USEFUL ARMOR, part 4
David stood before the King of Israel. He was not there to gain favor for himself, nor was he trying to make a place for himself. Though there was a reward available to anyone who would challenge and defeat the beastly Goliath, David’s eye was attentive to something greater, and his ear was honed to hear God’s deeper call. His faith in the Lord heard the voice of the Spirit, yet men in battle array stood looking over the valley, yet were deaf to the call. Their eye only saw Goliath, while David’s eye saw the uncircumcised Philistine for what he really was, a mere man bellowing forth boasts that were fueled by devils. David heard of the reward when he arrived on the hillside, but that was not his motivation to act. Saul promised great riches to any person who could defeat Goliath; he also promised a royal position in the family through marriage with his own daughter, and he offered a life free of taxes for the victor’s family (1 Samuel 17:25). David asked about the reward, but was not motivated by it. His elder brother scorned David for asking the question, but David would not be set aside by man’s pride that seeks to excuse its own weaknesses by making another feel small. Rather, David asked, “Is there not a cause?” David’s faith was riled.
Beware of being motivated by this sort of earthly prize. Eyes must not be set on the gain and glory that is among the ranks of men. Beware of those who look for ways to advance themselves among their peers, and seek an audience with those in charge. There is an ever-present, growing trend to gain position, pay, and place among ourselves; they are "climbers." Men often applaud each other who move upward among them, and they will be surrounded with those who are likeminded. Their success is determined by titles and they will do more than receive the applause of men, they will consider it deserved. However, in this sort of increase there is little anointing, as men and women simply flatter one another. True faith has a disdain for such things; it is fueled with a love for God that is equaled with a disdain for sin. Sadly, many believers operate in this realm of self-promotion, seeking advancement among the elite. David will one day be honored as the king and he will receive the title fully knowing it was of the Lord. David's quest to face Goliath was not an idea to advance himself to the throne. The Holy Spirit was making all the arrangements; David was the surrendered vessel.
Though David asked about the rewards, he was not moved by them. He was motivated by Goliath’s assault that spewed words of contempt for God and His people. David was not looking for a following; he was concerned about who he was following. We need a faith that has been riled like his spirit was riled. Too often, today’s believer is set to prove himself a polite and nice person, and he quickly defends his integrity and loving heart should anyone challenge his love. Many have become so soft and weak in their resolve, and so calloused toward the Spirit’s presence and purposes. They want to be seen by men as a loving person, instead of a godly man full of faith, ready to battle those in opposition to the life and love of the Lord. David’s ire was raised and he sought action. He was not being presumptuous; he was filled with righteous indignation. He did not look to usurp Saul's authority at any time; he was submissive to him at all times, but he spoke faith.
David was in the presence of King Saul, and he was there to do the Lord’s bidding. This must be the heart of the believer who desires to serve God. The heart of Saul was full of fear, and all those under his leadership were quivering in their armor. However, David possessed God’s cause in his heart, thus superseding any fear that may be present. Faith must always be greater than one’s fears, trusting in the causes of God. David’s heart was being quickened by the Lord, rather than quaking at the situation.
When Saul saw that David was determined to go forth into the valley to face Goliath, he consented to it and said, “Go, and the Lord be with you” (1 Samuel 17:37). Saul yielded to David’s request, and then gave David his very own armor, since David had none. A shepherd boy in the field had no armor of his own; David only had experiences of God’s presence as he defended his father’s few sheep in the midst of a field that was flanked by the marauding beasts of the earth. David protected these sheep from both lion and bear, and this Goliath of man was nothing more than a beast attempting to snatch the sheep of God from the pasture. He would defeat this beast as well.
Saul’s own armor rested quietly on the side, and he proceeded to put it on David (1 Samuel 17:38). David’s body was covered by Saul’s coat of mail and the bronze helmet was put on his head. David then fastened Saul’s sword to the armor and tried to walk; he failed miserably. The armor was not for him; it could not be trusted, he could not move in it at all. It suffocated his freedom. David took off the useless armor. There is an armor that is made by the hands of man that never protects a person rightly in battle. There is an armor made for show, and there is an armor made to war against men, but useful armor is found in the faith. This was David’s armor; one that was tried and found to be true. Saul saw that David was ready for battle in his heart, and he released him to fight; but he had to add his own plan to the process by putting his own useless armor on David. The very armor he refused to use, he put on David. If the armor did not provide courage to Saul, who owned it, how could it encourage David? If Saul’s faith was not in that armor, then how could David trust it? This was not the way to battle. The armor that brought no courage to Saul was certainly not going to be the Lord’s method of defeating Goliath.
