May 9 2012
1 Samuel 17.4-7, 33-45
King Saul and Goliath had similarities: Saul was the tallest of Israel’s soldiers; ‘a head taller than anyone else’ (1 Sa 9.2) while Goliath was the biggest of the Philistines. Saul was an experienced fighter as was Goliath. Both were trained in arms and armour. In fact Saul would have been Israel’s favourite to fight a challenger like Goliath. But Saul knew Goliath was too big and too well armed. Goliath was 9ft and his armoured coat alone weighed 57 kilos. That’s serious armour!
David tried wearing Saul’s armour but being ‘a boy’ it was too much for him. Of course we are all in awe of how a boy without armour could defeat this heavily armoured Philistine. But that provokes an interesting question: Was David really without armour? ♦ David didn’t seem to think so. He said to Goliath, ‘’you come to me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come to you IN the name of the Lord Almighty’’. David knew he was approaching Goliath IN something; he was IN the Lord Almighty. David was IN God’s armour; armour far bigger than Goliath could imagine. As long as little David was IN God’s armour, Goliath didn’t have a chance.
While pondering this idea of little David in such massive armour I was reminded of the human driven robot used in the Avatar film pictured above; a tiny man in sync with a huge fighting machine. Of course God’s armour is even bigger than that. But the point is: If Goliath could see what he was up against spiritually he would have done a Saul and stayed in his tent! Goliath’s armour was no match for the armour of the Lord Almighty!
Ephesians 6.10-14 describes God’s armour: The belt is TRUTH, the breastplate is RIGHTEOUSNESS, the helmet is SALVATION, the shield is FAITH, the sword is the Spirit directed WORD, and the shoes are the READINESS to use it all. Do you like it? This was David’s gear. If you like it you can try it. Yes, this armour is available to you as a believer. Paul tells us to put this gear on and take it for a test drive. More than that; trust it!
As we take a closer look at this armour we quickly see that it consists largely of divine character. Walking in truth, righteousness, faith, and readiness is about character. God’s character both empowers and protects us; if we walk IN love in our marriages, our marriages are empowered and protected; if we don’t our marriages are open to attack. If we walk IN forgiveness in our friendships, we empower and protect them; if we don’t they are open to attack. The armour of God isn’t ‘pie in the sky’, super-spiritual stuff; it applies to everyday life in a very practical ‘nuts and bolts’ way.
Of course David didn’t always get it right; he messed up badly on a number of occasions. If we are looking for someone that walked in God’s armour full time we must look at Jesus. The demons shrieked when they saw Jesus coming; we can only wonder what they saw. They certainly seemed to see more than a man approaching. Whatever it was they knew they were beaten; and if Goliath had seen who was really approaching him, he would have shrieked too!
As believers we are called to walk in God’s armour daily. Learning to do this takes time; but as we grow in God’s character our spiritual authority increases. In conversation with Saul before the battle, David admitted that his trust in God had grown while looking after his father’s sheep. There he learnt to deal with less intelligent giants like the lion and bear. The truth is that all growth takes time; David did not learn to trust God overnight. David learnt to fight for sheep before he fought for Israel; our God understands we need time to grow.
Did you ever try your father or mothers clothes on when you were really small? When kids do that, parents laugh; but their laugh is revealing; it indicates firstly that the child doesn’t look quite right in big clothing, but secondly that they love the attempt the child is making to be like them. I am sure God has a similar response when he sees us trying to take our first steps in armour that is way too big for us; I am sure he sees how out of depth we are, but also the great potential for us to become more like Jesus.
I believe God has called all of us to ministries that are far too big for us, and that he intends we grow into them. God has a vision for us that is bigger than us. Your armour will look slightly different to mine because your gifting is different, but all of us have to grow into our callings. Our success depends on our devotion to His project.
Words for Vineyard Mombasa: A raised sword, a valley before us, and God saying ‘’go, go ,go!’’
Illustrations: Crocodile Dundee ‘’that’s not a knife’’; The Avatar fighting Machine; Asterix ‘’magic potion ’’; Masai ‘’clothes identify’’; In Dad’s shoes.
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