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Saturday, December 15, 2018

David and Goliath – Part 2 – 1 Samuel 17

          There are three predominant characters in the battle between David and Goliath:

·         Goliath and the Philistine army -- Goliath is the leader of the unredeemed, rebellious, arrogant and prideful army. These defy and mock God and His servants. They are full of self-power and self-glory. They think the arm of the flesh will be victorious. Goliath is a type and shadow of Satan and the Antichrist.
·         Saul and the Israelite army – Saul is the leader of those who are believers but are still walking in the flesh, not in the power of the Holy Spirit and Word. These are a defeated company full of fear. Instead of submitting to God’s rule and Word, they are still ruled and controlled by their fleshly ways. They represent compromised believers of Jesus. King Saul and his men were no match for Goliath who is stronger than them. The evil one represented by Goliath cannot be defeated by the ways of the flesh. Satan is a spiritual being and more powerful than our flesh.
·         David – represents a true believer whose faith and trust is in God and obeys God’s Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. David stood alone with God. To others, David was lowly and unattractive, but to God he was called, faithful, chosen and obedient. God would do great things through David who represents the faithful remnant. David had the anointing of God upon him. He could stand before Goliath fearlessly because God was with him. David would be victorious over the evil one. David’s motives were pure. He would defend God’s honor and the reproach of Israel. He knew the battle was the Lord’s, but God required the faith, love and obedience of His servant David.
Because Saul and the men of Israel were walking by sight, not faith in God, the giant looked huge and heavily armored causing fear. The more Christians fear Satan, the larger he gets. David, on the other hand, was full of faith and courage because the Holy Spirit was with him. David’s heart and motive were also pure. David believed that if God’s people trusted in God, there was no enemy they could not conquer. David was God’s kind of king and leader. David’s kingship will be eternal through Christ. (see 2 Samuel 7:29) Saul’s kingship was rejected by God. (1 Samuel 15:23) David was penitent when confronted with his sin, but Saul lied and tried to justify and cover up his sin. (2 Samuel 12:13; 1 Samuel 15:15) Saul made excuses, blamed others and didn’t trust God. David, however, humbled himself and admitted his wrongs eventually. Some believe that admitting to wrong is a sign of weakness. One only must listen to today’s news to see this sentiment displayed by the leader of our country. God sees admission of wrongs as just the opposite – a sign of strength.
Are you a “Saul” or a “David?”
Followers of Christ must own our spiritual poverty and sin. We are to fall on our face before God and genuinely repent and show our need for His grace. If there is no sincere sorrow over our sins, there is no repentance. God wants a humble, changed heart!

Monday, December 3, 2018

David and Goliath – Part 1 The battle between God’s anointed one and the enemy of God’s people.

 David Goes to the Battleground to do His Father’s will
          David’s father had sent him to check on three of his brothers who were fighting in Israel’s army, and to bring them provisions. David was a youth who went to his brethren in obedience to his father just as Jesus came to earth in obedience to His Father. David arose early and went about doing his father’s business (will). David’s life is a foreshadowing of the life of Jesus. Jesus too was “about My Father’s business” as a youth. (Luke 2:49) These were the first words of Jesus in the Gospels. His last words were “It is finished!” What was finished? His Father’s business.What Jesus had come to earth to do. As David was doing his fathers will, Jesus came to earth to do His Heavenly Father’s will. Jesus defeated our spiritual enemy, the devil, on the cross. Jesus did in the “spiritual” what David did in the “natural.”  “The spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. (1 Corinthians 15:46) David was a shepherd in his father’s field who became a conquering king with a kingdom. This is a picture of Jesus.
            David’s willingness to serve in obedience to his earthly father prepared him for higher service for God. David’s errand would soon become an opportunity to bring glory to God and freedom from the spiritual enemy of all. In like manner, God gives Christians the opportunity of bringing glory to God and freedom from the enemy to others in their daily walk. How we respond and the weapons we use will determine the outcome. We are saved for a purpose. We are His representatives on earth. We carry the banner of Christ to a world that is lost and dying and controlled by their fleshly nature. It is important that we use the armor of God, not the armor of flesh in the battle. We are not fighting against flesh and blood but against the powers and principalities in the higher places. The arm of flesh cannot win the battle. It is a spiritual battle that only the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit and Word through obedience can win. We must be victorious over the smaller assaults of our spiritual enemy to be prepared for the larger battles. God had prepared David in the quietness of the shepherd’s field as he tended his father’s sheep fighting off the lions and the bears who came to steal, kill and destroy the sheep. Now David will fight a larger battle against Goliath.

