USEFUL ARMOR, part 5
Goliath defied the armies of the living God (1 Samuel 17:36). One young man from the midst of the many rose to the forefront; he addressed the situation with strength and sincerity of heart. David saw what the eye of man never sees; faith always sees pass the natural order and views all from God’s perspective. David’s heart was set to do battle because he saw the cause of God.
King Saul’s spirit was full of fear and failure, yet he sought to insert himself in the plan of God by offering his own armor. David could not move in the armor; it was useless to him just as it was useless to Saul. This sort of armor turned David into a turtle; he awkwardly walked forward with an outer shell to protect his delicate frame, but this was not for the man of faith.
The outer armor seemed valuable and useful, and offered encouragement to the user as long as it faced something of equal or less value. From Saul’s very first battle, he learned to trust in this sort of armor. When he faced the Philistines or the Amalekites in war, they were dressed for war in like manner. Saul was able to cope with his fears through conventional means and methods, but this Goliath forced his own weaknesses and feelings of inferiority to surface and overcome him. He was basically paralyzed; his fear kept him from moving forward and his pride kept him from retreating. He was a man without the faith to believe God.
A man of inward fears can stay hidden for many years and through a host of circumstances, but eventually the Lord exposes them. Saul’s fear was always present, but he developed various coping mechanisms. Early in his rulership, he gathered 3,000 soldiers to accompany him. A man of fear needs to surround himself with an entourage to embolden his feelings of weakness. When timidity rules one’s spirit, then surely pride will come alongside to simulate strength. Saul was full of fears, which pride used to feign a powerful presence. When Goliath stepped out of the Philistine ranks, Saul’s pride could not help him to overcome, because his trusts were outmatched. You will rely on those things that you trust in, until you see something greater or more powerful than your reliance. Saul was stuck in the tent!
Saul was now faced with an armor superior to his own; therefore, he retreated and set his aside, along with his courage. Goliath’s outer armor caused Saul to mistrust his own. Saul also referenced Goliath’s training in warfare in an attempt to correct David, but Goliath’s training actually caused Saul to realize his own lack. Goliath was trained in war since he was a youth, Saul couldn’t even find his father’s donkeys. Saul was known for his stature, but Goliath’s stature moved Saul to cower under the height of one greater in size than himself. Though Saul’s height was admired by his countrymen and it gained supportive votes, Saul saw Goliath’s size and considered himself small. Saul was like his forefathers, who spied out the land in the days of Moses; Saul existed in the shadows of this unbelief. These forefathers refused to enter the Land of Promise; they did not put their trust in the Lord’s word. Therefore, they succumbed to their fears. They saw a people greater than themselves because they put their trust in themselves. Seeing the giants of the land, they cowered and murmured, thus refusing to fight under the command of the Lord. They did not want to put themselves at risk. Their faith was in their own thoughts, words, and opinions. Saul was a man of unbelief like them. His strength and power stemmed from the natural; he trusted in his armor, which made him feel ready for war. He trusted in his height, which gained the support of those around him, but it failed him when faced with someone greater. He relied on his position as king till someone defied him; he looked to his army for support, but they shied away, just like him. Saul’s training in war was grossly outmatched by Goliath, and his inferiority squashed any boasts, and all prior victories were made inconsequential. Saul was overcome by his own fears; he was exposed. He was a man that surrounded himself with others and other things to make himself feel powerful, but he was a weak man. There was no faith present, just the appearance of power.
The Lord will always expose our fears, thus revealing our trusts. In times of trouble, your fears will move you to look to your trusts, thus exposing those things or people you actually do trust in, that is, what or who you look to for help and deliverance. The things you turn to for protection and provision are the ones you trust; thus putting your faith in the thing or the person in whom, or in which you seek help. David put no trust in Saul’s armor, nor in a support team of carefully selected men like Saul, nor in the size of his own body, nor in his position within the family structure, nor in his seven older brothers, nor in his own strength, nor in the army, nor in his king. David’s faith looked to those memorial markers in his life where he discovered and developed a trust in God’s presence and power; those experiences where the Lord’s Holy Spirit enabled him to save those under his charge. Watching over those few sheep placed under his care was the very place David learned to trust God. David’s protection was rooted in God by faith. David’s faith in God was his armor; it was his shield against all those who would defy the Lord.
David exited the presence of Saul. He took his staff in his hand (1 Samuel 17:40). The staff that corrected the sheep, and guided the flock was the first thing David put his hand on. He trusted the shepherd’s staff; it would guide him into the valley to face Goliath. David then chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had with him; his sling was in his hand as well (1 Samuel 17:40). David was prepared for battle in a way that no man in his natural mind would think himself ready to face a man of war, especially one like Goliath. David’s trust was not in the staff, stone, or sling, nor was it in his own strength. David looked to the Lord; this gave the staff, stone and sling power because the Lord was his trust. David already knew that the battle belonged to the Lord.
The Bible says that David “drew near to the Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:40). Why didn’t David just walk away from the battle scene and go back to serving his father and shepherding his sheep? Because there was a cause! “Is there not a cause?” This was the time to engage the enemy and plunder his presence. It was not about the weapons of choice; it was faith in action. The Lord’s provision and protection in time pass would surely be present once again, for David was engaging one who defied God. This is the battle every believer needs to accept, face, and walk toward. Too many churches are seeking the right method and message to do ministry; they want to see victory, but rely on the conventional. They’re trying different songs for praise, conducting various meetings to discuss plans, offering programs in a host of settings to entertain and draw the people; they speak powerfully to comfort hearts, but there is no faith to simply take a stand for truth and righteousness. There is an enemy filled with disdain for God and His people; he is in the valley of death, calling out to all who sit on the edge of the high ground, saying, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together” (1 Samuel 17:10).
“Is There Not A Cause?” (1 Samuel 17:29). -----ITNAC-----
Blessings to you!
Your Friend in Christ,
Dr. Gary H. Cote
Part 6 of USEFUL ARMOR is coming next!