1 Samuel 17:1-11 – How Does Goliath Stand On the Other Side Taunting You?

Posted: February 13, 2018 in 09-1 Samuel

1 Samuel 17:1-11
Goliath Challenges the Israelites

Today is Tuesday of the last week before a decade at Fujikura America, Inc. (FAI) draws to a close. Today is Tuesday before 7 ½ years at LifeSong Church, 6 or more of which we have been in leadership positions at the church, come to a close. Today is Tuesday before Carey Moving & Storage comes to pick up our personal belongings and furniture tomorrow. The thing that we have been anticipating is almost upon us. We will make visits with family on Wednesday evening and Thursday evening and then Friday we shove off for Illinois. Prior to 9 weeks ago, Illinois was not even on our radar. Then, it became a reality, but yet one that was weeks away. Weeks of preparation. Weeks of telling people that we were moving. Here in the last week, a week of saying goodbye that will culminate with telling our families goodbye on Wednesday evening (the Bowlings) and Thursday evening (Elena’s family, the Aizcorbes). Then, it will be time. It is time to step onto the battlefield and be a full-time soldier for the cause of Christ.

We have been building toward this coming weekend for six years. Schooling. Paying off debts. Downsizing our mortgage and home. Getting rid of stuff and clutter in our lives. Learning and leading, making mistakes, learning from them and leading better in our present church and in my secular job. It has all been preparation for the day that we join the battle. But there are giants that Satan puts on the opposite mountain range. Like Goliath, Satan taunts us with his words. Are you really qualified for this? Do you really have what it takes? Sure, you have all this accounting experience but you have it pretty easy the last decade at FAI, are you going to be able to handle working in a church setting full-time? Are you going to be able to survive on 40% of what you are making now? Are you deep enough spiritually to handle this job? Are you really preacher material? You don’t have what it takes. You are shallow. You are not deep enough spiritually. You don’t know all the preacher buzz words. You’re a poser. You are not polished. You are a redneck with a master’s degree. You are going to be a fish out of water in the Midwest. You are not going to be happy there. You are going to fail. Can you handle having to be held to a higher standard now that you will be a full-time minister. You are just not worthy, Mark. You cannot fight this fight. You are going to fail miserably and turn tail and run back to South Carolina empty handed in a few years. These are the things that Satan is standing on the opposite mountain range from me taunting me and assailing my soul. He is saying that there are dozens of men in LifeSong alone that could be better ministers than you. You are just not made of the right fabric for this war. You don’t have what it takes. Satan taunts me.

That’s what I thought of this morning as I read through this passage, 1 Samuel 17:1-11, this morning. I am the Israelite army and Satan is Goliath. Goliath is taunting the armies of Israel. He is proud because of his many victories over other foes. He is arrogant, prideful, and supremely confident that the Israelites will cower before him because of his size and strength. His presence has in the past and is now instilling fear in his opponents just by his mere words. That idea that Satan will taunt us into turning away from what God has called us to do because of the size we make Satan out to be and how he plays upon our inner fears of failure and defeat and unwillingness to plunge ahead into the unknown, the tough battles. Let’s read through the passage now:

1 Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. 2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. 3 The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.

4 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span.[a] 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels[b]; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.[c] His shield bearer went ahead of him.

8 Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.

In his sermon at http://www.sermoncentral.com, entitled “What To Do When A Giant Stands In Your Way”, Josh Cougle states,

“what stands in way of you getting to where God is calling you? Addictions… jealousy… lack of education… self-esteem… secret sin… your attitude… health… not knowing… anxiety… depression… real difficulties. Maybe so afraid of failing that you’ve stopped trying. Maybe so scared of being defeated that you live in defeat… and every time your giant appears, you retreat in shame, or fear. Maybe you’ve been trying for years…

• Stats – 40 to 60 percent of drug addicts will relapse from their plan of treatment

• 50% of American adults are dieting (lose or maintain) 90% gain back in 1-5 years

• 68% of young men/18% young women view porn at least once per week… whoah… but so often that 2/3 of college age men/ ½ of women think it’s acceptable… we’ve given up on beating it

• 40% of unemployed have given up on looking for jobs

• Each year, 4000 churches close, while only 1000 start

It’s easy to see that there are giants everywhere.”

Satan doesn’t want you to succeed. The more he can keep you in retreat and the more he can keep you in fear, the less effective you will be for what God has anointed you to do. Satan will tell you that you are not worthy and we withdraw. Satan will tell you that your past disqualifies you from doing what God has called you to do. Satan will tell you that people do not want to hear the gospel. And we withdraw. He will tell you that you will fail at what God has called you to do. And we withdraw. Satan wins when he taunts and we forget who our protector and champion is.

Proclaim the name of Jesus right now. For before Him, every knee shall bow. No, none of us are good enough to share do anything for Jesus in our own merits. Yes, all those things that Satan says about us not being worthy and not being qualified and not being good enough are all so damned true. But we forget that Jesus is our champion. He is our Savior that redeemed us. He is the one that makes our mess a message of His redemptive and reclaiming power. When we put our complete faith and trust in the power of Jesus Christ and not in ourselves we can do great things for the kingdom BECAUSE of Jesus’ power and not ours. We have no clue what is going to happen over the next few years in Illinois whether we are there for one year or ten or two years or twenty, we must plunge forward because God has made it abundantly clear that this in our next step. We must trust in the Lord on this one. He has something for us to do there. He will reveal it as time marches on. What He has in store for us will involve triumphs, failures, celebrations, and picking up the pieces after defeat but all of it must be done by going and fighting the battle.

We cannot listen to Satan’s taunts from the other mountain top. We must march into the valley and fight the war trusting in Jesus’ name. Calling upon His power and not ours. Glorifying Him and not ourselves. Keeping in mind that we are serving Him and that this adventure will never be about us but rather about Him. There was an old Springsteen song that was titled, “No Retreat, No Surrender” that seems appropriate here. We must not retreat and we must not surrender ground to Satan just because he taunts us. We are marching forward in the power of Jesus’ name and that name makes the demons and Satan tremble before us.

Amen and Amen.

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