The Battle Belongs to the Lord
For forty days the Philistine came forward every morning and evening and took his stand. (1 Samuel 17:16)
I believe everyone is familiar with the story about David and Goliath in Chapter 17 of 1 Samuel. Goliath had all the advantages (nine feet tall; with the best equipment, weapons and defensive armor). He challenged the Israelites to fight with him one-on-one every morning and evening. Forty days passed.
The Bible says that Saul and the Israelites were extremely afraid (1 Samuel 17:11, 24). But if the Philistines were really powerful, why didn't they dare to attack after 40 days? How come only Goliath the giant provoked the Israelites every day?
1) Both the Israelites and the Philistines camped on the mountain. The valley of Elah was in between. Any army that wanted to attack the enemy needed to run from its camp on the mountain down to the valley and then up the mountain to attack, so the army on the mountain had the advantage. If Goliath were to run from the bottom of the valley to the camp of the Israelites on the mountain, he would be exhausted. So the Philistines were not as scary as imagined, nor were they invincible.
2) In 1 Samuel 14:47-48, the Bible says that King Saul "fought against their enemies on every side: Moab, the Ammonites, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines. Wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment on them. He fought valiantly and defeated the Amalekites, delivering Israel from the hands of those who had plundered them." So King Saul and the Israelite army were not easily dealt with, and they did not need to be afraid.
What on earth happened?
1) Maybe the Israelites forgot that they are God's people. Nor did they remember that Jehovah led them to victory and rescued them from the enemy's hand. Sometimes we encounter difficulties and are very afraid because we forget that we belong to God. Just as God cares for the people of Israel, so He also care for His believers. Do you remember God's past grace?
2) There is only one giant Goliath, who is not invulnerable. But the Israelites magnified this enemy infinitely and looked down upon themselves. Yet other Philistines had no advantage over the Israelites. Brothers and sisters, do you have the habit of focusing on your difficulties and magnify them? As long as we look at it from another angle, understand who we are, we belong to God. God loves us, and He will open the way, because the war belongs to the Lord.
～Rev. Clement Woo胡嘉明牧師～