GOD IS STILL FAITHFUL

A REASON TO BELIEVE AND HOLD FAST

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;

(for he is faithful that promised). Hebrews 10:23 

Waiting does not come easy to many of us. As is so often the case, the longer the wait, the weaker the faith. Some give up faith altogether. Others get mouthier with God. Some even turn their back on Him.

But, brethren, we are persuaded of better things concerning you! The Lord wants to encourage you to continue to believe and trust Him. He has a word for His people and that word is, God is still faithful! What are you believing for, beloved? What trial of faith are you faced with? And how long has it been since you prayed and the answer still hasn’t come? God’s word to you today is, Hold fast! Because God is still faithful!

THE MEANING OF GOD’S FAITHFULNESS

What does God’s faithfulness mean? GOD’S FAITHFULNESS MEANS HE WILL DO EXACTLY WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD DO. This is what God promised and this is what God will do:  What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them (Mark 11:24). God’s faithfulness, dear friends, means you’re going to get what you’ve asked and believed God for.

WHAT GOD’S FAITHFULNESS ENTAILS FOR US

1. God’s faithfulness is our guarantee that He will do for us whatever we’re believing and asking Him to do according to His Word. We’re constantly looking for guarantees and assurances. We want to make sure that the thing we’re planning to buy will work, or that the person we hired to do a job will do it right.

We all want proof that God’s going to do what He said He would do. Fortunately for us, we have the proof! The proof is our faith. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Evidence is proof. That’s what the word means. Our faith is the evidence or proof that we have the things that are not seen. We may not see the healing right now. We may not see our loved one saved just yet. We may not have the much-needed money at the moment. But the faith that we have in our heart is the proof that we have the things that we’ve desired of God that are not seen just now.

Of course, if we don’t have faith in our heart, if we don’t believe God’s going to answer our prayer, then we won’t have the evidence or proof. Instead, our heart will be filled with doubts, questions, and arguments.

But when we believe, our hearts are at rest and at peace because we believe, we know, that God will do what we asked Him to do. Our faith is the proof that we have what we don’t yet see.

2. God’s faithfulness gives us reason to endure our trials. His faithfulness is the basis for our endurance. We endure the trials because we know He’ll be faithful to deliver us and grant us our petition. We don’t suffer or endure or wait in vain! At the trial’s end we’ll receive the things we’ve desired of God.

How do we know that? How can we be sure of that? Because that’s what God said would happen! He said, Ye shall have them (Mark 11:24). We may not know the exact time this trial will come to an end. We may not know when exactly the answer will come. But WE CAN KNOW HOW THE TRIAL WILL END. God’s faithfulness means this trial will end and we’ll get what He promised us we could have.

GOD’S FAITHFULNESS IS ROOTED IN HIS NATURE

It is God’s nature to be faithful. He’s faithful because that’s what He is by nature. Birds fly because it’s built into their very nature to fly. Fishes swim because it’s part of their nature to swim. In much the same way, God is faithful because it’s His nature to be faithful.

II Timothy 2:13 tells us,  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.  The word deny means ‘to  disclaim, disown, renounce, or contradict’.

God cannot renounce or contradict what He is by nature. Birds can’t cease to be birds. Fishes can’t cease to be fishes. And God can’t cease to be faithful: He abideth faithful (II Timothy 2:13).  God cannot be anything other than faithful. His nature compels Him to be faithful. He cannot quit being faithful. He cannot stop from being faithful. It is utterly impossible for God to be unfaithful–at any time, in any circumstance or trial. He cannot deny Himself!

God’s faithfulness is tied in with His other attributes.

  • Why Can God Be Faithful? Because God is True. He cannot lie. If He promised it, He won’t break His promise. God cannot and will not renege on His Word! Numbers 23:19 assures us that  God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?  Hebrews 6:18  tells us that it  is impossible for God to lie. Do you know what ‘impossible’ means? It means no chance, no possibility, no way. Impossible means it can’t happen, it’s incapable of coming to pass, it can’t be done. What is impossible is inconceivable, impractical, unimaginable, unthinkable, unattainable, unachievable, unfeasible–it’s beyond possibility of realization or accomplishment. In other words, brethren, God cannot lie. He can never be unfaithful. He cannot deny Himself! Why? Because it’s impossible for Him to do so!
  • How Can God Be Faithful? God can be faithful because He is omnipotent. He is powerful enough to do whatever He wants to do. He is powerful enough to do whatever you need Him to do in your life! There is none more powerful that God! Nothing and no one can prevent Him from doing what He wants to do.

Isaiah 14:27 reads,  For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?  

Elsewhere, in Jeremiah 32:27 we read, Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?  The prophet himself answers the question in verse 17 of the same chapter:  Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. Hallelujah!

Have you settled it, my friends? Nothing is too hard for the Lord to do for you!  With God, all things are possible. Nothing is impossible for Him to do {except lie} because He has all the power to do whatever you need Him to do in your life.

