Keys for Today:
“And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.”
– 1st Samuel 17.40
In the battle between David and Goliath, we see the weapons both men used. Goliath was arrayed in heavy armor (some experts think it may have all weighed around 250lbs.) with larger than normal weaponry for his stature. David, by contrast, was armed as a shepherd, with a staff, a rod, a sling, and a pouch for stones. We read in 1st Samuel 17 that David chose five stones out of the brook in order to fight Goliath. The question today, is, why did David choose five stones? How does this also connect with us in our daily lives today? How does David’s weapons – particularly the five stones – apply to our lives as believers in Jesus Christ? How can we overcome the giants that we face on a daily basis?
A Giant Problem
Goliath could very well have been the physically largest person ever to have walked the earth. The King James Version of the Bible states that Goliath was, in height, six cubits and a span. To understand what this means, a cubit in ancient times is equivalent to about 22 inches in today’s American measuring system (58 centimeters in the metric system. When we multiply this 22 inches (58cm) by 6-1/2, we get just under 12 feet tall (11.92ft; 3.78m). Taking into account that Goliath had been trained form his youth as a warrior, it is a safe bet to conclude that he may have weighed anywhere between 6OO and 9OOlbs (273 ~ 410kg). All this to say, Goliath was one huge man! We also see that his weapons and armor were also larger than normal. Arrayed in his “Sunday Best”, Goliath was a sight to behold: His Iron or bronze armor was polished, and shone in the sunlight like gold. His sword, strapped to his belt was gigantic and razor sharp. His spear was the size of a weaver’s beam, and its tip glinted off of the sunlight like a star. His shield – carried in front of him – was likely larger all-around than a man, and probably weighed as much. For forty days, according to the story in 1st Samuel 17, Goliath walked out of his camp, challenging and calling on the Army of Israel for a champion to come forth to fight in single combat. The conditions were serious enough. Victory for Goliath, and the Israelites were to be the servants and slaves of the Philistines; victory for Israel’s champion meant the Philistines would serve Israel, and as a n added bonus, King Saul had offered the victor his daughter’s hand in matrimony, and his family to be tax-free for life. Yet all the same, the Army of Israel produced no champion. In fact, according to Scripture, the Israelites were scared stiff, from King Saul, all the way down to the lowliest foot soldier.
A King the Size of a Mountain…But with the Heart of a Chicken
King Saul – though not quite as tall as the imposing Giant Goliath – was himself a large man, even by modern standards. 1st Samuel records King Saul’s stature and physical form:
“…Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.”
–1st Samuel 9.2
“and they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. And Samuel said to all the people, ‘See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people?’ And all the people shouted, and said, ‘God save the king.’”
– 1st Samuel 10.23 ~24
We can see from Scripture here that King Saul was the tallest in the kingdom, head and shoulders – literally – above the rest. It is estimated that Israelites of King Saul’s and David’s day were between 5’3” and 5’5” in height. Looking at Saul towering above everyone else, it is possible that Saul was at or around seven feet tall. In the beginning of his reign as king, Saul did very well, and was zealous for the Lord against the Ammonites and Philistines (ancestors of the Jordanians and some Palestinians respectively). However, in the last two-thirds of his time as king, Saul did very poorly, disobeying the Lord on two occasions. So bad was King Saul’s attitude that these tragic instances are recorded:
“But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.”
– 1st Samuel 16.14
“And Saul asked counsel of God, ‘Shall I go down after the Philistines? Wilt thou deliver them in to the hand of Israel?’ But he answered him not that day.”
– 1st Samuel 14.37
“And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor Urim. Nor by prophets. Then said Saul, ‘Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her’…Then said the woman, ‘Whom shall I bring up unto thee?’ and he said, ‘Bring me up Samuel…And Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?’ And Saul answered, ‘I am sore distressed…God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams…Then said Samuel, ‘Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?’”
