– by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1624
Continued from my previous post :
The Battle of Champions
Goliath cursed David by the names of his gods and bellowed, “Come over here, boy, and I will give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!”
“You come to me with a 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,” David replied, undaunted by the towering giant’s vicious threats. “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!”
Goliath fumed within – no one had ever dared to talk to him the way that David just did and lived to see the next day. Enraged, he roared as he charged towards the boy. However, David did not flinch! In fact, he impulsively ran straight toward the raging giant! Reaching into his shepherd’s satchel and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and struck the giant on his forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath fell face down on the ground! Swiftly, David ran over and pulled out Goliath’s sword from its sheath. With a single swing, he decapitated the giant! In a fleeting moment, the fight had come to a sudden closure – the masses were stunned. The victor triumphantly held up high the grotesque head of his adversary. Appalled at the sight of their fallen champion, the Philistines cravenly retreated and fled. The Israelite army roared in triumph – the atmosphere was electrifying! The tyrannical reign of their indomitable oppressor had ended. With prowess and newfound boldness, the battalion charged after their foes! In fact, they chased them as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron! From the Valley of Elah, that would roughly be between five to ten kilometers. The bodies of the dead and wounded Philistines were dispersed all along the road from Shaaraim to as far as Gath and Ekron.
More Than We Ask or Think
In Mark 11:24 (NIV), Jesus declares, “Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” What a powerful promise! Whatever we ask for in prayer and believe that we have received it will be ours! I feel it important to remind that this verse is not talking about mere “wishful thinking”. Jesus is talking about faith! Be mindful that this “faith” He speaks is not about being simply hopeful and optimistic. That even the unbeliever can do. The “faith” that Jesus speaks of is unwavering hope in God to do the seemingly impossible. As stated in Hebrews 11:1 (KJV), “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” David had this faith! Let me further expound on the matter.
It is clear that David’s attitude towards the opposition differed from that of the rest of the Israelites. I recall Pastor Benny Hinn stating the following: “The Israelite army thought, ‘Too big – we can’t do it!’; whereas, David thought, “Too big – how can I miss!”. How is it so? Why is there such a stark difference? Well, our attitude depends on our perspective. As Dr. Oral Roberts often stated, “When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible.” David could “see” the Lord vanquish his enemies: “Today, the Lord will conquer you”. How can one see something his circumstance tells him otherwise? In front of David stood a towering giant, a skilled warrior equipped with the latest weaponry, and a Philistine army. Behind David quivered an army of petrified soldiers! How could David see an aftermath that was humanly unfathomable and unthinkable? As written in 2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV), “For we walk by faith, not by sight.” David was not looking through his “natural eyes”– he was looking through the “eyes of faith”! As a result, he could already see the “destruction of the wicked”! Truly, “in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king”. David could lead the nation into victory because he could see further than anyone else could – he saw through the “eyes of faith”.
God created the universe “out of nothing” – ex nihilo. Ex nihilo is Latin for “out of nothing”. This is exactly how Creation occurred – God spoke the world into existence. Is that not simply remarkable? As stated in Hebrews 11:3 (NLT), “By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” Something that never was, God’s Word brought forth into reality! Since we bear the DNA of the Creator, our words have the power to create, even “out of nothing”! Psalm 33:9 (NIV) proclaims, “For He spoke, and it came to be! He commanded, and it stood firm!” When David responded to Goliath’s menacing remarks, he was speaking what he had envisioned into existence! Earlier, David had promulgated, “Today, the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head.” Now, how was David planning to cut the giant’s head off if he was armed with only a staff, five stones, and a slingshot? A staff, stone, or slingshot are not the weapons used to decapitate a human being, what more, a giant! Yet, David saying what he said was not mere “trash talk”. You see, David had visualized himself slicing Goliath’s head off with Goliath’s very own sword! He foresaw that the weapon of his enemy would ironically be the undoing of its wielder – the weapon that was not even in David’s own hand yet! When the giant fell, David did not stop to think to himself, “Woah, what just happened?” Without a moment’s delay, he rushed to Goliath to pull out his sword to behead the giant with his very own weapon. It happened just as he had foreseen and said it would.
Furthermore, David had declared, “And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals.” This reminds me of what God told to his prophet in Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV), “So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth; it will not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” David’s words did not return to him void. Just as David foretold what he envisioned, the bodies of the dead and wounded Philistines were strewn all along the road from Shaaraim, as far as Gath and Ekron! Guess who feasted on their corpses? The birds and the beasts! As stated by Paul in Ephesians 3:20 (NLT), “Now all glory to God, Who is able, through His mighty Power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” God is gracious to fulfill our hearts’ desires and beyond if we delight ourselves in Him.
In John 14:1 (NKJV), Jesus tells his disciples, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God – believe also in Me.” Jesus never told us to worry – He told us to trust! Why? As stated in Isaiah 26:3-4 (KJV), “Thou will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” David exuded peace unlike any other since his eyes were fixed on the Lord. Thus, God empowered and strengthened him. Hence, David’s vision, thoughts, words, and actions reflected it. By faith, he held on to the promises of God, maybe even the day that Samuel anointed him and the promise that he would one day reign as king. As the psalmist sings in Psalm 92:10-11 (NKJV), “But my horn You have exalted like a wild ox; I have been anointed with fresh oil. My eye also has seen my desire on my enemies; My ears hear my desire on the wicked Who rise up against me.” By faith, David could see what his comrades could not see. He saw through the eyes of faith! By faith, he decreed what he had foreseen – it was not an empty confession or man-induced positivity. No! It was faith – “the substance of things hoped for” and “evidence of things not seen”! As a result, his faith manifested itself into existence.
In Hebrews 11:33-34 (NLT), Paul writes, “By faith, these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God promised to them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned into strength. They became strong in the battle and put whole armies to flight.” What extraordinary exploits these men and women of God have accomplished! David was one of the elite. In fact, he ticked off the majority of the astonishing feats listed in just those two verses. How? By faith! Through the blood of Jesus, we too have the privilege of belonging to this powerful dynasty! Moreover, we are blessed to be a part of a generation “for whom God had something better in mind” – we have received the promised One Whom all those men and women of faith had waited for. As noted in Hebrews 11:39 (NLT), “none of them received all that God had promised.” However, it is we who have the opportunity to receive “all” that God has promised – we get to claim the inheritance and carry out the legacy to greater heights! Through Jesus, we receive “all that God had promised”! What a wonderful privilege! Why, the Old Testament is just a foreshadow of what we get to experience now! Through faith, David and many great men and women of God were able to “see” the future that God had intended for them; hence, they were able to call it forth into existence and claim God’s promises. If they could walk “by faith”, so can we! “By faith”, we too can overcome! “By faith”, we can receive our breakthrough! “By faith”, we can do the impossible! Oh, “by faith”, what will we?
To be continued…