His armor bearer walked ahead of him carrying a shield. Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the slaves (servants) of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.
Now David was the son of a man named Jesse, an Ephrathite from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. Jesse was an old man at that time, and he had eight sons. Jesse’s three oldest sons—Eliab, Abinadab, and Shimea —had already joined Saul’s army to fight the Philistines. David was the youngest son. David’s three oldest brothers stayed with Saul’s army, but David went back and forth so he could help his father with the sheep in Bethlehem. For forty days, every morning and evening, the Philistine champion strutted in front of the Israelite army.
In today’s passage, we have an up-close view of a pre-battle encounter. First, there was a standoff where both sides will attempt to demoralize the other by taunting, flexing of military might and propaganda. The army of Israel responded to the Philistine threat with fear; they were waiting for someone who would take on the formidable Philistine war machine. We must learn not to be deceived by what we see in the physical environment, but to hold on to the heavenly powers in the Spirit. Apostle John says, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he (God) who is in you is greater than he (the devil and his agents) who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4. If believers live consistently in the truth, they will remain resolute in the face of calamity and put their confidence in the unseen authority within.
He was over nine feet tall! He wore a bronze helmet, and his bronze coat of mail weighed 125 pounds – Goliath, a Philistine champion was no doubt formidable in appearance, whose demeanor is enough to petrify his opponent. A detailed description of his armor and weapons helps us appreciate David’s valor, when unprotected advanced against this armored opponent with just his trusty old sling.
I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the slaves of Saul – Goliath taunted the Israelites intending to vilify and tear down their confidence. He did that by pummelling their identity and self-esteem, by perverting one’s identity, you reduce him to nothing but a slave. The Philistine raised the ante of his intimation by suggesting a representative combat where the fate of one soldier represents the fate of the nation. This strategy is aimed at exposing the fear and weakness of each soldier that none including Saul himself is his worthy opponent.
For forty days, every morning and evening, the Philistine champion strutted in front of the Israelite army – The Philistine champion kept at it for forty days, where he taunted and intimated the Israelites continually. This is the most primitive form of hypnotism that seeks to systematically dismantle and reprogram a person’s identity and self-esteem. By repeated taunting, the hearers will grow to believe in the propaganda message and their morale depleted.
- The power to succeed comes not in man’s abilities but in his willingness to submit to God’s abilities. The devil wants you to think that the power to succeed comes from human abilities, alliances and from physical resources. In doing so, he wants you to either misplace faith in your natural abilities or to look at your own lack and be demoralized. The source of the Philistines’ power comes from the devil: And he cursed David by the names of his gods (1 Samuel 17:43). Hence, the devil is using Goliath’s formidable appearance to cause them to look at their human weaknesses and give up. The authority of God flows through one who is wholly submitted to Him; greater authority will be given to one who has his obedience and allegiance proven. Unfortunately, the Israelites did not look to God and repent of their rebellion. If they did look to God and repent, they would not have feared, but they continued to look at their weaknesses and despair.
- True power comes from knowing who you are in Christ. Having the right understanding of who you are is paramount to your success. As God’s sons, we have authority and access to divine wisdom and the angelic powers of God. By cutting off this understanding, you pervert your identity, and the devil takes away the very key to your success. The devil wants the Israelites to perceive themselves as nobodies and as slaves, effectively paralyzing them as sitting ducks. As a son of God, I am given a divine commission as well as the authority to destroy all hindrances that stands in my way. My strength is not in my physical abilities or resources, but in the authority to facilitate the working of angels and to influence people by the truth. The authority of God is infused into His sons through the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The sons of God must lead the charge in person through which we inspire others to follow.
- You are what you hear and believe. Continual intimidation and belittling will break a person’s spirit and make him a slave. Some people having grown up with families who habitually despised and disdained one another are usually withdrawn, and easily distraught. They are ill confident and think of themselves as victims of the society and the weakest among their circle of friends. They are broken souls, a product of years of intimidation and belittlement.
Such people can be restored when a higher authority speaks into their lives and restore their identity. That higher authority is God who says, “But as many as received Jesus, to them He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12. Therefore, we must keep speaking and uplifting one another to the level as sons of the most high God. In doing so, they will begin to behave, to speak and to work as sons with divine authority.
- Do not be petrified by the immensity of the problem at hand. By breaking it down into smaller tasks, and by working on it one day at a time, we will see the wisdom and the power of God in operation. Before we start the day’s work, we must ask God the question: What kind of person must I be today? What are the things that I must accomplish today?
- Are you constantly exposed to voices that belittles you? Do these voices come from people or from within yourself? You need to install the voice of truth in your soul by reading and meditating on God’s word daily.
Dear Lord, I am confident that as your son, I am given the authority to accomplish your instructions and work. My natural abilities are not a true reflection of my strength. My true potential is displayed when I remain obedient and faithful to the tasks at hand. Use me in whatever situations you deem fit so that I could be a blessing to the world. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.