– 1st Samuel 28.6 ~7,11, 15, 16
You see? Even though Saul was king, and was a huge man in and of himself, he had become lily livered. Because God was not with him and the Spirit of the Lord had departed, he was timid and afraid. Following 1st Samuel 15 and Saul’s final disobedience, we see that Saul was plagued by fear at every turn. When Goliath stepped forth to challenge the army of Israel, it should have been her king, the huge, tall, and powerful Saul (1st Samuel 8.20). While Saul didn’t quite measure up to Goliath’s stature, with God, victory should have, could have, and would have been sure. Instead, because Saul was hiding in his tent, plagued by fear and distress, the entire army was also in fear of huge Goliath. As we have already learned, the real tragedy of Saul wasn’t that he started off so well, but that he disobeyed God, remained in an unrepentant state, and when Goliath came challenging, was found hiding out in fear and trembling, rendering the entire army useless, scared, weak, and unable to take up the challenge. The king may have been a giant in his own right, but he had the heart of a coward.
Enter David, Exit the Misconceptions
We see that David was left behind, once again, when the Army of Israel left for the front to go and face the Philistines. As his father had left him behind when Samuel the Prophet came looking for a king, so, too, this time was David left behind due to his youth. Since Jesse was regarded as an older man at this time, it is safe to say that his sons probably ranged in age from 25 or 26 to seventeen. His three eldest sons had followed the King into Battle, leaving David and his five next older brothers at home, as was the custom of the day to take men over the age of 20 and under the age of 60 to fight (see Numbers chapter 1). Instead, David was employed as a supplier from home, and was sent to the front with food and other victuals for his brothers, their captains, and the king. As we read 1st Samuel 17, we see that David heard Goliath’s challenge, and, being full of the Spirit of the Lord, volunteered to fight him. Though his eldest brother and King Saul tried to discourage him, in the end, King Saul relented and dressed him in his own armor and weaponry. Now, a close read of this story shows that David turned down the use of the King’s Armor. Why so? Many experts and theologians speculate that David didn’t use the armor because it was too big, the sword to unwieldy. David has been portrayed at this time of his life and in this battle as a very young man, maybe aged between eleven and fifteen. However, look again: the king gave him his own armor. Why would King Saul do such a thing if he knew it would be too large for David to use? Wouldn’t it be better for David to have tried on the armor of a smaller man, such as a shield bearer or cavalryman? Instead the King dressed him in his own armor, and this is what we must conclude: David wasn’t a small, pasty, pre- or mid-teen boy, but instead a nearly grown man of possibly seventeen to nineteen years of age, with broad shoulders and a tall stature (possibly above six feet, and maybe even 6’4”: we see, later, King Saul’s son, Jonathan, giving David his own weapons and armor later [see 1st Kings 18]). David was no small boy himself. The reason he didn’t take and use King Saul’s weapons and Armor is as follows:
“And Saul armed David with his armour, and, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, ‘I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them.’ And he put them off him.”
– 1st Samuel 17.38 ~39
You see? The reason David didn’t take Saul’s armor and weapons is simply because he wasn’t used to them, not because he was too small or too little to wear the armor of the king.
Why Five Stones?
David, instead of wearing the king’s armor, went with what he was familiar with, and that is the dress and weapons of a shepherd: A shepherd’s rod and staff, a sling, a pouch, and some stones. Now the question that we read in the introduction must be asked here again: Why did David pick up five stones out of the brook? There was only one giant: why the five stones? Why not just one? If Goliath was the champion that the Bible states that he was, having been a warrior from his youth, how likely is it that David would get the time or the chance to sling more than one stone? Why five stones, then, and not just one? We need to understand that David wasn’t facing Goliath as a scared little boy, or as a fearful young man. He may have had some nervousness, but by his words throughout this 17th Chapter of 1st Samuel, we can easily see that he had God with him, and because of that, he knew he was going to slay Goliath: one stone was more than enough, as we see later. Why then the other four? We need to understand that there are no accidents in the Bible: things are written there for a reason. In this case, too, David didn’t pick up five total stones merely for extra ammunition, or because he was afraid of missing Goliath (he was twelve feet tall and weighed several hundred pounds! Even without God with him, David would have been hard-pressed to miss). The simple reason for David choosing five stones is because Goliath had four younger brothers; David wanted the other four stones in case Goliath’s brothers showed up (please read 2nd Samuel 21.15~22 and 1st Chronicles 20.4~8). David merely wanted to be prepared for Goliath’s brethren, which is why he took five stones.