          Goliath began as a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”  Goliath “was over nine feet tall” and wore heavy armor. He “stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel.”  The army of God’s people was full of fear, not faith in God. Goliath’s parading with his height and armor was to intimidate and make God’s people fear him. This is how the devil works. David, God’s lion from the tribe of Judah, would take on the “strongman” and defeat him. After David was anointed with the Holy Spirit, he, like Jesus, had to face the enemy of God’s people. Goliath presented himself to God’s army for 40 days. Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights after the Holy Spirit rested upon Him. Jesus came to earth not only to save but to also take on the “strongman.” Jesus is the spiritual Lion from the Tribe of Judah who came to earth – Satan’s house – to defeat Satan and set God’s people free from sin and bondage. Jesus bound the “strongman” on the cross by His blood and released His resurrection power to help us defeat the devil.

“Choose a Man”
          Goliath arrogantly challenged king Saul to choose a man to fight him. The representative of God’s army would fight the champion of the army of Anakim – Goliath. Saul, the leader of God’s people and army, would be the obvious choice, but Saul was full of fear like the others. God will choose the man – David.
            The army of the Philistines was on one mountain and the Israelite army on another with a valley in between. Goliath descends his mountain and is now coming up the mountain to God’s people. He is getting more brazen recognizing the fear within Israel’s army. “When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran with great fear.” 1 Samuel 17:24 Goliath, recognizing the fear of God’s people, gets more arrogant. They say to David, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel.” Israel's soldiers focused on the size of Goliath and his heavy armor, but David focused on the honor of God and the reputation of God’s people. The men of Israel said, “this man,” but David called Goliath “this uncircumcised Philistine.” Circumcision was the sign of being in covenant with God. David was in covenant with God, so God was on his side. David defended the honor of God and His people. “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God.” 1 Samuel 17:26 David will do his part and God will do the rest. David understood that the battle was the Lord’s.
            David saw the situation through faith-filled, spiritual eyes but the Israelites saw through man’s fleshly eyes. David had righteous indignation. How dare this uncircumcised Philistine come against the Living God and His people!

                                                             (Continued next week)
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Monday, November 26, 2018

Saul's First Battle

          Even though Saul was not God’s choice of king over His people, He will use Saul to work out His plan of salvation even through man’s failure. God’s love is everlasting, but He cannot bless sin and rebellion. Even so, out of His love and mercy for His people, God anointed Saul, gave him the power of the Holy Spirit and a changed heart. Samuel, God’s faithful prophet, priest and king, will speak God’s Word to Saul. It will be up to Saul to continue in his anointing and change of heart by obeying God and His Word through His faithful prophet. The people will soon see that Saul does not have the heart of God. He is weak in the flesh. David, God’s choice for King over His people, was praised for being a “man after God’s own heart.”  God will show His people the error of their ways and the subsequent consequences.
            After being anointed by Samuel and being shown the regulations of kingship, Saul went to his home in Gibeah. Israel’s king was to be distinctly different from the kings of other nations. They were to be led by the Lord. Saul went to his home because there was no palace for a king at that time since Israel had never had an earthly king before. God was their King!

Natural vs Spiritual
          For those of you who have not read my teachings before, God uses me to show that He used the “natural” to paint a picture of the “spiritual” – both of Jesus and of Satan. Nanash, the leader of the Ammonites, is a type and shadow of the devil. His name means “serpent.” God revealed that the serpent of old is the devil in Revelation 20:2. When studying scripture, we must follow scripture from the beginning to the end to get the fullness of Truth.

