Why the Battle Belongs to the Lord, When it Seems like the Enemy Is Winning
- Maggie Cooper Contributing Writer
- 2021 8 Feb
The battle belongs to the Lord. Heard that phrase lately? In songs, in sermons, in podcasts. It seems that fellow believers are encouraging us to remember that regularly. But I’ll be honest, when I turn on the news or look on social media...it doesn’t always look like He’s winning. And my heart feels so very discouraged. It would be easy to allow fear or complacency to take over, but thank goodness, the Lord has given us reminders in His word that He is faithful...no matter how the battle rages on.
What Is the Context of 1 Samuel 17:47?
In 1 Samuel 17, we find one of the most famous stories from the Bible. The story of David and Goliath, shared with children through the ages as an example of how trusting in God helps us slay the “giants” in our lives. I remember listening with wide eyes as my Sunday School teacher shared how David, a small shepherd boy, armed with only a slingshot and five smooth stones, defeated a giant because He trusted in God. It was amazing to think about!
You see, the Israelites were in trouble. Real trouble. The Philistine champion, a nine-foot giant named Goliath, had challenged them to send one man to fight him. And whichever army lost, would be the other’s slaves. Fear had settled in the hearts of the Israelites, and they were “deeply shaken” (1 Samuel 17:11).
One day, his father asked him to leave his shepherding duties and take gifts to his brothers, who were stationed in the Israelite camp. When he arrived, he heard Goliath’s taunts and asked, “Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26). His brothers rebuked him for inquiring about the reward for killing the giant, but as word spread, David was summoned by Saul.
Saul argued that David was not able to defeat “a man of war since his youth” (1 Samuel 17:33). He was just a boy! But little did he know, he was a boy with amazing faith. David told him, “The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” (1 Samuel 17:37). So Saul relented, offering him his own armor to wear, but David chose to take only his shepherd’s staff and sling.
As David approached Goliath, he was mocked, but his response is everything. “David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies-the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and He will give you to us!” (1 Samuel 17:45-47). And He did.
David hurled one stone at Goliath with his sling, and it hit him in the forehead. The giant fell face down, and David used Goliath’s own sword to kill him and cut off his head. When the other Philistines saw this, they ran away. So what does this mean for us?
What Does It Mean that the Battle Belongs to the Lord?
The Lord has such a beautiful way of taking everyday moments in our lives and tying them to His Word. And as I studied David’s response to Goliath, a memory of my son came to mind. When he was around five, we were playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. We had played round after round, and the score was tied. We both smiled with anticipation of this one last “shoot”, but I was not prepared for what my sweet boy was about to do. As we finished calling, “Rock, Paper, Scissors…,” I laid my hand out as paper, but my son spread his arms wide and yelled, “God!” We both giggled for many minutes after because, in case you’re wondering, God trumps everything else.
Y’all, Goliath came with a sword, spear, and javelin. But David came in the name of the Lord.
Sword, spear, javelin...God.
Rock, paper, scissors...God.
It doesn’t matter what earthly things we bring to the battle, y’all. Those who trust in the name of the Lord will have the ultimate victory. But how do we set our minds to know, without a doubt, that He is enough...and we can trust Him?
How Do You Let the Lord Fight Your Battles?
When David spoke to Goliath on that fateful day, he shared three things before he killed him. Things that I wonder if his fellow Israelites took to heart. Things that I know we should today. Because battles will inevitably come. Whether through relationships, health diagnoses, finances, addictions, political issues, or other areas, we will be faced with moments in time where we must choose to fight for ourselves or those we love. And when those moments come, we must remember to stand strong by remembering these three truths:
What we see with earthly eyes is not all there is.
“You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies-the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” 1 Samuel 17:45.
One of Satan’s biggest strategies is using our small world view against us. He wants us to believe that what we see with earthly eyes is all there is. That the sword, and the spear, and the javelin of Goliath vs. the stone and slingshot of David were the only weapons for the battle that day. But we know that’s not true.
There is a spiritual realm where the Lord and His angels are fighting like never before. And if we confine our viewpoint to what is right in front of us, fear will absolutely win. The Lord has given us armor that cannot and will not be overpowered or penetrated when we stand firm and call on His name, no matter what our eyes may tell us. So claim out loud that you are coming in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s armies, confident that the Lord is more than able.
“So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” 2 Corinthians 4:18 NLT.
The Lord will give us what we need, as we look to Him as the true Conqueror.
“Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head…” 1 Samuel 17:46.
David was the one who shot the stone. The one who killed Goliath with the sword when he fell. The one who cut off the giant’s head. But the Lord was the conqueror. We must remember, as David did, that we are simply tools the Lord can use to fulfill His purposes. Like Moses, He can give us the words to speak. Like Gideon, He can equip us with the willingness to follow. Like Esther, he can fill us with unimaginable courage. The Lord’s power has no limits. And His purposes will prevail, in spite of our weaknesses when we are willing to be used for His glory.
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves” 2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT.
Victory may not happen in the way we expect it so that people will know it is the Lord.
“And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear” 1 Samuel 17:47.
When David offered to fight Goliath, Saul prepared him with earthly wisdom. He gave him his armor, helmet, and sword. But David rebuked him, instead choosing to use what could only be considered foolish in the eyes of the world. And why would he do that? For one, the armor was too big, but I also believe David knew something Saul didn’t.
The people expected armor and a sword. But if David had chosen to fight in that manner, the armor and sword might have been credited with his safety...and his victory. So there David was. With only a slingshot, staff, stones, and the presence of the Lord.
And that day, everyone...everyone...knew that it wasn’t a small shepherd boy who rescued his people, but the Lord.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” Isaiah 55:8-9
The battle is not truly ours, but the Lord’s.
“This is the Lord’s battle, and He will give you to us!” 1 Samuel 17:47
The Lord loves his people. He loves you and me! And He will not allow evil to prevail forever. Trust the Lord to do what He says. And wait with expectation to see all that He is going to do in His perfect timing.
What to Do While We Wait for Victory
Y’all, waiting is hard. Especially when it seems like you are in a losing battle. One hard thing after another, after another, after another. There may be one step forward for every two steps back. But do not be defeated. David told Goliath that when he was done with him, “the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel!” (v.46). And that must be our goal as well, friends. Remember that what you see in front of you is not all there is. Ask the Lord to equip you for battle. And pray that through it all, the Lord will be glorified as you allow Him to fight for you. He will be victorious.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/gorodenkoff
Maggie Meadows Cooper is a wife, mom, educator, author, and blogger with a longing for women to grow a heart for Jesus and others. She is the author of the children’s book “Bumper” and blogs at The Little Moments about what the Lord is teaching her through her children and everyday life. She contributes to Blogs by Christian Women, Devotional Diva, She Disciples, and Connecting Ministries. An educator with a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education from Auburn University (War Eagle!), she has twenty years of experience working with young children. She loves all things chocolate, real Coca-Cola, and lives with her husband, three children, and two rambunctious dogs in Opelika, Alabama.
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