Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25, 2010

"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!” I Samuel 17:45-47

I never served in the military. I have great respect for the military and for soldiers but after high school I went right to college and then out of college I was called to lead a church. So it just didn't work out for me to fight for the nation.
Growing up in America as a guy in my generation it was common to get into some fights with other guys as part of the passage from boyhood to manhood. I never really did. I'm not sure why except I grew up in a small town where everyone was well acquainted. Somehow I slipped into adulthood without being a fighter.

However, in nearly 40 years of pastoring I have come to discover that there are times you need to fight and some things worth fighting for. I have also learned there aren't many and the vast majority of what we fight over isn't worth it. David knew what to fight over. I think it is worth looking at.

The first reason that David fought Goliath was because Goliath defied God. It is never good to defy God. It is pretty stupid, too! But at a time when Israel was so closely identified with their God, it was crucial that other nations respected the God of Israel. Because their identity was so closely associated with God they must respect Him to respect them. Their security was at stake as was His honor. David thought that was worth fighting for. So did I.

The Church of Jesus and local churches that constitute it are inextricably tied to God. It is not wise or healthy to allow people to disrespect or disparage the church. When you defy the church you defy God. The Church must defend its honor and His. That is worth fighting for. David thought so - so do I.

Secondly, David fought Goliath because he wanted to demonstrate the power of God. The giant, the Philistines and everyone else needed to see a demonstration of God's power. Because of the cowardice of the Israeli army, God was beginning to look impotent. Other nations who had feared Israel because they feared Israel's God were now being emboldened by the powerlessness of God's army. Not only did God's enemies need to see a demonstration of God's power, His people did, too.

We live in a day when both God's people and His enemies need to see a demonstration of God's power. It is time to stand and fight against the people, the behaviors, and the attitudes that prevent God from demonstrating His power. When we stand against defiant giants, God moves and we see His power! His power manifests itself in the form of changed lives and changed circumstances and a holy, healthy, hopeful atmosphere! That is what I fight for!

Then, David fought the giant because he decided the battle was the Lord's! He was determined he could win. It is never a good idea to fight a battle you can't win. David faced the giant because God's people felt like they were losing and they needed to feel like winners. It is a good time to fight giants when you need a win.

There is a time to fight. David was a good leader because he knew when to fight - and when not to fight. He knew how to fight. God gave him the victory. Success or failure resides in the knowledge of when to fight and when not to. It rests in knowing how to fight and who to fight. Don't go to battle until you understand those principles and no one illustrates them better than David.

If you need to fight - fight right!