God’s faithfulness lies in Himself, in His nature, in His very being. Do you know what this means? It means God’s faithfulness isn’t dependent on your symptoms; it isn’t conditioned on, or regulated by, the circumstances you’re faced with. God’s faithfulness, beloved, does not cease with the severity of the trial, nor is it diminished and threatened by the longevity of the trial. It isn’t harder for God to be faithful just because the trial is harder or longer or seemingly hopeless, incurable, or impossible.

God’s faithfulness lies in Himself. His nature causes Him to be faithful. And there’s nothing–except a change in His nature–that can cause God to be unfaithful. Since God’s nature hasn’t changed, since His nature can’t be changed–then there’s nothing on this earth, including your trial and the devil, that can change God or prevent Him from being faithful TO YOU!

What cannot be changed cannot be changed. The symptoms, the pains, the time element, the reports of men, or the lies and works of the devil, CANNOT CHANGE God’s nature of  ALWAYS being faithful. Therefore, brethren, no matter what kind of trial it is;  no matter how bad it’s looking, how painful it’s feeling, how long it’s taking, or how close the deadline is coming–whatever you’re believing God for, hold fast and continue to believe because God is still faithful! He has not changed!

FIGHTING OUR GOLIATHS PART 7

BEFORE YOU FIGHT, GET RID OF FEAR

If you want the Devil to flee you’ve got to fight him. Fear, however, will keep you  from  fighting.  So  in  order  to  fight  the Devil, or before you fight the Devil, you’ve got to deal with the fear that’s got you paralyzed in the foxhole. So how do you get rid of fear?

                1. QUIT LOOKING AT THE GIANT. To get rid of fear you’ve got to get your eyes off of the giant. The sight of the giant is what makes you afraid. Brethren, as long as you’re looking at the giant, at the circumstances, at the symptoms; you’ll be afraid. YOU’VE GOT TO STOP LOOKING!

Instead of looking at Goliath you’ve got to look at God. If you read the narrative of Scripture very carefully you’ll notice that, until David came along, God was nowhere found in the Valley. That is, His name wasn’t mentioned or brought up by the Israelites. No one thought to call a prayer meeting. No one looked to God for help. God wasn’t on any one’s mind. All everybody could think of, and see, was this Incredible Hulk that stood in front of them. Shame on us, I say shame on us, if God isn’t on our mind, if we don’t bring Him into our Valley of Elah. WITHOUT GOD WE’RE DOOMED! NO WONDER WE’RE AFRAID!

To get rid of our fear we’ve got to get our eyes off of Goliath and get them focused on God. We’ve been going about this fight the wrong way. We’ve compared ourself to Goliath and we’ve come out the loser because we’re smaller, he’s bigger; we’re weaker, he’s stronger. Brethren, take your Goliath and compare him to God. Set him side by side with God. Now look. Look who’s a lot smaller and who’s a lot weaker. Goliath just doesn’t seem so big now, does he? He isn’t so invincible and unbeatable, is he?

Brethren, THE GOLIATH YOU FACE ISN’T A GOLIATH TO GOD! THE NAME, SIZE, OR SEVERITY OF YOUR BATTLES AND TRIALS DO NOT MATTER TO GOD.  They’re not any harder for God to heal or remedy. Nothing is too difficult for God, Jeremiah 32:17. Nothing. That includes your Goliath. He may be a giant to you, but HE’S NO GIANT TO GOD and don’t you ever forget that. A mosquito, yes. Maybe even as big as a cockroach. But a giant? You’ve got to be kidding me! Goliath doesn’t have a chance or a prayer against God! GET GOD INTO YOUR VALLEY AND IT’LL BE THE DEVIL’S TURN TO BE AFRAID!

                2. QUIT LISTENING TO THE GIANT! Goliath’s got some of you bound up with fear because everyday for the past forty days, morning and night, you’ve been listening to him.

*Friends, YOU DON’T GET FAITH BY LISTENING TO THE DEVIL. LISTENING TO HIM LEAVES YOU FAITHLESS AND DOUBTFUL. You get faith by listening to God’s Word, Romans 10:17, So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

*YOU DON’T GET COURAGE BY LISTENING TO THE DEVIL. LISTENING TO HIM MAKES YOU A COWARD. You get courage by looking at God. Psalm 27:14, Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

*YOU DON’T GET STRONGER BY LISTENING TO THE DEVIL. LISTENING TO HIM MAKES YOU WEAKER. You get strong by going to the Lord and letting Him fill you with His strength. Ephesians 6:10, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Friends, you know what Goliath’s said. You’ve listened to the doctor, lawyer, banker, and the judge. You’ve heard what the Devil’s told you. But God has His two bits to say. Are you listening? What’s He saying? He’s saying…

                3. THIS BATTLE—YOUR BATTLE—BELONGS TO THE LORD. 1 Samuel 17:47,  And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands. What does the Bible mean when it says, the battle is the Lord’s? It means  that  the  battle’s  outcome, the battle’s victory, belongs to the Lord. Not to anyone else. GOD ALONE DETERMINES WHO WILL WIN AND WHO WILL NOT. HE GIVES THE VICTORY TO WHOMSOEVER HE WILL.

