Friday, October 6, 2017

Goliath's Sword

Then David said to Ahimelech, “Then have you not here a spear or a sword at hand? For I have brought neither my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king's business required haste.” And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you struck down in the Valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you will take that, take it, for there is none but that here.” And David said, “There is none like that; give it to me.” (1 Samuel 21:8-9)

David has been through a lot. After defeating Goliath, he was a hero, but just as you and I become persecuted when we take the Lord's side, so, too, did David experience trials and tribulations as soon as the Lord was in control of his life. He stood before Goliath and proclaimed the name of the Lord of hosts. He had already been anointed king of Israel. He defeated Goliath and then took the giant's own sword to behead him. Saul was impressed and kept David close. Then the women of Israel came out of their homes to sing about how great David was--how much better he was than Saul. Think of the angels singing when a lost soul comes into Christ's kingdom.  What happens next? The unbelieving world rises up against that new Christian and tries to bring him down. Saul gets very angry with David. He hurls a spear at David, not once, but twice, and Saul even throws his spear against his own son, because of his son's defense of David!

Saul tries to have David killed in battle, Saul tries to have servants kill David, and he tries to send messengers to kill David. David is now on the run, desperate, and he goes to priests in Nob and acquires bread. He has resorted to bearing false witness in order to get what he needs, because he is so desperate. Finally he asks for a weapon, and Ahimelech the priest tells him that all he has is the very sword of Goliath, the very one David used to secure victory against the Philistines.  He tells David, "there is none but that," and David responds, "there is none LIKE that!"

When we are at the lowest place in life, God reminds us that he is still there, that he is still in control. He reminds us of our justification. He tells us to be strong and courageous, not to fear or be in dread, because he is walking along side us the whole way. He will not leave us nor forsake us. 

After we are justified, we are commanded to follow God's law out of gratitude. However, David had just gotten through a whopper of a lie, before Ahimelech presents him with Goliath's sword. Likewise, we will fail to keep God's law. But if we repent of our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

In our desperate time, we will be tempted to turn to the right hand or the left hand, to incorporate false teaching about Jesus into our faith. But if we keep the word of God before us at all times, and we meditate on it day and night, then we will be successful in building up our faith and becoming sanctified in the Lord. Armed with the word of God--sharper than any two edged sword--and a good defense of the truth that is in us, no worldly person will be able to stand philosophically before us. God will not leave us nor forsake us.

Not only does the sword of Goliath remind us that God is with us, it reminds us to love our neighbor. After beheading Goliath, David did not keep the sword but turned it over to all Israel for commemoration. Now, that symbolic sword has come back to David. Likewise, when we give of ourselves the good work that God has done in us to our neighbors, the good work comes back to us. God's presence reminds us to show hospitality to strangers, to visit those in prison--those whose souls are held captive by the devil, who has tempted them to unbelief. We visit them in their cages and share the word of God with them, giving them another piece of the key to life, with which they may be sprung free. We keep the gospel elevated in our marriage and with our children. The Lord has told us that he will never leave us nor forsake us.

But one has been forsaken. On the cross, Jesus cried out, "my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Why? Because there he bore our griefs and carried our sorrows. God transferred all our sins upon him and then smote him. He was wounded, crushed, in order to bring us peace with our maker. All of our straying like lost sheep, God has put upon his son. God cut him off, forsake him, so that he could conquer sin and death alone, making his grave with the wicked. Even though he was sinless, God treated him like the most vile of sinners in order to save all of us. The sword of Goliath represents this satisfaction of wrong against God. Jesus participates in a duel and dies, but in that death he is victorious. He is forsaken so that the Lord will not forsake us.

When you are persecuted, desperate, and at your lowest ebb, think of Goliath's sword and know that the Lord will never leave you nor forsake you. We will never be separated from the love of Christ. Neither in tribulation, nor distress, nor persecution. No, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Nothing in creation can separate us from the love of God that can only be found in Jesus Christ.