Read the story of Prophet David's handling of the enemies here (1 Samuel chapters 17 and 24).
When a battle is actually a spiritual battle
Prophet David came to power as king at a very difficult time when God's people were being threatened by a group of enemies called the Philistines. Goliath, the main giant fighter of the Philistines, challenged them to one-to-one combat. No one dared to fight him. Fear swept across the towns.
The story of David and Goliath is too familiar. Yet it is important to note that the story is not about a weak victim courageously fighting a strong bully. It was a spiritual battle between two gods and their kingdoms. If you read the story carefully, you can see both David and the Philistines made it very clear they knew it was a spiritual battle.
David was not at all interested in showing off for his own glory or getting the great reward. It was also not about taking revenge for himself or advancing his own political ideology, even though all these opportunities were clearly available to him at the time. He was motivated by his frustration at Goliath's disrespect for God and God’s beloved people.
What the battle is really about
David identified what the battle was truly about. He assessed the whole big picture with God in mind. And he saw where the ultimate power truly lies and under what power he should be fighting.
He said to Goliath,
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied." (1 Samuel 17: 45)
David attributed his success in his shepherd work to God. He remembered it was God who had rescued him from lions and bears (1 Samuel 17:34-37). So the victory was never about his resources or weapons. The victory was all about God’s own presence with David. David made it clear the glory of the victory was to God and to God alone.
Prophet David was successful in fighting against Goliath, but his life was full of injustice, suffering, war and danger. Many of his enemies wanted to kill him because of jealousy and power.
Leaving your vengeance to God
Throughout the rest of David's life, one of the most distinctive features was his refusal to take revenge against his enemies in his own way. He did not need to, because he knew the heart of God.
While he was being pursued by people who brought him great suffering, he always looked up to God for guidance, wisdom, strength and justice. He knew God was the one who would carry out real justice and vengeance in His own way and in His timing. David was willing to wait for God to carry out His plan.
'I have not wronged you,
but you are hunting me down to take my life.
May my God judge between you and me.
And may my God avenge the wrongs you have done to me,
but my hand will not touch you.
As the old saying goes, 'From the evildoers come evil deeds,"
so my hands will not touch you.' (1 Samuel 24:11-13)
In the end, God protected David and punished his enemies with justice. You can read the details of the stories in the books of Samuel.
Prophet David could see the glory and power of God and enjoy His peace even though he was surrounded by terrifying enemies who tried to destroy him. David knew God’s will for his life was not to seek revenge, but to look up to God to deliver a much bigger, better plan. Today, just like David, people who fear God can face many enemies who aim to destroy us through betrayal, corruption, political deceit, hatred and violence. But those who truly fear God know God is not only in control of all, He has also heard our cry for His help and will deliver in ways we cannot even imagine, like He has done numerous times for the Prophets in the stories we have read.
Your Response: Listen to God and Pray...
1. Do we recognize the spiritual battles around us, or do we only see the military and political problems that human minds are preoccupied with? How do we look at current events from God's point of view?
2. What was David’s main motivation to challenge Goliath and fight him? What is your main motivation in your daily struggles?
3. How is God speaking to you through this story? How will you respond?
4. Who can you share the story with?