Bullies Always Need and Have Flunkies and Followers…
Anyone ever had a bully? Was there some guy or some girl that bullied you almost incessantly when you were at some point in school? How did this bully operate? Did s/he operate alone? In this writer’s case, there were three times that he had bullies: Elementary school and Junior High. In elementary school, there was a bully named Jonathan. Jonathan was large, came from a rather dysfunctional home, and used his fists. One day – out of the blue – Jonathan had a friend grab this writer by the arms from behind, hauled off, and punched him hard in the stomach. Jonathan remained a bully until 6th and 7th grades. Then another bully appeared: his name was Timmy, and he was actually smaller than this writer, but he was the worst of troublemakers. He also ran with friends, and one day an argument nearly ended up with blows being traded. It would have been a mismatch because Timmy had two others working with him. Then, in the 8th grade, this writer and his family moved across the state to another county and school. It was then that the worst trial of bullies happened for this writer. There were six girls that tormented him every day for two years, from the beginning of the 8th grade until the beginning of the 10th grade. These girls would often work together, but on occasion would work separately. Their boyfriends and other male friends would also often cause a lot of trouble for this writer. You see? In the same way, this is how giants work: they rarely come alone. Goliath not only had the entire army of the Philistines behind him, he also had four brothers. The devil also works this way. He never comes against a believer alone: there are always followers of him ready to do his bidding (whether knowingly or not), and they always come in groups.
Five Stones for Five Giants and their Tactics
As David chose out five stones to fight Goliath and his brothers (who showed up much, much later), so today, we will look at five giants every believer faces, and the five stones with which to fight them. These “Giants and Stones” will come out of the Book of Nehemiah.
Giant Tactic Number One: Ridicule and Mocking – whenever someone comes to Christ or chooses to commit him/herself to the Lord, it never fails that the Devil always shows up, and the first weapon he employs is ridicule. Take a look at what happened to Nehemiah when he got the people of Israel to work rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem:
“But it came to pass, that when Sanballat hears that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, ‘What do these feeble Jews? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?’ Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, ‘Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.”
– Nehemiah 4.1~3
The story of Nehemiah is one of great effort and more importantly the grace of and the reliance on the Lord. God gave Nehemiah and the returnees from the Babylonian Captivity a great charge: to rebuild the walls and fortifications of Jerusalem. Anytime we begin to do a work for the Lord and make a serious decision for him, the enemy will come and try to monkey up the works. Now, we need to understand something very key to this whole thing: when we determine in our hearts to make a decision in favor of Jesus Christ, it makes the Devil hoppin’ mad. He won’t admit it, but the fact of the matter is that whenever we choose Christ, the Devil will become unhinged. It’s the same with bullies everywhere: when a bully sees a potential threat – such as a potentially more popular person – that bully gets so ripped up on the inside. It happens the same with the devil. Here we see how Sanballat and Tobiah joined forces (see? Bullies always need more than one). David got it in a different form:
“And Eliab, his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, ‘Why camest thou down hither? And with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.’…And Saul said t o David, ‘Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.’…And the Philistine said unto David, ‘Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said unto David, ‘Come to me, and I will give thy flesh to the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.’”
– 1st Samuel 17.28, 33, 43~44
Anyone here reading this have an older brother or sister? When you set out to do some task, did you get encouragement firm your brother or sister? Can you relate to Dav9id and his situation? Not only did he get trouble and ridicule form Goliath, he didn’t get any support from the King nor from his own brother! Friends, that’s how the Devil works! He will not only give it to you from his end, but he will also work it so that people who are supposed to be with you or on your side also launch in with the ridicule! And not only was the Giant angry with him, but so was his eldest brother. Friends, this is the simple truth: if we choose to go God’s way, we will get the ridicule from just about every imaginable direction, even from those who love us the most.