Folks, stay with me. Keep focused. God’s got His bullhorn and He’s driving home a very important point here. Victory doesn’t belong to the biggest and baddest. The strongest and severest. The invincible and incurable. The inevitable and impossible. GOLIATH DOESN’T DETERMINE THE OUTCOME OF YOUR BATTLE. NO GIANT OF A MAN, NO GIANT OF A DEMON, AND NO GIANT OF A TRIAL, DETERMINES WHO’S GOING TO WIN THIS FIGHT YOU’RE IN! THE VICTORY IS NOT THEIRS TO HAVE

The battle belongs to the Lord. And ONE THING’S FOR SURE: THE LORD ISN’T  GOING TO GIVE GOLIATH THE VICTORY! Goliath may be victorious for now over the cowards of Israel. But God will raise for Himself a shepherd boy of faith and God will once again prove to all that the battle is the Lord’s and He will deliver every Goliath into your hand—if you would but believe and fight. Psalm 60:12, Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is who shall tread down our enemies. Psalm 118:15, The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the Lord doeth valiantly. Psalm 68:1, Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered. Hallelujah! Brethren, bring God into the battle and let the voice of rejoicing and salvation be heard in the tabernacles of the righteous!

                4. THE FIGHT YOU FIGHT IS WINNABLE!  In order for you to get rid of fear you’ve got to understand in your heart of hearts that the fight you fight is winnable. Lamentably, when you consider the size and strength of the Philistine giant that stands before you, there is little cause for optimism. This is how the Israelite army saw it. IT WAS THIS NOTION OF AN UNWINNABLE WAR THAT KEPT THE ARMY IN FEAR AND IN THE FOXHOLE.

But THE NOTION THAT THE ISRAELITES WERE IN AN UNWINNABLE WAR WAS SIMPLY NOT TRUE! David came along and proved them wrong. Friends, let this be a lesson. You can be so utterly convinced about how this battle or trial is going to end. As far as you’re concerned, the fight you’re in leaves no room for survival, victory, or miracle. You’re a goner. You haven’t got a hope or a prayer. You’re as good as dead. But as convinced as you are about the outcome of the fight, YOU CAN BE WRONG ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE SO SURE AND CONVINCED ABOUT. The faith and God of a shepherd boy proves you’re wrong.

Brethren, WITH GOD THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LOSING BATTLE. AS AN UNWINNABLE FIGHT. AN UNDEFEATABLE FOE. A HOPELESS CASE. GOD WINS EVERY FIGHT HE’S IN! Hallelujah! He hasn’t lost a fight yet and He isn’t going to start losing now.

                5. YOU CAN FIGHT GOLIATH AND WIN! To get rid of fear you’ve got to get rid of the notion that you can’t possibly fight your Goliath and win. That’s what every Israelite soldier in the valley thought—that’s why none of them went out to fight Goliath. He bluffed, fooled, and convinced them they couldn’t fight and win.

But David came along. And when the Philistine army saw him hold up the severed head of the giant, they fled in fear. 1 Samuel 17:52 reads,  And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron.

When the Israelites saw David’s awe-inspiring victory and saw the Philistines running in terror, the once-frightened Israelites were instantly invigorated with faith and courage.  They got out of the foxholes and went on the attack. And when it was all said and done, the battlefields between Elah and Ekron were littered with the dead bodies of once-invincible, once-formidable, once undefeatable, Philistine giants and warriors.

Do you see what I mean? THE ISRAELITES WHO ONCE THOUGHT THEY COULDN’T FIGHT AGAINST ONE GOLIATH AND WIN WENT OUT AND FOUGHT HUNDREDS OF OTHER GOLIATHS AND WON! THEY DID SOMETHAT THAT, FOR FORTY DAYS, THEY THOUGHT THEY COULD NEVER DO. THEY FOUGHT AGAINST GIANTS AND WON!

Learn the lesson, dear friends. YOU CAN DO WHAT GOLIATH SAYS YOU CAN’T. You can fight him and beat him. He isn’t invincible to God. Get rid of fear. Bring God into the Valley. Let faith arise. Then get out of the hole you’re in and put the giant in his. With God’s help, you can! God bless you and give you the courage and faith to fight. And win!

Coming Up On My Next Blog, the conclusion of these faith-inspiring messages. Don’t miss it!

FIGHTING OUR GOLIATHS PART 6

The following post is a continuation of Fighting Our Goliaths Part 5. I’m dealing with the things we can do to cultivate a habit of courage and faith.

3. DAVID FOUGHT BECAUSE OF WHAT HE WAS FIGHTING FOR. Instead of doing what comes naturally and instinctively to human nature when one’s life is being threatened—that is, run; David chose to stay and fight. Why? Because, like a true shepherd, DAVID CARED FOR THE SHEEP.

What’s even more astounding is the fact that DAVID WASN’T WILLING TO LOSE SO MUCH AS ONE LAMB. Count it. One lamb! Look at verses 34 and 35 again, And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: {35} And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. One lamb mattered to David and he wasn’t willing to lose so much as one lamb among many.

Now some of us would choose to stand our ground and fight a hungry, angry lion or bear for the sake of our sheep—as long as we could do it from a distance with the help of a powerful, semi automatic gun and scope. David did that with his sling. He wasn’t foolish. He fought from a distance with his sling. That’s what it was for and he fought wisely and responsibly.

