Nothing Just Happens - 1 Samuel 17:32-37
My brothers and sisters it has been suggested yet somewhat debated that Benjamin Franklin somewhere in the year 1790 penned the quote “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” There is much truth to that because nothing in life just happens. Even in church we who will fail to plan in an excellent manner will walk to an opportunity for ministry and use the phrase “the Lord will work it out” or “we’ll just let the Holy Spirit have his way.” For the longest time many in Christendom have laid stake on the claim that when we are ill-prepared, under-whelming, unlearned, haven’t studied, that the Lord will make up the difference. But beloved even with the presence, power, and somewhat prodigious nature of the Holy Spirit; nothing just happens.
A successful lawyer must map out his or her pathway to victory. A successful preacher must study and carefully assemble a sermon in order to have victory. The successful businessman or woman must be cautious with their investments. The military before going to battle must have a strategy not just to fight but to win. Parents must have a strategy to raise their children; because if their is no plan, no strategy - life will show you that the streets will raise your children. Where there is no strategy there will be lost time, gained anxiety, and even depleting revenue. Football and basketball stars will tell you at times the game wasn’t lost on the field or on the court but it was lost in practice. It was lost in the locker room because there was no strategy. Where there is no strategy in the locker room there will be failure in the game.
Life will often tempt us to just ride the wave of life. We often have the mentality let me just do what I do how I do it and I’ll see where I land; we’ll see what happens.
The truth beloved is that God is not opposed to strategy. Some are often led to believe that where there is a strategy to achieve or accomplish something it is leaving God out. That one has just taken it upon themselves to concoct their own plan and leave God out of it. But the entire cosmos, the world of which God created in 7-days was a part of the master strategy of God. God threw the world together, made man, man failed on several occasions after several attempts; yet at the beginning God was not void of strategy. He had Jesus prepared to go to Calvary at the beginning because God who knows the end from the beginning; the Omniscient - all knowing God; who wrote the end of the story at the beginning is a Master Strategist who is never taken by surprise, never caught of guard, and never in a panic trying to figure out how He’ll get out.
His ways are not our ways; His thoughts not our thoughts. He saw your today umpteen times and umpteen years ago and somehow in Godly fashion every person, every animal, everything, enters and exits the scene all over the world and God knows the time down to the millisecond when that will happen for all of creation because it happens according to His inescapable, unavoidable, uncontrollable, uncontainable, incomparable will because it all happens according to His strategy.
I know the average Sunday School teacher teaches this familiar narrative found in Scripture as if David, the teenage son of Jesse pops out of nowhere and kills the big bad wolf named Goliath… But if you dig a little deeper you see David during the discourse leading up to the battle shows that he is not just going to jump on the battlefield, stand in front of Israel’s greatest enemy with no strategy.
David reveals his strategy as he makes his way towards the battlefield.
The story goes the Philistines and the Israelites have gathered and there is about to be a fight y’all. They come and there is some space in between them. And here comes Goliath of Gath who the Scriptures tells us was six cubit and a span. Which means he was about nine feet and eight inches tall. He wore heavy armor and was known to be a fierce fighter and killer. Goliath challenges the army of Israel and beckons for someone to come down and fight him. If the Philistines lose, they will serve Israel. If the Israelites lose, they will serve the Philistines. The Bible says not only was Goliath ferocious but he was also persistent, perpetual, incessant, insistent, unrelenting, unremitting, and resolute in that he taunted the Israelites morning and evening for forty days beckoning someone to come.
David sent by his father Jesse to be the GrubHub and bring his brothers some lunch hears Goliaths challenge. And sees how not some but all the men (24) of Israel are running and fleeing at the sight of being afraid.
David, rises to the occasion and discovers Israel who has seen so many victories through and by the hand of God now lacks the strategy to beat one who is maligning them, mocking their God, and monstrously persistent. God has always given Israel a strategy. They never won a battle by happenstance… because nothing just happens.
When Israel was on the run from Pharoah - God parted the Red Sea, drowning Pharoah and his army… nothing just happens
When the Israelites were in battle against the Amalekites, Aaron and Hur had to hold Moses’ hands up and as long as his hands stayed up they won the battle…because nothing just happens.
Moses sent the 12 spies in Numbers 13 because nothing just happens.
God gave Joshua a strategy walk around the walls of Jericho once everyday and then seven times on the seventh day.
Nehemiah had a strategy he wouldn’t come down off the wall.
Esther needed a strategy before going before the king because if she had no strategy she would have died being somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be without a strategy.
Could it be… businesses don’t succeed, churches don’t succeed, teachers don’t succeed in educating, because there is no strategy?
David, gets mocked, talked about because he is a teenager seemingly fighting in what is a mans war. Everybody else notices his small stature, his age, and his naivety but him and God.