Saul’s First Battle – Samuel 11
Soon Nanash the Ammonite besieged Jabesh Gilead. Nanash means “serpent.” Nanash is controlled by the spiritual serpent – the devil – who is the enemy of God’s people. Nanash shows how Satan works to weaken and discourage God’s people. Jabesh means “dry or dried up” – no life.
Nanash intimidates and puts fear in God’s people by threatening to “gouge out the right eye of every one of the men” of Israel to bring disgrace on all Israel and exalt himself. In biblical times, warriors would hold their shield with their left hand and fight with their right hand. If the right eye is taken out, the soldiers would be virtually blind and weakened. Satan too wants to humiliate and blind us to the truth so Jesus’ soldiers will be weakened against him and his demonic army.
The elders of Jabesh Gilead asked Nanash to give them seven days to see if they can find someone to save them. The elders were horrified at Nanash's threat, but they had no faith in themselves or in God to defeat their enemy. If they can't find a savior, they will have to surrender to Nanash. Satan can attack us, but he can’t do anything to us unless we lack faith in God and surrender our will to the devil. If the devil can’t blind us wholly, he will partially blind us to get his way. Like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, the devil will twist scripture and even leave some words out to deceive and get us to do his will instead of the will of God. Unfortunately, the flesh is weak and often God’s people do surrender their will to the devil. A lack of knowledge and understanding of God’s Word will make it easier for a believer to be deceived. The Pharisees in the New Testament are an example of this. Jesus often called them a brood of vipers (serpents) and blind leaders of the blind because they were not accepting His words as truth.

Seeking a Savior – 1 Samuel 11:3
            Messengers of God’s people went throughout the land seeking a savior. When they came to Saul’s hometown and reported that Nanash had threatened to blind them, the people all wept aloud. They were full of fear and defeat. Our spiritual adversary – the devil – works in this way. He wants to fill us with fear and hopelessness instead of being full of faith and hope in God. When Saul saw God’s people weeping, he asked them why. When Saul heard the reason, “the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he burned with anger.” 1 Samuel 11:6 The Spirit of God came upon Saul to equip and empower him for the battle ahead. Righteous indignation rose up within Saul. Saul took a pair of oxen, cut them into pieces, and sent the pieces by messengers throughout Israel, proclaiming “This is what will be done to the oxen of anyone who does not follow Saul and Samuel.” Then the fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they turned out as one man. 1 Samuel 11:7 Saul ruled through fear instead of faith in God. The fear of Saul’s threat united God’s army of Israelites as one man. David, on the other hand, accepted, taught and trained the misfits who came to him in the cave of Adullam. These became David’s mighty men who fought many a battle to victory with David.

Victory and Deliverance
            When the messengers returned to Jabesh Gilead, they told the men of Jabesh that by noon the next day they will be delivered from the Ammonites and their evil leader. God had fired Saul up. He would lead God’s people into victory. The men of Jabesh fooled the Ammonites into believing that God’s people would surrender to them the next day, and they can do whatever seems good to them. This made the Ammonites overly confident. Then Saul separated his men into three divisions. During the last watch of the night, they broke into the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together. 1 Samuel 11:11 Those who were scattered were rendered ineffective. God works in unity, so His people are to work in unity. We must be united in the understanding and knowledge of His Word and Will. Otherwise, we are weakened. There is a lot of varying truth being spoken from Jesus’ Church. It is the Pure Truth that unites. Jesus spoke only pure Truth because He is Truth. He wants us to seek pure Truth. This cannot happen by just hearing the Word at Church on Sunday. We must meditate on the Word daily and seek the Truth.

Saul Confirmed as King by God’s People
            Saul led God’s people to victory. It was after this battle that the Israelites publicly confirmed Saul as king in the presence of the Lord. Prior to this, Samuel had anointed Saul as king privately. After the battle, the Israelites offered a peace offering to the Lord and celebrated. They thought they had a victorious king. Eventually, Saul will reveal his true nature and downfall.

                                     (Next week: Samuel’s Farewell Speech)
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