I decided to memorise David’s battle cry as he faced Goliath. As I did each word seemed to me to be an adrenalin shot of encouragement and strength in my battle to believe God for supernatural healing in the church. This is definitely not a detailed, well researched exposition, rather just my raw, spontaneous, thoughts. I have got to the bit in 1 Samuel 17:46 where David says:
“And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines” : David has more than Goliath in his sights. Similarly, Jesus did not just defeat Satan, but his army and kingdom as well. Jesus’ defeat of Satan on the cross was also a victory over every principality and power in the kingdom of darkness. It was a cast iron guarantee that one day all injustice, all sickness, every tear and every disease will be gone.
“To the birds of the air” : David pictures a scene of massive carnage, dismembering and disarray. The enemy soldiers will be stripped of their fine shiny armour and their bodies torn open to be feasted on by crows. Jeremiah prophesied this fate for those who rebelled against God (Jer 34:20). There is also a sobering passage in Isaiah that I read once and never forgot. After talking about the new heavens and the news earth, and the worship of his people, God says:
“And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.” (ESV) Isaiah 66:24 (see also Isaiah 37:36)
Jesus knew that verse well it seems (Mark 9:48). David describes vividly for Goliath and the Philistine army their ongoing destruction. Their physical death is not the end of it. The crows keep feasting, the worms keep burrowing, the fire keeps burning. God is not safe. His loving kindness flashes brightly from dark storm clouds of judgement. His grace is framed by his justice (Rom 9:23).
Goliath had threatened David with utter ongoing disgrace and destruction with this same phrase (1 Sam 17:44 ) but it turns out that he is describing his own demise. The irony in David’s reply is thick. The accusations that Satan hurls at us will one day fall on him.
“That all may know that there is a God in Israel” : God will display his power in his people. There should be a supernatural power visible in the church, not just in it’s indestructiblilty, but in the way it actively extends the kingdom of God. “These signs” says Jesus “will accompany those who believe” (ie the church) . “They will lay their hands on the sick and they will get well”. The church charges into the kingdom of darkness and brings freedom from sickness and oppression. People are healed and set free. Everyday thousands of smooth stones fly from the hands of God’s people, embedding themselves with deadly effect in the foreheads of cancer, aids, slave trading, injustice and abuse of all kinds.
“That all this assembly may know that the LORD saves”: God wants everyone to know that he saves. He wants the gospel to go out into all the earth to all people groups accompanied by a demonstration of his power in signs and wonders so that all may know that the Lord saves. God’s power and saving action is exerted in such a way as to leave no doubt that it is him at work. He doesn’t act and save invisibly but so that all may see. He confirms his word with signs and wonders, healings and miracles.
“Not with sword and spear”: When a weak boy goes up against a huge giant and wins, the victory will be attributed to God and not man. Little David and his sling show that it’s not mans’ might or wisdom but God’s power that wins the day. Of course God works through doctors and medicine as well as the powerful healing mechanisms of the human body, but he also loves to display his love and power through completely supernatural means. Satan comes against people with sickness and disease, but we come against these things with the simple laying on of hands and faith in Jesus’ name.
There is something though that no human ingenuity can fix and that is our sin. While there is a natural and supernatural way of dealing with sickness (and I am grateful to receive both) , there is only a supernatural way of dealing with sin. No amount of physical washing can remove the guilt of lying, unfaithfulness and steeling. Only a supernatural washing in the blood of Jesus can cleanse the soul of sin. Just as Jesus can say the word and heal a paralysed man, he can say the word to forgive a man of his sins (Mat 9:16).