Strength for the Battle
by Dr. Ken Matto
(Rom 8:37 KJV) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
This is one of my favorite passages in Scripture because it gives a summary of the believer’s position in Christ. Not only is the believer saved but God states that we are more than conquerors. The phrase "more than conquerors" comes from a Greek Word which means "super or above conquerors." In fact one of the words used to make up this phrase in the Greek is "nikao" where we get the name for our Nike Missiles.
As we look at Romans 8:35 we look at seven enemies of the Christian, yet through the centuries the Christian has been victorious over all of them. The reason the Christians have been victorious is because the battle is not physical even though it seems that every available physical weapon has been used against us, the battle is spiritual. This is the key to being an overcoming Christian through the battles of life which so easily scar us, if we let it. Whenever we go into battle, keep in mind that we are the physical beings in a spiritual war between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan. The kingdom of Satan will do its best to attack and throw back the troops of God but he has no authority over us as he had none over the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 14:30 KJV) Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. My Bible tells me that he has nothing in me either.
The key thought here is that a conquering Christian is ready for the battle. At this juncture we are going to depart from the New Testament and travel to the Old Testament where Saul is facing the army of the Philistines and this scenario in 1 Samuel 17 gives us a good picture of the enmity between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan which was prophesied back in Genesis 3:15. (Gen 3:15 KJV) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed (Satan’s kingdom) and her seed; (Christ’s kingdom) it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
The Stage is Set
(1 Sam 17:3 KJV) And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.
This is an interesting scenario taking place as the two kingdoms are both standing on a mountain with the valley of Elah between them. The name "Elah" means "a large tree" and is also translated "Oak" in Judges 6:19; Teil in Isaiah 6:13; and Elms in Hosea 4:13. So we see that this word signifies a big tree. Now when we apply the spiritual meaning to this, we see this valley separates the true believer and the unbeliever. This is because the two groups are separated by a tree. (Deu 21:22-23 KJV) And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: {23} His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
The Lord Jesus Christ hung on that tree. (Acts 5:30 KJV) The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. As a result of His sacrifice for the elect, we are separated from the world by the cross. It is the point of separation and sanctification unto God for the believer. This separation is openly taught in the following two passages:
(Luke 16:26 KJV) And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
(Zec 14:4 KJV) And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
Luke 16:26 shows the vast difference in results of the two kingdoms. Satan’s kingdom shall be hell while God’s Kingdom all enjoy eternal heaven. In the Zechariah passage we see the return of the Lord on the last day, when He shall separate the two Kingdoms represented by the "very great valley." Mountains in Scripture refers to kingdoms:
(Psa 87:1 KJV) His foundation is in the holy mountains.
(Psa 121:1 KJV) I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
Right at the outset we see it is the Kingdom of God versus the kingdom of Satan.
Extra Large please
(1 Sam 17:4 KJV) And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
Here we see that Goliath was approximately 9 3/4 feet tall. A formidable foe and one who used his appearance to intimidate the opposition. This is normally how our battles appear to us. None of the Israelites would dare challenge him to a fight. Goliath types always use fear as their main tactic to defeat an opponent. If he can cause him to fear, the battle is 90% won. As Christians when we fear, the battle is 90% lost.
LL Bean didn’t outfit him
(1 Sam 17:5-7 KJV) And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. {6} And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. {7} And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam; and his spear's head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
Here is a basic description of his WARdrobe. The helmet of brass was really a helmet of bronze which is a very heavy metal which probably weighed about 125 pounds. The coat of mail was his breastplate of armor which weighed 155 pounds. The greaves of brass were his shin pieces of armor. The head of his spear weighed 19 pounds. He also had a shield bearer who went ahead of him. With all this armor on, he no doubt had an air of arrogance about him that he was impregnable. I can imagine what he looked like when he stepped out onto the battlefield. He had every covering the world could offer him. His protection came from the world, the physical realm.
Goliath challenges the Army of Israel
(1 Sam 17:8-10 KJV) And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. {9} If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. {10} And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
One of the principles we find in Scripture is the kingdom of Satan always challenging the kingdom of God. We see this in Job, with David in 1 Chronicles 21, and the temptations of Christ in the wilderness. Every time a Christian is tempted to sin it is the forces of evil making another challenge to the kingdom of God. In verse 9 we see Goliath making a challenge to Israel for a man who has the ability to kill him. Whenever we want to kill the Goliath of temptation in our life, all we have to do is kill it right at the outset and as the believer continues to do this through life, temptation becomes the servant of the believer instead of the believer becoming the servant of temptation.
Temptation is always going to be there in this life because Satan’s people are always defying the kingdom of God just as Goliath challenged the army of Israel. Goliath thought he was invincible and in the days before salvation when we were tempted, we would succumb to the temptation because there were no spiritual prohibitions in our life but now as believers, we have the power to say no to temptation and Goliath will be there to tempt us but we do not have to concede defeat.