Stone Number One: Prayer for Your Ridiculers – Jesus Christ states it best:
“But I say unto you, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven…”
– Matthew 5.44~45
Nehemiah followed this prescription to the letter:
“Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.”
– Nehemiah 4.4~5
When we face ridicule in what we are called to do by God – whether it be to salvation, to sanctification, or to fulfill His Call up on our lives – the ridicule will come, and when it does, we need to get close to God, pray, and give the trouble to him, praying for our enemies and those who are persecuting us. If we do so, those ridiculers will not only walk away, but they will, in turn, possibly become friends later.
Giant Tactic Number Two: Threats – Eventually, the ridicule will turn into something a bit more sinister – threatening. Take a look at Nehemiah 4 again:
“But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdothites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.”
– Nehemiah 4.7~8
David had the same experience:
“…the Philistine arose, and came nigh to meet David…”
– 1st Samuel 17.48
We all know how a bully works, right? When s/he sees one of us, the laughter, the ridicule, and the mocking start. Inwardly they are as angry as a stirred up nest of hornets, but outwardly, they are ridiculing. When we ignore them, it makes the bully and his pals especially angry, and then here come the threats. “You better pay attention, or I’ll pound you!” “I said, ‘Give me your milk money or else!” We remember those – or threats similar to them – from elementary and junior high, right? In the same way, the Devil threatens us, too. “If you get saved, you’re friends will leave you high and dry!” “If you let the Holy Ghost have control, you’ll be in big trouble!” “If you answer God’s Call, you’ll get a job you hate and a life of dull boredom!” He oftentimes will threaten our families with sickness, injury, or death, or even threaten us our person similarly.
Stone Number Two: We Are Not Alone, and Be Prepared to Fight – One thing that bullies do not like is someone who will buck up and stand their ground. It makes them so angry to see us walk along and ignore their ridicule, so it turns them to do something else. So it is with the Devil:
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
– James 4.7
If we are submitted to God, when we resist the Devil, he will flee from us. He won’t stay away for good, but he will leave us for a time (see Matthew 4.1~11; Luke 4.1~13). So it is when we are faced with threats from the enemy. If we will resist, remembering that god is with us, then generally those threats will disappear. Sometimes, the threats turn into action by the enemy, and for those times we need to be prepared, but generally, the saying is true, “his bark is worse than his bite”. This is how Nehemiah responded to the threats he faced:
“Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.”
– Nehemiah 4.9
This is exactly what we need to do: give the problem to God, realizing that he is with us, and set a prepared watch.
Giant Tactic Number Three: Infiltration – This is by far the most devious, and most successful, tactic that the enemy has to use in his repertoire. If the ridicule doesn’t stop us (and form any it does), and the threats don’t cower us (and sometimes it does), then the enemy will ultimately turn to infiltration. Wars in the past have been won on the back of infiltration as a means of destroying the enemy from within. When the Allied Forces invaded France in 1944, already the French Underground had been at work in preparation for the day when liberation would come form the Allies. This is a very successful trick the Devil uses. Here is what Nehemiah’s situation was:
“And Judah said, ‘The strength of the bearers of the burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish: so that we are not able to build the wall.’ And our adversaries said, ‘They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.’ And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt beside them came, they said unto us ten times ‘From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you.’”
– Nehemiah 4.10~12
What we see here is that due to the fatigue and exhaustion of the people and the greatness of the work, the vigilance was less than what it needed to be. As a result, the enemies of the Jews were in ripe position to infiltrate and destroy the work God had put forth for Nehemiah to do. Such is the case with us when we are tired, exhausted, and worn out from doing the bidding that God calls us to perform. Face it, folks, we are all people: flesh and blood with limited strength and abilities. Just as doing heavy manual labor – such as rebuilding a broken down city will – or physical exercise is exhausting and long, so too is our life and living for Jesus Christ. There will be times when the fatigue is too much, the exhaustion is too overpowering, and the wear and tear unbearable. It is in times such as these that we need to be extra careful, because the enemy is waiting, like a ninja, to do us in. The danger from a ninja isn’t his weapons or expertise with the sword, but his ability to disrupt, assassinate, and destroy key points in his enemies’ territory. So, too, the devil waits an opening, and all he needs is a small, small crack and he’s in, causing confusion, making us angry, and encouraging us to lash out or just give up altogether.
