The battle is the Lord’s
I Samuel 17:47 and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not save by sword and spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and he will give you into our hand.”
A young boy, David, was about to do battle with Goliath. Everyone around him wanted him to do battle using the typical weapons created by humans. He tried on the King’s armor and it nearly suffocated him! Now, he was ready to face the giant with the talents that God had given him, and that he was willing to submit to the LORD.
By submitting himself entirely to God the battle became God’s. It wasn’t a human fight of power and strength, but it was a quiet battle of God at work. When God worked the results were different than any had imagined. The one little boy with one rock empowered by God calmed the storm.
Theodore of Cyr says that “we need only the Lord’s goodness to stay the storm.” (Letter 16) The goodness of the LORD is what saved David. It is the goodness of the LORD who brings about victory — and why? David had clearly stated in verse 46, “so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”
The battle wasn’t about David or Goliath winning, it was about the LORD being lifted up as the God of Israel.
A number of years ago we were purchasing an apartment in Russia and we had a deadline for making payments. The building was not yet even built but we had to make three initial lump sum payments, in good faith, so that we could have our flat. We had asked for a routing number so the money could be wired in and wouldn’t have to be brought in cash. The money was wired but landed in the Russian Central Bank where they would not move it any further because the apartment company had given us the wrong numbers. We worked for days to get the numbers fixed but the company didn’t seem to know how to fix their own problem. Finally we had the money wired back to the original office outside the country and we sent someone to pick it up in cash. He arrived and we paid them the money a day later than the deadline. All of this because they were unable to give us the right information. Then, they fined us 15% for delivering the money late. I was not happy!
I was ready to do battle with the apartment company. I tried everything I knew to get that fine removed. I called people and we wrote letters but to no avail. It wasn’t going to make a difference. Either we pay the fine or we lose the apartment. When we were in the office of the apartment company signing papers I shared my frustration with the agent. She had no power nor authority to do anything about the problem and she shared my concern. I asked her if I could sign the paper but write at the bottom that this fine had been unjustly imposed because it was the fault of the company that the funds came in late. She allowed me to do this and somehow I felt better.
I went away thinking about this very scripture. I’m not sure what battle I thought I was fighting. I never got to reach the people who were responsible for this “fine.” I also realized that I was the Lord’s representative in all those meetings. Was I being a jerk? Would I be the only Christian some of them ever met? What impression would they have of a Christ-follower?
I learned a lesson that day. We need to allow God to work in the midst of our battles. Victory is for the purpose of revealing God for who he is to the people.
We are challenged to live our lives and fight our battles so that the world may see that there is a God among his people. The battles are not ours — they are his.
Lord, may I remember to release the battles into your hands. Amen.