But on this particular occasion, the wounded beast turned on David and David found himself in close, hand-to-hand combat with a lion. How many of you would volunteer to wrestle with a wounded, angry lion? David did it and, with God’s help, he managed to kill that crazed, murderous beast. We call that kind of wrestling crazy, stupid, and senseless! We could have gotten killed!

But, in the interest of saving one lamb, David looked to his God, then went on the attack, and came out victorious with his one lamb intact and alive. DAVID’S LOVE FOR HIS SHEEP, I’M SAYING, WAS WHAT PROMPTED HIM TO TUSSLE WITH THE LION AND THE BEAR.

In the spiritual realm, we are faced with all sorts of menacing lions called demons who are out to forcibly and defiantly rob us of what is ours. Our faith in God. Our fear of God. Our desire and commitment to obey God. Our moral purity. Our loyalty and faithfulness to Jesus Christ. Our love for an uncompromised Word. Our discernment. Our spiritual hunger for  the  things of  the Lord.  Our presence  and participation in the local church. Our witness and testimony to this world of an omnipotent, faithful, promise-keeping, soul-saving, body-healing, family-preserving, God. The Devil is out to rob us of our spouse. Our children. Our marriage. Brethren, these are our lambs. They are the lambs that God has called us to shepherd, nurture and protect.

If we don’t love our lambs enough, if we’re more concerned about saving our life instead of saving our lambs; then we’re going to end up losing a whole lot of lambs because the Devil isn’t going to stop with one lamb. He isn’t going to be satisfied with taking two or three of our lambs. THE DEVIL’S AFTER THE WHOLE FLOCK! And he’s going to keep on attacking, robbing, afflicting, inflicting, and devouring until he’s gotten everything that we’re willing to let him have.

WHAT LAMBS ARE YOU WILLING TO LOSE, BRETHREN? HOW MANY OF YOUR LAMBS ARE YOU WILLING TO FORFEIT AND GIVE INTO THE JAWS OF THE LION OR THE BEAR? Will you give the Devil your lamb of faith? Your lamb of purity? Commitment? Love? Obedience? What fruit of the Spirit, what Christian virtue, are you willing to lose and live without? Friends, you’ve got to hold on to every one of your lambs! You can’t afford to let the Devil have any one of them! Like David, love your lambs enough. Then go out there in the Name and the strength of the Lord, tussle with the lion and bear, and GET YOUR LAMBS BACK! DON’T SETTLE FOR LOSING SO MUCH AS ONE OF YOUR LAMBS!  

4. THE MORE DAVID FOUGHT, THE BETTER HE GOT.  David’s tussles with the lion and bear prepared him for his tussle with Goliath. Each fight helped him develop good fighting skills with the staff, the sling, and the knife. HE GOT BETTER WITH EACH FIGHT. AND EACH FIGHT PREPARED HIM FOR THE NEXT. THE SMALLER ONES PREPARED HIM FOR THE BIGGER ONES. And the bigger ones prepared him for the lone  Goliath that now stood before him in the Valley of Elah. BY THE TIME DAVID MET UP WITH HIS GOLIATH DAVID WAS TRAINED, PREPARED, AND EQUIPPED TO FIGHT BECAUSE HE MADE IT HIS LIFE’S HABIT TO STAY AND FIGHT AND WIN!

Best of all, THROUGH ALL OF HIS TRIALS AND EXPERIENCES AS A SHEPHERD DAVID LEARNED TO LOOK TO GOD AND TRUST HIM FOR PRESERVATION AND VICTORY NO MATTER WHO OR WHAT HE WAS UP AGAINST. His confidence of the victory, or his knowledge of how the fight would end, wasn’t based on his skills or his fearlessness. It wasn’t about David. For him, it was all about God and what God would do for him. Look at verse 37, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.

WITH EACH FIGHT FOUGHT, WITH EACH FIGHT WON, DAVID LEARNED IN A RESOLUTE, IRREVOCABLE, UNWAVERING MANNER THAT GOD WAS FAITHFUL IN EVERY FIGHT. His power to deliver was not limited by the size or strength of the foe. By the name or severity of the battle. By the destructiveness or winsome way of the enemy. DAVID LEARNED THAT IN EVERY FIGHT, IN EVERY VALLEY, GOD WOULD SHOW HIMSELF STRONG ON DAVID’S BEHALF AND DELIVER EVERY FOE INTO HIS HAND EVERY TIME.

Brethren, YOUR LIFE’S BATTLES AND TRIALS, LIKE DAVID’S, ARE MEANT TO FILL YOU WITH COURAGE AND FAITH. They’re meant to teach you to look to God and trust Him for the help, the wisdom, and the victory. To show you God’s faithfulness,  power,  and   glory   in   the midst of overwhelming odds and circumstances. To strengthen you even more in faith. To make you a fighter who’s not hampered by fear, or worry, or despair. To teach you that the battles and trials you face in the present are no different from all the others you faced in the past: God brought you through those trials and He’ll bring you through these ones as well! He will not fail or forsake you! To convince you in a resolute and irrevocable faith that God is Victor in every valley, He’s faithful in every fight, He’s triumphant in every trial, He’s powerful over every Philistine, He’s greater  than  any Goliath.  Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!  Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?  Nothing is too hard or difficult for Him to do. The battle belongs to the Lord. He will deliver Goliath into your hand!