Stone Number Three: Lean On Each Other and On God – Folks, this is the simplest way to defeat infiltration. You see? The ninja is best when he can isolate his enemy, entrap him, and cut him off from help. In nature, we see this with wolves. A wolf is an expert killing machine and hunter. When a wolf sees his prey, he will do everything he can to cut it off from the main body. Then the wolf’s fellow pack members move in for the kill. When a wolf’s prey sticks close to its herd or group, safety is assured. It’s the same with us. Most Christians fail because of something very, very simple: they stop going to church. Did you know this? You see? Churches fail when they are split up. Christians fail when they stop going to Church. This is why going to church as often as possible and fellowshipping with other believers is so key: we strengthen each other, and there’s strength in numbers. The Bible is rife with examples:
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they can have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him: and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
– Ecclesiastes 4.9~12
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
– Galatians 6.2
“Confess your faults one to another, ands pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”
– James 5.16
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
– Matthew 18.20
“The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.”
– Proverbs 22.2
“Can two walk together except they be agreed?”
– Amos 3.3
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together…”
– 2nd Thessalonians 2.1
“I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’”
– Psalm 122.1
“‘Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also.’”
– Zechariah 8.21
These verses above, and many more like them in the Bible, make it clear that we need to depend on each other as believers and follows of Jesus Christ. Alone, we are easy prey for our enemy, the Devil. Nehemiah, again in Chapter four, places great emphasis on the need for each other:
“Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work. And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another. In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us. So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day. So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing.”
– Nehemiah 4.13~23
In the verses above, Nehemiah puts great effort in getting the people of Jerusalem to rely on one another, and listen for the call of danger or trouble. So should we in this day and age, for without others there to help us, we will surely fall.
Giant Tactic Number Four: Compromise – When the enemy sees that his tricks aren’t working, that the ridicule, threats, and infiltration have all failed, he will try another way, and another one that is highly effective: Compromise. We see what happened with Nehemiah when his enemies wanted him to compromise:
“Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.”
– Nehemiah 6.1~2
Here, Sanballat wanted Nehemiah to come and meet with him and his cronies in order to get Nehemiah to compromise. Remember that when the enemy fails in his attempts to intimidate you away from following the Lord, he will try to get you to compromise, and this is probably the most effective tool the Devil has. So many churches today have lost their effectiveness simply because they gave in here and there, and it wasn’t in the big areas, but in the little places and little ways. Some of the congregation don’t believe this about the Bible, so what do we do? Instead of convincing them of the truth, the church decides to cut out the controversial part. Soon other parts are cut out, ignored, or overlooked. The result is that the church is no longer really the church, and what do we have? No lifestyles, no lives changed, abortion, homosexuality, theft, and single parenthood rising like skyrockets in the church. Compromise is the most effective weapon of the devil in the church at large, and it’s also a dangerous tool for individual Christians as well.
Stone Number Four: Keep Working – Perhaps the best thing we can do to avoid the trouble of compromise is to ignore the calls to meet with the enemy, and continue on with the work at hand, This is exactly what Nehemiah did:
“And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?”
– Nehemiah 4.3
When faced with compromise, we need to keep right on doing what we are called to do, and not give in. New Christian, just keep on growing in the grace that God has given you with Bible study, prayer, and church attendance. Newly called into ministry in one form or another, just keep on preparing, planning, and staying close to the Lord, and he will guide you. Newly sanctified and filled with the Spirit, let the Holy Ghost guide you and lead you on into Christian life. Don’t stop for a moment when the tempter comes and desires a compromise with you, because, friend, there is no compromise with the enemy!
