Your passion for the cause of Christ is fueled or fizzled by what you see and hear on a daily basis. That is one of the main takeaways from this message, “Is There Not A Cause?”
Rewind to 1 Samuel 17. The armies of Israel and the Philistines were facing off on opposite hillsides with the Valley of Elah between them. A Philistine champion named Goliath who stood 9 feet, 9 inches tall, came out every day and challenged Israel to send their champion to fight him. But “on hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.” (1 Sam. 17:11)
Note the time of day the Philistine came out to defy Israel–every morning and evening–at the established times of worship! (See verse 16.) When the people of Israel were supposed to be watching God and hearing His Word, they were watching Goliath and hearing his words. And this is Satan’s best strategy. He comes to harass us at the time of prayer! My friends, we cannot allow Satan to cause us to trade prayer for panic, or devotion for depression. Do not let the enemy’s voice be the first thing you hear in the morning or the last thing you hear at night.
In verses 17-24, we see the difference between the Israelite army who had been immersed in a daily diet of Goliath, and David who had been immersed in the presence of God. In quiet moments of meditating, singing, praying, and worship in the wilderness, David’s sense of God became more vivid.
If it is true that the quiet moments of meditation and worship make God more real, then what happens when the opposite experience is ours? In noisy moments of media bombardment, busyness, and lack of prayer, the sense of God fades and becomes less real.
But Goliath was now in their heads. Five times the Bible says that Goliath “defied” Israel’s army and their God. He was calling God out and saying that His gods were greater. Likewise, the more we listen to the post-Christian “Goliath,” in our culture, the more we start to sound like him. After 40 days they stopped thinking about fighting Goliath and found themselves mesmerized by him. They were more in awe of the giant than they were in awe of God. Who are you in awe of today? Who are you giving your time and energy to? What is receiving your praise, your attention, your devotion? Is it Goliath or God?
Rewind to verse 29. David protests being told his motives were wrong, by asking if there isn’t a cause worth fighting for? The disciples found their cause: “One interest prevailed; one subject of emulation swallowed up all others. The ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.” (Acts of the Apostles, p. 48)
Today we have a million interests. But among them all, is there not an overarching purpose that deserves our highest energy and our greatest effort? Is there not a cause today? How many people are going to Christless graves in this global pandemic? Is that something we should be concerned about?
David’s cause was to let the world know that there was a God in Israel. (45-47) And isn’t interesting that David had to teach the world and Israel the same lesson!? While the pagan Philistines defied the true God, Israel had neglected the true God. The Philistines stood in need of judgment, while Israel stood in need of revival. And it’s the same today. We need revival!
In verses 34-37 David explains why he’s confident he will succeed against the giant. The only giant David saw was God. While others were thinking Goliath is too big to fail, David was thinking Goliath is too big to miss! David was confident not because of his superior strength, but because of His superior God.
Saul tried to put his armor on David but it didn’t fit. Saul’s was the armor of the flesh. Faith doesn’t need the arm of flesh, the arm of government, the arms of war, or anything other than the arm of Almighty God.
David faced impossible odds, looking ridiculous in the shadow of the heavily fortified giant. But David knew where His strength came from. (See 1 Sam. 17:45-47) To David, Goliath was already dead. The battle was over before it began. Why? When the cause is the Lord’s, He Himself is the secret weapon. (Psalm 46:1-3; 18:2; 27:1)
Verses 48-51 tell the story of David’s victory, and from it, we draw the following lessons of how to kill the giants in your life:
- Practice the presence of God. Be more preoccupied with God than with Goliath. And preoccupation with God begins in private, personal worship.
- Fight in your own armor. Don’t try to copy somebody else. Be yourself and depend on God as your secret weapon.
- Don’t just stand there, do something! David’s running to the battle shows that he understood the need to deal with sin quickly and forcefully. Don’t tolerate the giants, in the name and power of Jesus, take them out.
- Know the cause you’re fighting for. David felt that the honor of the Lord was at stake. There was a cause, and David knew it. Our cause is the same as Christ’s: to destroy the works of Satan and to proclaim the grace of God to the ends of the earth!
- Pray for one. Not thousands. One. Ask God to allow you to influence one soul for Christ in 2021. Make a pledge to pray for the opportunity to help lead someone in darkness to the light in the next 12 months. This is our cause. We’re not letting the devil have our kids. The battle is the LORD’s. Pray that the “stone” He has placed in your hand will hit the target
Pastor Randy Maxwell