(1 Sam 17:11 KJV) When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
Fear is the greatest tool Satan has in his arsenal. He may send fear into the Christian’s life in the form of fear of what others may think or fear of loneliness if he doesn’t go along with the crowd. One fear that Satan will never send along to the Christian is the fear of God. Satan will get you more concerned about the physical consequences of rejecting his offers rather than the spiritual results of being obedient to God. As Goliath taunted Saul and his army, so Satan will taunt you too if you succumb to his temptation, but the Bible tells us to resist the devil and he will flee.
Young Believers
(1 Sam 17:14 KJV) And David was the youngest: and the three eldest followed Saul.
If there is one truth we must learn it is that those who are young in the faith have the same strength available to them as those who are older in the faith, although they may not know how to appropriate it yet. God indwells the young believer as much as He does the mature believer. The young believer has the ability to say no to sin. The young believer also has the ability to spiritually assess a situation and act accordingly.
David assesses the Battle
(1 Sam 17:26 KJV) And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
In the first part of this verse David was already looking at victory when he posed the question about the reward for killing Goliath. David was a spiritual man and he knew his God. David was also looking at removing the reproach from Israel. David, who was a type of Christ, was concerned about removing the reproach from Israel and the Lord Jesus Christ removed the reproach from spiritual Israel by his sacrifice.
In the second question we see David reveal his spiritual assessment of the situation. Notice he does not call the army the army of Israel but he calls them the armies of the living God. David saw Israel as God’s representative nation on earth and was protective of that position. Here was Goliath not facing a physical, earthly army but he was defying God Himself through Israel. Spiritually speaking, Goliath had no idea what he was up against and that is the same when we are challenged to sin by an unbeliever. The spiritually dead have no idea what power they are challenging. David saw the provocation of Goliath as an affront to the kingdom of God and he acted with full knowledge of the power given him by God. It is this same kingdom power given to us today so we may continue to increase God’s kingdom in the light of many satanic hindrances. (Eph 1:19 KJV) And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Friends n Family
(1 Sam 17:28 KJV) And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.
If there is one thing you can count on it is that when you are engaged in a spiritual battle, Satan uses those closest to you to try and discourage you. Nehemiah knew this satanic trick well. When he was trying to build the wall of Jerusalem, he ran into all kinds of satanic hindrances but nevertheless Nehemiah knew His God and he knew his task at hand and was able to finish it in 52 days. This is why when you have a task, it is better not to gain advice from any friends or families unless you know they are well grounded in the word of God or else you will get discouraging advice. Unsaved people and shallow Christians will give you advice that will discourage you and send you back to your remote control.
Dwelling on a low level
(1 Sam 17:30 KJV) And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.
Whenever you receive advice which is on the level of unspiritual people, refute it. Advice that places the situation above God is not advice at all, it is defeatist philosophy. Here we see the people following the pattern of Eliab and that is to persecute David who saw the battle as spiritual. There will be many Christians who will misunderstand you when you assess things as spiritual battles. There are only two kingdoms on earth and they are in opposition to each other and discouraging advice is always on the satanic level. Please understand I am not speaking of always getting advice that paints a rosy picture of everything. Sometimes there are times when we have to back off because we may be assessing something erroneously. I am speaking of always getting advice from those who have the gift of discouragement. It is this crowd we must stay aloof from when it comes to doing serious work for the kingdom of God.
Face the Battle with Confidence
(1 Sam 17:32 KJV) And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.
Whenever we take on a spiritual battle, we must go into it with confidence and with the mindset that we will attain victory. Victory may come through hardships and hindrances but if God has assigned us a task, we will complete it through His power and maybe not according to the way we planned. David was confident in the power of God and he knew victory was his. In fact he told those around him not to lose heart because the end of Goliath was at hand and then Israel would win the battle. It would be a victory for the kingdom of God. Confident Christianity is all but lost today with the amalgamated gospel being taught by so many teachers, preachers, and theologians. The Saints of God who manifested the power of God in their lives from the battle field to the fagot didn’t bother to speak with a counselor or do their spiritual inventory, they just believed God and His word, and went and did battle. This is why the early and medieval church were so powerful in their testimony. Today we see Christians in countries like China and Vietnam being persecuted for their faith as the Book of Martyrs continues to grow. They believe God so strongly, they would rather face 20 years in prison than forsake the gospel of Christ. Oh what a lesson we in the west could learn from them.
David Recalls the Past
(1 Sam 17:33-35 KJV) And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. {34} And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: {35} And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
David knew his God well because of the past victories he experienced. Whenever we look back on our lives, we will see the victories God has won for us. David built his confidence in God on the past victories he won. Whenever we go into battle, it is good for us to look back and reflect on our past victories which God has given us and the valleys He brought us through. As Dr. Robert A. Cook used to say, "He didn’t bring you this far just to drop you."
(Psa 29:11 KJV) The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.