It Only Takes One

How many does it take to defeat an enemy in battle?  Ten thousand?  One thousand?  One hundred?  The answer may surprise you and that’s what I’d like to talk about today.
 
You may recall the story of David and Goliath recorded in 1 Samuel 17.  Over the course of 40 days, the Philistines taunted the children of Israel and gathered their men to destroy King Saul’s army.  Day after day, Goliath–the Philistine’s ferocious and gigantic champion–challenged Saul’s soldiers to fight.  Day after day, people responded in fear and desperation.
 
One day, David, the youngest son of Jesse, heard Goliath’s rants that mocked the Jews and ultimately, God’s sovereignty.  David courageously volunteered to fight Goliath much to the surprise of his older brothers as well as King Saul.  After all, David was a quiet, unassuming shepherd:  not exactly the prototype for a soldier.
 
Several amazing things happened that should encourage how Christians approach battles against our Goliaths–our spiritual enemies.  Each involves our personal and public acknowledgement about the power of God.  The words of Solomon could not be more true:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV).
 
First, David both knew and publicly acknowledged the source of his power and reason why that he would kill Goliath.  In 1 Samuel 17:34-37, David volunteers to fight Goliath but cautions King Saul to have a proper perspective about David’s strength.  David knew God would ensure victory because no one mocks His people or His name without judgement.  Galatians 6:7 reminds us “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” This truth continues even today as we encounter people who mock or dismiss God’s omnipotence.  Woe to them!
 
Second, David knew and publicly acknowledged that his “armor” was not military but spiritual. The traditional military armor wouldn’t fit David because he was too small.   1 Samuel 17:39 tells us: “David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” David knew God wanted to get all of the glory for David’s victory and not allow people to believe victory comes from human ingenuity.  On the one hand, he literally took off the king’s armor but in a supernatural way, he put on God’s armor.  Paul’s admonishment to Ephesian Church is unquestionably applicable to us: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
 
Third, David knew and publicly acknowledged that God uniquely equipped him for spiritual warfare.  The armor was not only ill-fitting from a literal perspective, it was also spiritually ill-fitting because the battle against Goliath wasn’t physical but spiritual.  1 Samuel 17:40 reads:  “Then he [David] took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine [Goliath].”  In other words, David knew God had already equipped him for battle using shepherd’s tools familiar to him but used them in a supernatural way that only God could have imagined. Simply put, when God shows us a need, He also uniquely equips us to meet the need!
 
Fourth, David knew and publicly acknowledged that allies and enemies of God should know the reason why He judges unrighteousness.  In 1 Samuel 17:45-47, David confidently informs Goliath that his outburst was not simply directed at Israel but to the Almighty God! Only quoting part of this scripture robs us of the full weight of David’s complete trust in God:
 
“Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”  
 
In other words, David wanted to clarify God’s swift and definitive judgement for blaspheming His name.  So despite how we view our  troubles–the Goliath’s in our lives– they are no match for an awesome God who demands our absolute trust in His sovereignty.  We declare this by reminding others of His omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence.   
 
Fifth and lastly, David knew and publicly acknowledged the precise tool needed for the task. He chose a sling and five smooth stones for his encounter with Goliath.  1 Samuel 17:48-51 provides one of the most graphic examples of swift judgement:  
 
“So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hurried and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.”
 
Unfortunately, many who read this passage focus mostly on the fact that David defeated Goliath with one slingshot and one stone.  While true, this observation greatly mischaracterizes the nature of God’s precision.   Earlier in the chapter, verse 40 indicates that “[David] chose for himself five smooth stones” yet he only needed one to defeat Goliath (emphasis added).  God didn’t want David to take five tries.  Imagine Goliath’s taunting David if his first several attempts didn’t work!
 
So again,  how many does it take to defeat an enemy in battle?  Ten thousand?  One thousand?  One hundred?  
 
It only takes one.  
 
It only takes one God, working through the faith of one person, launching one stone, to defeat one enemy. It only takes one.

Leave a Reply