Brethren, just as God granted David the victory in every trial despite the severity and ferocity of the trial; so this same God is willing to do the same for every David today who’s willing to trust Him and stay put, stand his ground, and fight in the Lord’s Name for the Lord’s glory. God is no respecter of persons. What He did yesteryear He will do today. But, like David, you’ve got to look to the Lord and fight your battles with the resolute faith and determination that the battle can end one, and only one, way—in victory for you and in defeat for your foe. May God bless you with the will, the courage, and the faith to believe!  And fight! And win!

[I’ve got two more soul-stirring, faith-inspiring posts on Fighting Our Goliaths. Lord willing, I’ll be posting them sometime around the 1st of June. In these final two posts I deal with some practical things we can do to get rid of fear and revive faith in our heart. If you have a problem with fear, like most of us do, you’ll definitely want to drop by around June 1 and get spiritually renewed to bring this giant down. With God’s help you can do it! See you then!]

FIGHTING OUR GOLIATHS PART 5

CULTIVATING A HABIT OF COURAGE AND FAITH

God’s talking to us today about cultivating a habit of courage and faith. IF WE’RE GOING TO FIGHT OUR GOLIATHS AND WIN, WE NEED TO BE ARMED  WITH COURAGE AND FAITH. Why?

Because IT’S GOING TO TAKE COURAGE AND FAITH TO GET OUT OF THE FOXHOLES, FIGHT THE GIANT, AND WIN.

So how do we go about cultivating a habit of courage and faith? There are four things that I’d like for you to see in the way David conducted himself in his day to day life as a shepherd.

1. DAVID STAYED AND FOUGHT HIS FIGHTS. Getting into a tussle with a hungry lion or bear is no light matter. People have been killed and eaten in that horrible way. Many, if not all, of us would have run. But David chose to stay and fight! HE DETERMINED FROM THE VERY START TO FIGHT LIFE’S TRIALS AND BATTLES, NOT SHIRK THEM OR AVOID THEM.

Nobody likes trials. Most of all me. I don’t like them and I don’t volunteer to go through them. But I’ve learned that YOU DON’T GAIN ANYTHING BY SHIRKING YOUR TRIALS. IN FACT, YOU DO YOURSELF MORE HARM THAN GOOD WHEN YOU RUN FROM YOUR TRIALS!

(A) For one thing, whenever you shirk your battles and refuse to fight them you’re making a coward out of yourself. You’re reinforcing and strengthening the grip that fear and unbelief have on you. It’s as if you’re building a prison cell around you that will keep you locked in in the prison of fear and unbelief.

WHENEVER YOU GIVE UP FAITH AND DON’T ENDURE YOUR TRIALS YOU’RE MAKING IT HARDER AND HARDER FOR YOU TO BELIEVE AND ENDURE THE NEXT TIME AROUND.

You see, there’s no doubting the fact that there will be more fights, more trials, more wars up ahead. For David, the  lion and  the  bear were not  the last or  the end of  his  trials. There was a Goliath after that. And even after Goliath, David had his fights and wars as Israel’s king. So you’ve got to recognize the fact that you’re going to have more trials down the road.

Now when you choose not to believe God for the promises and choose not to endure your trials you’re making it less and less likely that you’ll stay around and fight the next fight. You’re cultivating a habit of fear and faithlessness that makes it harder for you to stand up to the Devil, resist him, and drive him and his minions out of the Valley.

(B) Moreover, WHEN YOU SHIRK YOUR TRIALS YOU’RE ONLY ASKING FOR MORE! Stop and think about it for a moment. Who does a bully pick fights with? With those he knows he can push around and beat. Who does a criminal attack? Those who are vulnerable, weak and unarmed. When you read the text of Scripture you see who Goliath haunted and taunted for forty days and forty nights. He haunted the cowards in the foxholes. Those who were much smaller and weaker than him. Those whom he was confident of beating.

Brethren, WHEN YOU REMAIN IN THE FOXHOLES AND REFUSE TO COME OUT AND FIGHT YOUR BATTLES–BE IT WITH THE LION, THE BEAR, OR THE GIANT–YOU’RE ONLY ASKING THE LION, THE BEAR, AND THE GIANT TO KEEP ON COMING BACK, TIME AFTER TIME, TO ROB YOU OF YOUR SHEEP AND TO ROB YOU OF YOUR FAITH. You see, THE TRIAL WITH THE LION, THE BEAR, AND THE GIANT, DIDN’T END UNTIL DAVID PUT IT TO AN END. It took a courageous, faith—filled shepherd boy to bring the trial to an end.

AS  LONG AS YOU REFUSE TO FIGHT THE DEVIL, THE DEVIL WILL KEEP FIGHTING YOU, TAUNTING YOU, AFFLICTING YOU, ROBBING YOU–BECAUSE HE KNOWS HE CAN DO IT AND GET AWAY WITH IT. HE KNOWS YOU WON’T STOP HIM FROM DOING IT. SO HE KEEPS ON DOING IT UNTIL HE’S TAKEN EVERYTHING AWAY FROM YOU. YOUR FAITH. YOUR MORALS. YOUR LIFE. YOUR SOUL.