Goliath has issued innumerable challenges of which no one in the Israelite army accepts. Because they recognize the stature of Goliath. And they are looking in their arsenal of people and weapons and make the conclusion that Goliath is simply too big to be beat.
They never realized that its not always whats in your hand or in your arsenal that counts but its whats in your heart. That if you’ve got the right spirit it does not matter what tools you lack. And you need to know you can deal with some giants in your life with stuff that don’t even make sense when you’ve got the right spirit!
It is in verse 26 that David begins to reveal his strategy for battle. He says what shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? In other words David asked, what will I get for killing this joker? You missed it. David’s strategy for battle reveals that David already sees the victory even before the battle begins. And see this is important because the Israelites now see doom and gloom as they face an insurmountable enemy. They believe that the same God that has brought them through this and that has now changed his mind concerning them and that this is the end. And sometimes after a diagnosis from the doctor, or some insurmountable circumstances in our lives we start looking at the circumstance as if it will be the end - like its over. But when you bring victory to the battlefield what meets you at the battlefield won’t matter because I came to the battlefield with a mind that I will win!
I got to get out of here.
David then encounters his brother Eliab. Who starts nagging him. Why are you here? Who is tending to Jesse’s sheep and he just assumes David has come to watch the battle. David responds what now. Remember Eliab is the oldest of Jesse’s sons. When Samuel came to anoint the next king of Israel, Eliab was the first in line to be reviewed by the king and subsequently the first rejected. Eliab has got some envy and jealously toward is youngest brother who is anointed among all of his 8 older brothers. Eliab wants to know why are you here, what do you want, and why are you not at work? Because the battlefield is no place for a teenage sheep keeper with no battle experience. Verse number 30 says David turned away from him. Here reveals another strategy - you’ve got to watch who you talk to. There is always somebody trying to discourage you - because what God has shown you intimidates them. The way you carry yourself, your presence just annoys some folk.
And because nothing just happens in life sometimes you’ve got to learn to silence all the noise around you in order to focus on what God has called you to do.
David moves to talk to Saul. Saul told David straight up you can’t go fight Goliath because you’re too young. But Saul inevitably tells him I’ve been fighting since I was your age. He’s not telling him that he can’t fight - he is telling David you can’t win because I wouldn’t have won against Goliath when I was your age either. Isn’t it funny how some people will make their experience yours? They’ll tell you I tried it before and it won’t work. They’ll say I’ve been there and done that.
But Saul couldn’t possibly have the right spirit or attitude toward the battle because you can’t have a battle strategy when God has rejected you. Saul the rejected king is talking to the one who has been anointed king. Saul the rejected king is talking to the one who has been anointed king. Saul the rejected king is talking to the one who has been anointed king. And in so many words David says I’ve been anointed for this. A lion came and took one of the sheep - I went after the lion and got the sheep out of its mouth and I caught that lion by the beard and that lion is no more.
Not only a lion but I did the same thing to the bear. David says and just like that lion and just like that bear… the same God that delivered me from two enemies bigger than me and the sheep; I will deal with this uncircumcised Philistine. David remembered what God has done in preparation for what He will do. Yea though I walk THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death… I’ll fear no evil for THOU art with me!
Saul attempted to offer David his armor because if you’re going to fight Goliath you ought to have what Goliath has. Some folk will try to look more and act more like the giant when trying to defeat him. But David realized I don’t have to change who I am to fight this Goliath. I didn’t have Saul’s armor when I defeated the lion or the bear… I don’t need it now! If the battle was to be won with the armor - y’all would have won already.
Let me hasten.
David then has a conversation with Goliath. David who already sees his victory, has not been deterred by the words of his envious brother Eliab, and who has now had a conversation with the rejected king. Now advances to the enemy Goliath. Some folk would never make it to the real enemy because all of the conversations with the others would have caused some folk to turn back and then the giant stands tall forever.
But David comes to the battle with 5 smooth stones and a slingshot. Goliath is still ‘Goliathing.’ He says am I a dong that you come to me with sticks? David responded you come against me with all of this armor (45) but I come in the name of the Lord who is God of the armies you have defied. Tell you this and I’m out of here. David had a strategy to use what God gave you. Because what God gave you is more than enough! You can never win a war using what God gave to someone else.
The armor, Goliath’s stature was just an allusion of power his enemy possessed. So you know the story David threw the stone and hit Goliath in the forehead and Goliath fell down.
David proceeded to go and cut off its head. That’s the problem some folk make when they are dealing with a giant. We’ll knock him down but you’ve got to cut off its head.
But I started asking God - how in the world does a teenage boy who scholars suggest was shorter than 5 feet tall throw a rock at Goliath and Goliath fall out....
It was not enough for David to visualize his victory, guard the voices trying to get in his head, remember what God had done for him, and use what God gave him. He did all that and that had fueled him to this point but now he’s on the battlefield and its time to produce some results based on the strategy he has already exemplified.
I’ve got some rocks… but there is a rock higher than I…