There will always be those who want to clothe you in their way of doing things. The flesh nature will always seek to glory in the things of the Spirit. Should David win the victory, Saul can say that it was because of his armor. If David succeeds, all would see him clothed in the king’s armor. However, if David failed, Saul could also run to the thought that he warned him beforehand telling him he was but a youth facing a man skilled in war since he was a youth. Flesh inserts itself whenever there is some glory to be gained, but leaves a way out for another to suffer the shame. Always consider where a person is at before you accept his or her advise, guidance, help or support. As the Bible says, "
Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct
." (Hebrews 13:7). Consider the results of their family and ministry, the words they use, the jokes they laugh at, and the things they post. Look at the things they look forward to in life. What does their ministry look like, and what sort of people follow them and listen to them?
The believer’s armor is not of this world. The armor of God instills courage and seeks to diminish and destroy the words of contempt that war against God. The Apostle Paul said, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthian 10:4–5). Armor is for battle not decoration. An armor that is so easily set aside while the enemy taunts is not an armor to trust in. A person may have advice and a way to help you, but if they are not using it rightly for himself, then it is not for you either. An armor that makes you look like a warrior on the battle line, but does not move you to advance in the valley, is not a useful armor.
There are those who say that they are ready to do great exploits for God, but facing Goliath is usually not one of them. If one has not overcome his own flesh nature, be careful when listening to their guidance or trusting in their help.
There is an enormous rise of those who are talking of the armor and even walk about in their armor, but they always put it aside like Saul when faced with a great battle. When the battle they fear rises in front of them, they go to prayer and call upon God to help them with this great trial, but they refuse to engage in the battle themselves. They just want someone to deliver them from the problem. The Saul-type leadership or ministry wants victory so they can do as they have always done before. There will usually be great discussions about the situation, deep theology may surface, and battle plans are considered, but most are unwilling to fight the menacing foe in front of them, and that enemy is best called, the self-nature. Many leaders are in the tent today having meetings with their captains wanting to see a great revival, but no one is really stepping out. There is more planning going into the next vacation than in a battle plan. They preach the circuit calling upon others to fight, but they go to Israel and walk about the land to ponder on the wonders God, but no victory over the flesh nature results and the Kingdom of God remains ignored. There are warriors fully geared in armor along the hillside today, but they are also fully fearful, because many leaders have set their armor aside as well. Where are the men of God who are willing to battle the Goliath of their own flesh nature? We have become self-centered ministers who are focusing on the success of our own ministries. Lord, help us, we need hearts that are fully focused on the advancement of the Kingdom of God in our lives and in every person we face! This requires the good fight of faith.
The outer shell of armor that Saul possessed never protects the unrighteous man in any way. In later years, King Ahab sought protection and disguised himself dressing as one of the other warriors, so that he would escape the prophet’s words who said he would surely die (1 Kings 22:30, 34–35). His unrighteous rulership was judged and found wanting. The arrow inadvertently found him and he died according to the Word of the Lord. David’s trust was not in an outer shell placed over his vulnerable body like a turtle, nor was he looking to hide among the many; his protection was in his preparation. David was prepared for battle by learning to trust the Lord. David had useful armor. His protection was rooted in faith that knew God’s Word and His promises.
As you envision this storyline, picture David in Saul’s armor. Saul was known to be a head taller than anyone else (1 Samuel 10:23). David was just a youth. David received Saul’s armor and helmet, and then placed Saul’s sword on his side, attaching it to the place it belonged. Then David tried to walk, he could not function in the armor. This was not the armor to trust in; it was useless. David said, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them” (1 Samuel 17:39). You can only trust in what has been tested, and you can only trust to the extent that it has been tried; only faith in the Lord Almighty has been proven true in all circumstances and situations. There is no battle too great for the one that is of faith. There was only one thing to do, David shed the useless and opted for the useful armor that always worked for him. David put his trust in the armor of God. Every believer must do the same, start walking in the armor that is tested and proven to be true; it is "Useful Armor."
Saul’s armor was left in the tent. David walked out of the tent; he left the useless behind and proceeded to the battle line.
“Is There Not A Cause?” -----ITNAC
Blessings to you!
Your Friend in Christ,
Dr. Gary H. Cote
Part V of USEFUL ARMOR is coming next!