2. THE THOUGHT OR DESIRE FOR SELF PRESERVATION DIDN’T STOP DAVID FROM FIGHTING. How many of you would like to get into a tussle with a lion or bear? Have you ever seen a lion or bear who was hungry and angry? Our first reaction would be to run and keep a lot of distance between ourselves and that rampaging beast.  Naturally, we wouldn’t enjoy seeing our lambs and sheep get killed. But better the lambs instead of us! As far as we’re concerned, saving the lambs is not worth getting ourselves killed! Father would rather have dead lambs and a live son instead of a dead son and dead lambs. Our first instinct, I am saying, would be for our own personal safety and life. It’s called self-preservation and the desire to stay alive.

But David didn’t think that way! The welfare of the flock was placed directly in his hands and he would not stand idly by and watch his family’s lambs served raw as lamb chops  for some wild beast of the field. Whatever thoughts and desires David might have had about running and saving his own skin, he didn’t let them dissuade him from tangling with a lion or bear. The desire to stay alive and not get killed didn’t stop David from fighting what was, in the natural, a life and death trial. It didn’t stop him from fighting what most of us would have considered a doomed and suicidal fight that was certain to end in defeat and death.

Could David have been killed in his tangle with the lion and bear? Well, there are two ways of looking at anything in life. From a natural point of view, yes, David could have been killed by the lion and the bear. In the natural, a brother or sister who’s going through a severe trial could end up dying. Death is always a possibility—if not a very real likelihood—whenever a Goliath is involved. That’s the natural point of view.

But God’s wanting to teach us a new way of thinking or looking at things. He’s wants us to see things from a spiritual point of view. The spiritual point of view is this. When you’re walking with the Lord and trusting Him and His Word, then IT’S YOU WHO DETERMINES HOW THE BATTLE IS GOING TO END. NOT THE LION, NOT THE BEAR, NOT THE GIANT, NOT THE TRIAL. NOT THE DEVIL. WHEN YOU BRING GOD, THE PROMISES, AND FAITH INTO THE TRIAL, BRETHREN, YOU’LL KNOW HOW THE TRIAL IS GOING TO END.

Look again at verses 36 and 37: Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.  (37)  David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.

DAVID KNEW HOW THE BATTLE WAS GOING TO END BEFORE HE EVEN GOT ON THE BATTLEFIELD! What’s even more astounding is, when David walked out on the battlefield, he got even bolder and stronger in faith! And he wasn’t afraid to speak or confess what he was believing would happen.

David made very specific predictions about how the fight was going to end and he even told Goliath what these predictions were. Look at verse 46, This day [this is what’s going to happen today. Not tomorrow. Not some unknown time in the future. But today.] will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand [Goliath, you’re going to lose this fight]; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee [Goliath, you’re going to lose your head today. David is getting very specific here about how he’s going to kill Goliath. And the thing of it is, David doesn’t even have a sword. All he has is his shepherd’s staff, a sling and 5 stones. So how is he going to cut Goliath’s head off?]; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth [David puts God in a position of doing even more and greater miracles for him. Not only is David going to kill Goliath, but he’s going to kill a lot more Philistines today, so that by the time this day is over, the battlefield is going to be littered with Philistine carcasses]; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

David, I am saying, knew how the battle was going to end before the first stone was even slung. How did he know that? He knew it because he was trusting God to do the same thing to the Philistine that He helped him do to the lion and bear. By faith, David knew that what God did yesterday He will do today. The miracle that God did yesterday He will do today. Today is no exception. This fight, this trial, this giant, is no exception. God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. He saved yesterday. He will save today.

Brethren, WHEN YOU’RE BELIEVING GOD, WHEN YOU’RE BELIEVING HIS PROMISES, YOU’LL KNOW SOME THINGS BEFORE YOU EXPERIENCE THEM. BEFORE THEY EVEN COME TO PASS. You may not know everything about how it’s going to end. You may not  know all the details. But you’ll at least know how it’s going to end because, by faith, it’s you who determines how the fight is going to end.

David knew how the fight was going to end.  That’s why he wasn’t afraid to fight. That’s why his desire to stay alive and not get killed didn’t stop him from fighting Goliath. He already knew how the fight was going to end.

We all want to live in safety, in health, and in peace.  We do not savor the thought of dying a horrible death in combat or trial. It’s natural  to  want  to  stay  alive. THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH WANTING TO STAY ALIVE AND KEEP OUT OF HARM’S WAY OR OUT OF DEATH’S REACH.

But WHEN YOU LET THE DESIRE FOR SELF-PRESERVATION KEEP YOU IN THE FOXHOLES, WHEN YOU LET IT STOP YOU FROM FIGHTING YOUR GOLIATHS; THEN THAT’S WHERE THE DESIRE FOR SELF-PRESERVATION BECOMES A VERY DETRIMENTAL THING FOR YOU.