Giant Tactic Number Five: Persistence, Persistence, and More Persistence – The enemy will never quit. This is a fact of life and living for Christ. So long as we draw breath and live in this flesh, the enemy will continue to attack and attack and attack some more. This tactic is played out by Nehemiah’s own hand:
“Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner. Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, ‘It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words. And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, “There is a king in Judah”: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.’ Then I sent unto them, saying, ‘There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.’ For they all made us afraid, saying, ‘Their hands shall be weakened form the work, that it not be done.’ Now, therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”
– Nehemiah 6.4~9
So long as the devil is free to do his deeds, so long as man continues to be rebellious and unrepentant in this world, so we will always have trouble.
Stone Number Five: Persistence, Persistence, and More Persistence…in the Lord! Just as the devil never quits, so we need to keep at it, and keep our eyes on Jesus! Whatever it is that we are about doing, whether it be preparation for fulfilling the call of God in some sort of ministry, learning what it means to be a Christian, or learning to live indwelt by the Holy Ghost, we need to stay strong and keep on doing what we’ve been called to do. If we will stay the course with Christ, trusting in him for our life and growth, then no matter how persistent the devil will be, the Lord will be infinitely more present and he will help us be more persistent in our walk with him.
The Bottom Line – Use Your Tools!
Friends, when David went out to fight Goliath, he didn’t use the King’s armor because he wasn’t used to Saul’s kind of weaponry or protection. David was a shepherd and used a set of shepherd’s tools (not to mention experience) to go out and meet Goliath in the Spirit and strength of the Lord. Nehemiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem didn’t use special weapons or new ideas to fight the enemies in Samaria, Syria, and Ammon: they used the tools and weapons they knew and trusted in God. We need to do the same thing. When in doubt and under assail from the Devil, turn to the Lord and pray. When needing comfort and peace, look up a passage in the Bible. When facing trouble and difficulties, talk to your brethren at church, and make an appointment to see the Pastor. As David defeated Goliath (and later his four younger brothers) and as Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem completed the construction of the City Wall, so, too, we can live a victorious Christian life if we will but trust in the Lord, and use the tools and weapons he has given us.
Conclusion – what Giants Are You Facing?
What Giants are you coming up against? What difficulties do you have? How is the enemy stacking his forces against you? Do things look overwhelming? Does the enemy fill the countryside while your resources look like two little flocks of baby lambs (see 1st Kings 20.27)? Then fear not…and in fact, rejoice, for victory is at hand! If you will keep your trust in God, your faith in Jesus Christ, and your reliance on and in the Holy Ghost, you need never fear the enemy and his tricks, even if you suffer as horribly as Job. What giants are staring you down? Are you trying to face them alone? Friend, if you go out and try to take out giants in your own strength, defeat will surely be the result. But if you will keep your trust and faith in Jesus Christ, you can never lose.
Have you taken on a giant, only to lose? Have you lived in a way that is against the will of the Lord? Have you sinned? Friend, sin is the surest way to face defeat and death both in this life and in eternity to come. You can be victorious, but only if you ask Jesus Christ into your life. If you walk away form Christ, then sin is crouching at your door, and disaster is waiting (Genesis 4.7). Christ is waiting at your door to save you, and to release you from the snare of sin (Revelation 3.20; John 8.32, 34, 36).
Heavenly Father, we praise you and thank you for this day. We love you Lord. Father, in this hour, there are those who are facing giants of unimaginable size, strength, and power. They are facing enemies who seek their destruction. They are looking at hopelessness and powerlessness in the face of their difficulties. We pray, O Lord, that you would remind them that though they think that they have no strength, you are waiting to pour out blessings and help and that you are never more than a cry away. Help us to remember, O Father, the tricks of the enemy, how he works, and what his ways are, and help us, dear Jesus, to stand and resist him in thy power and thy strength, and use the tools and weapons you have given us. We bless thee and thank thee, Father, and we pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord, Amen.
Verse to Remember
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
– Ephesians 6.13