I want to share with you a short portion of my latest book, “Is There Not a Cause?” This book has been a long time coming through years of seeing churches not understanding the power they hold to fight this cause. This book is a literal rally cry for the local church to join this fight in a very tangible way. I hope you enjoy this portion of the first chapter and will order the book either for yourself or your pastor by going to www.saveone.org and clicking on “store”.
Chapter 1: David’s Cause
And David said, “What have I done now? Is there not a cause?” 1 Samuel 17:29
These words rang across a bloody battlefield as the evil side taunted and the righteous side trembled. The least likely among them, not even a warrior, asked this question and reminded them all why they were fighting.
David was a small man. Not in presence, but in stature. When he first comes on the scene (1 Samuel 16:13) he is estimated to be around the age of fourteen to sixteen. He was the youngest of nine kids, undoubtedly introduced as “the baby” on many occasions. He was a quiet, unassuming sheepherder.
You probably know the story about him slaying Goliath, but let’s look at it from a different perspective. Walk with me through these next few chapters and allow God to open your mind to ideas you may have never considered.
You can find the story of Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. The men of Israel were gathered together fighting the Philistine soldiers. There were thousands of men representing each army. Scripture says the Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side with a valley between them.
A giant named Goliath went out from among the Philistines. Bible scholars have debated how large this man really was, but the estimates have him to be around nine feet tall. He was fully dressed in one hundred twenty five pounds of armor, holding a fifteen-pound sword. For forty days this man taunted Israel, calling them “servants of Saul” and bellowing whoever wins the battle would become the others’ slaves. He wanted a man from the army to challenge him. When King Saul and all his men heard this day after day they were “dismayed and greatly afraid”. (Vs 11, NLT)
Now let’s consider this situation. When Goliath marched out taunting, why do you think he was fully clothed for battle? He was intimidating to see, but then when he proclaimed that whomever lost would be the other’s servant, of course it struck fear in the heart of Saul and his army. Goliath had already won half the battle by fear and intimidation alone.
If your opponent can strike fear in the battle first, they’re already closer to winning. Your opponent is hoping one of two things will happen. You won’t even show up to fight, or, if you do show up, fear will have you so askew that your irrationality puts you at a great disadvantage before the battle even begins.
On the same note, when you’re armed for war, Satan has a great interest in making you “dismayed and greatly afraid”. Anything he can do to arouse your fear is a huge victory for him.
A great example of this fear and inaction is Saul. He was described as being head and shoulders above the men of Israel, as well as a mighty warrior. But when against an opponent larger than him, he shrank back and became a coward. Saul, instead of having the courage to fight Goliath, tries to entice one of his men by offering different material possessions. He even offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to anyone who would fight the giant. But he had no volunteers. The entire Israelite army was afraid. Not one man was brave enough to stand up against Goliath.
I don’t believe there were any takers simply because all courage had been drained from these men. Their leader, Saul, wasn’t defending his own nation due to fear, and his inactivity affected the morale of the entire army.
These soldiers we’re talking about had seen many battles. You would never be able to convince me there wasn’t one single man of courage on that battlefield. Instead, I believe they were looking at the situation with human eyes. They had been struck with fear at the circumstances and the usual questions were probably whirling through their minds. What kind of hurt would they have to endure if they fight? How could they possibly win against this enormous, brutal man? Without the Spirit of God involved, there was no way the outcome would have been victory for the Israelites. They didn’t realize a spiritual battle was in motion, not a physical one. They believed what they saw, not what they knew to be true. Circumstances trumped faith.
Then the man of courage steps onto the battlefield. What a contrast he was to Saul’s army. David had the right approach. He was so offended that a man who had no place attacking the Israelite army had struck such trembling in these men’s hearts. Goliath was a direct affront to God. The challenge the giant had presented before the Israelites only aroused David’s rage. I love David’s words in the second part of 1 Samuel 17:26,
“For who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” NLT
I can almost hear him saying these words as if he’s spitting them out, probably leaving Saul speechless. Not only was he unafraid to provoke Goliath’s anger, but I love the fact he referred to armies as plural. There was only one Israelite army on that battlefield. But David knew there were a host of armies of the living God surrounding him, giving him unmatchable strength. Thus, he realized the spiritual battle going on and he believed victory would be his.
David saw things from an eternal perspective–he knew he had to remove the reproach of Israel. But then the next part of the story is so predictable. What happens when you’re about to do something great for God? You guessed it…attack comes. And most of the time, the criticism is from the people you think would love and support you without hesitation. David’s brother, Eliab, tried to belittle David and became angry with him. He asked him why he was there and not tending those few sheep he had. Eliab accused David of just wanting to see the battle. He wanted David to remain in his rightful place of tending sheep. Eliab didn’t want to be inferior to his youngest brother. I know from raising two boys, the older brother’s opinion of the younger is extremely important to the younger one. So I can imagine these words cut David to the core. David at that time could have thought, “Eliab is right. I have no business out here on the battlefield when I really just need to be tending sheep. That’s all I’m capable of anyway”. David had every right to believe this about himself.
David had a decision to make. Should he believe Eliab and just crawl home? Or does he perceive himself as God sees him, as a mighty warrior, worthy of this fight? By asking one question, he reminded the army why they were there. Just because the circumstances had changed didn’t mean the fight ended and they were defeated. No, it meant they should step up the battle, press on, and refuse to lay down their weapons. So he jolted the army with just one question, “Is there not a cause?” He’s asking this army who is supposed to be Israel’s fearless fighting force, is there not a cause greater than you for which you are fighting? The Lord was just as real to David as Goliath was to the army.
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