Why detrimental? BECAUSE IT’S STOPPING YOU FROM BELIEVING AND FIGHTING. AND WHENEVER YOU REFUSE TO BELIEVE AND FIGHT YOU’RE ASKING THE DEVIL TO KEEP COMING BACK AND TAKING MORE LAMBS FROM THE FLOCK.

Brethren, YOU CAN’T FIGHT YOUR GOLIATHS AS LONG AS YOU’RE GOVERNED BY THE DESIRE TO STAY ALIVE! The desire to stay alive will keep you in the foxholes of life. It’ll keep you defeated, demoralized, and dispirited. It’ll keep the Devil coming back.

Coming Up On My Next Blog, Part 6. A continuing look at how David cultivated courage and faith in his day-to-day life as a shepherd.

FIGHTING OUR GOLIATHS PART 4

INTRODUCTION

We’re looking at the story of David and Goliath. God, through the story, wants to encourage our heart with the fact that we can fight our Goliaths and win! Now most of us would rather not face or fight a Goliath. But there are just some things that we have no say in; there are some things that we have no control over. God’s in charge. And even though He knows we don’t want to ever meet up with a Goliath, He nevertheless brings a Goliath our way and He expects us to fight him and beat him.

In our last post, we looked at the fearful Israelite army. God showed us how we can conquer our fears, get out of the foxhole, and fight.

Today, we want to look at David. Unlike the fearful Israelites, David was prepared, ready, and willing to fight Goliath. God wants to encourage our hearts with the fact that we can beat our Goliaths. But before we even meet up with him, we need to cultivate a habit of courage and faith.

DAVID VOLUNTEERED TO FIGHT

1 Samuel 17:12-13,  Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.  (13)  And the three eldest sons of Jesse went and followed Saul to the battle: and the names of his three sons that went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next unto him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.

1 Samuel 17:17-22,  And Jesse said unto David his son, Take now for thy brethren an ephah of this parched corn, [that’s about ¾ bushel of grain—most likely either wheat or barley that was dried, or roasted, in an oven; the Israelites did not grow corn] and these ten loaves, and run to the camp to thy brethren;  (18)  And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge. [A pledge was a token or proof that Jesse’s sons were alive & well. Usually, the pledge would be a lock of hair or a piece of their clothing.]

(19)  Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.  (20)  And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle.  (21)  For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army.  (22)  And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.

As David was talking with his brothers, Goliath came out and gave the same speech that he’d been giving for the last forty days: he wanted the Israelites to send out a man to fight him. To make a long story short, David volunteered to fight him!

1 Samuel 17:31,  And when the words were heard which David spake, they rehearsed them before Saul: and he sent for him. Now I’d like for you to notice David’s first words to the King. Verse 32,  And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this  Philistine. For forty days, neither the King nor any of his generals, colonels, sergeants, or soldiers, volunteered for the fight. They were all plumb scared to fight Goliath. Along comes David and the very first thing he does is, he volunteers to fight! He’s not scared! He wants to fight Goliath!

Well, you would think that the King would be relieved that he’d finally find someone who was willing to fight the giant. But the King wasn’t convinced that that was a good idea because David was just a scrawny teenager. Besides that, he wasn’t a soldier, he didn’t know how to fight, he’d only get himself killed if the King sent him out there into the Valley. 

1  Samuel 17:33,   And  Saul  said  to  David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. [Youth in the Hebrew refers to a teenager; someone who wasn’t an adult. Most scholars agree that David, at this time, wasn’t 20 years old. Many believe he was around 17 years old.]

If David was just bluffing and full of hot air, here was his chance to get out of fighting the giant. But David isn’t bluffing. He wants to fight. So he gives the King some background history about himself that might persuade the King to change his mind and let him fight.

1 Samuel 17:34-37,  And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:  (35)  And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.  (36)  Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: [Notice David’s faith and courage here: he is so absolutely sure and convinced that] this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. (37b)  David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.

DAVID BROUGHT GOD INTO THE VALLEY AND, WITH GOD BY HIS SIDE, DAVID KNEW HOW THE FIGHT WOULD END! That, dear friends, is confidence! Not self-confidence, but confidence in God. THAT’S WHAT FAITH IS. FAITH IS PLACING YOUR CONFIDENCE IN GOD.

DAVID WAS READY AND PREPARED TO FIGHT

Now the thing that I want you to notice is, when David went into the Valley of Elah he went there with faith already in his heart. He didn’t have to stop and muster it up. He didn’t have to tarry and pray. He didn’t have to wrestle with fear or doubt. He didn’t have to stop and ask God to help him get rid of his fears or doubts.  When David went into the Valley faith was already in his heart and, because of it, he was ready to fight.

Brethren, do you know why faith was already in his heart?  Because  DAVID MADE IT A POINT TO KEEP FAITH IN HIS HEART AT ALL TIMES. HE MADE IT A HABIT TO FIGHT LIFE’S BATTLES. AND WIN THEM! HE DIDN’T CULTIVATE A HABIT OF FEAR AND ESCAPE, BUT RATHER, A HABIT OF COURAGE AND FAITH.

