The Battle is the LORD’s
Few things have been as important to the Lord’s servants throughout the centuries as knowing that the battle is the LORD’s. Each generation is faced with new difficulties and perils which threaten our confidence in the midst of the battle in which we are engaged. In David’s situation, the entire nation of Israel, its King and its army were paralyzed as they contemplated their enemy Goliath. Yet David demonstrated his confidence in three things as he faced this battle. The first was his confidence in the name of the LORD. “David said to the Philistine, ‘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.’” (I Samuel 17:45) He also had confidence in the victory of the LORD. In I Samuel 17:46 he declares “This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I will strike you down and cut off your head.” The third thing in which he had confidence was in the weapons provided by the LORD. “Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.” (I Samuel 17:40)
Our battles today are not with visible giants, but with forces which are as real and as opposed to the work of God in our world as was Goliath and the Philistine army. The more we contemplate these forces in our world and even in our own nation, our hearts may become like those of Saul’s army, fearful and unwilling to be engaged in battle. Knowing that the battle is the LORD’s, however, gives us confidence in His Name, confidence in His victory, and confidence in His weapons which He has given us for battle.
In His Name we have confidence. Proverbs 18:10 states “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” His name YHWH, or LORD means One who will become all we need Him to be. As Jehovah-Nissi, He is our banner. As Jehovan-Jireh, He will provide. As Jehovah-Raah, He is our shepherd. As Jehovah-Rapha he is our healer, and as Jehovah-Tsidkenu, He is our righteouosness. To Him belongs all power, authority and wisdom. The more deeply we know Him, the greater the confidence we have that the battle is the LORD’s.
We also can have confidence in His victory. We are sent with the great commission to make disciples of all nations. The LORD has told us that even the gates of hell shall not prevail against His church. I Corinthians 15:58 also tells us that our labor is not in vain in the LORD. He will accomplish His work in His time. Victory in the battles which we face in our lives and ministry is assured. I heard an analogy recently from one of our pastors that is helpful in understanding our victory. One of the team members of the Kansas University basketball team is Tyler Self, the son of the head coach Bill Self. KU fans love to see Tyler play in the game, even though he is 3rd or 4th string, because at that point the game is never in doubt. KU is ahead by at least 20 points, it is late in the game, and it is not remotely possible that defeat at the hands of the other team would be a possibility. If Tyler dribbles the ball off his foot, throws the ball out of bounds, or shoots an airball, it does not affect the game. Tyler‘s father is delighted that his son is in the game and is giving it his best effort.
God’s “game” has already been won. There was only one first string player, Jesus Christ. He has destroyed the works of the devil, manifested the Father, given us His Spirit, and has prepared in advance the work for us to do. The rest of us are all 4th string players. In the work that God has called me to do I have shot more than my share of airballs, dribbled on my foot, and at times have turned the ball over to the opposition. God’s victory, however, is still assured. He is delighted that I turned out for His team, showed up for practice, worked hard to learn the plays and I am competing to the best of my ability. He also wants me to know that His work in the lives of the individuals whom He has entrusted to me will be perfected in His time. II Timothy 1:12 says the following. “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.” A grammatically correct and more accurate contextual translation is as follows. “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what He has entrusted to me for that day.” It is our LORD who will guard our investment in others for that day. The battle is the LORD’s.
As David had confidence in the weapons the LORD led him to use, so we can have confidence in our weapons. They are described in Ephesians 6 as the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” and “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:17-18) And how effective are they? We see Paul’s confidence in these weapons described in II Corinthians 10:4-5. (Living Bible) “It is true that I am an ordinary weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding him. With these weapons I can capture rebels and bring them back to God, and change them into men whose heart’s desire is obedience to Christ.” God’s mighty weapons will prevail because the battle is the LORD’s.
Wherever we are in this world, we are engaged in a constant battle for justice, truth, righteousness against the enemies of the LORD. The battle is the LORD’s, however, and we need not be anxious because we can have confidence in His Name, in His ultimate victory, and in His weapons.
In Christ, Richard Spann