David acquired the habit of fighting and faith—not as a soldier, but as a shepherd. The life of a shepherd was no gravy job. The job had its own fair share of trials. Unbeknownst  to David at  the  time, his day to day trials as a sheep herder prepared him for this battle with Goliath.

Now back in those days, grass for the sheep was not grown, cut, dried, and stored in barns, much the way farmers of today would grow hay in the fields, then cut, dry, and store them so that the livestock would have a steady, continual supply of hay throughout the year. Shepherds brought their flocks to wherever the pasture and water were. A lot of times, it would take days to get to a field of grass or days to get to a river or well. So David was accustomed to spending large amounts of time on the road, in the fields, taking care of the sheep. Day  and  night, he  kept watch over the flock—making sure that brigands didn’t steal the sheep. He had to fend off wild beasts from devouring and decimating the flock.

On two particular occasions, David had a tussle with a lion and bear. We read about it in verses 34-35. And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: {35} And I went out after him, and smote him,  and  delivered  it  out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him

It  would  be  erroneous  for us to think that these tussles with the lion and bear were the only fights David had out in the field. There were other wild beasts to contend with. Smaller perhaps. And not as threatening as a lion or bear. But the point is, DAVID HAD HIS FIGHTS. AND HE FOUGHT THEM.

Coming Up On My Next Blog, Part 5. Cultivating a habit of courage and faith.

FIGHTING OUR GOLIATHS PART 3

FEAR WILL KEEP YOU FROM FIGHTING

1 Samuel 17:11,  When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid…{23} And as David talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.  (24)  And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid.

FEAR WILL KEEP YOU FROM FIGHTING. That might not seem like such a bad thing to you. After all, it’s  a  lot  safer in the trenches than on the battlefield with the giant. At least you’re alive in the foxhole, instead of dead on the battlefield. But BATTLES ARE NOT WON IN THE FOXHOLES! Where would we be today if Jesus stayed in the foxhole? If He stayed in Heaven and refused to fight Satan on battlefield Earth?

THE DEVIL DOESN’T WANT YOU TO FIGHT HIM. Do you know why? BECAUSE HE KNOWS HE’LL LOSE IF YOU DO! Look at James 4:7, Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. The Bible promises us that if we submit ourselves to God and fight the Devil back, the Devil will flee from us. He’ll quit fighting. He’ll quit stealing, killing, destroying, and damning. He’ll cut it out and leave us alone.

BUT IT TAKES A FIGHT TO PUT HIM TO FLIGHT. NO FIGHT, NO FLIGHT. IF YOU WON’T FIGHT, HE WON’T RUN. IF YOU DON’T START FIGHTING, HE WON’T QUIT FIGHTING. Brethren, YOU’VE GOT TO FIGHT IF YOU WANT THE DEVIL TO STOP HASSLING YOU AND MESSING WITH YOU. And this brings me the fifth thing that I’d like for you to see from Scripture.

FEAR WILL KEEP THE DEVIL COMING BACK AND MESSING YOU UP EVEN MORE

1 Samuel 17:16,  And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days. Twice a day, for over a month, Goliath came out for a fight. HE KEPT ON LOOKING FOR A FIGHT. HE KEPT ON ASKING FOR A FIGHT. AND HE DIDN’T QUIT ASKING UNTIL HE FINALLY GOT HIS FIGHT.

THE DEVIL, BRETHREN, DOESN’T GIVE UP WITHOUT A FIGHT. HE DOESN’T GO AWAY WITHOUT A FIGHT. HE DOESN’T LEAVE YOU ALONE WITHOUT A FIGHT. HE DOESN’T QUIT MESSING YOU UP UNTIL YOU FIGHT. The Devil’s come for a fight and HE’S GOING TO KEEP ON MESSING WITH YOU, HASSLING YOU, STEALING FROM YOU, KILLING YOU, DESTROYING YOU, DAMNING YOU; UNTIL YOU DECIDE ENOUGH’S ENOUGH AND GET OUT OF THE FOXHOLE AND FIGHT.

You see, friends, THE DEVIL IS GOING TO DO WHATEVER YOU LET HIM DO TO YOU. If you don’t stop him, he’ll keep on doing what he’s doing to you. And HE’LL KEEP ON DOING IT FOR AS LONG AS YOU LET HIM DO IT. YOUR REFUSAL TO FIGHT HIM, BRETHREN, IS WHAT KEEPS HIM COMING BACK.

That’s why THINGS ALWAYS GET WORSE WHEN YOU’RE NOT FIGHTING. THE LONGER YOU STAY IN THE FOXHOLE, THE MORE THE DEVIL WILL MESS YOU AND THE MORE YOU’LL HURT. Are you tired of seeing him? Tired of letting him have his way with you? Tired of letting him mess you up? Then fight! THE ONLY WAY YOUR BATTLES AND STRUGGLES ARE GOING TO END IS IF YOU PUT THEM TO AN END.

Well, my time’s up and I’ve gotta go. I’d be back in a month with another Goliath blog and I guarantee  you’ll really get pumped full of faith and courage. It’ll be your Goliath’s turn to start shaking in his boots! Hope to see you then. God bless and keep you.

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