The battle is the Lord’s (Fighting Talk part 5)

When I read David’s reply to Goliath’s threats it was like winning the jackpot. Sometimes the bible requires hard work to get at it’s truth but at other times it pours out like gold coins into your lap. In each of these posts I have attempted, without any detailed study or reading, to simply scoop out the winnings from the bottom of the passage and put it into my pockets. I could do a lot of things with them but I am going to spend them in pursuit of supernatural healing. There is plenty here so help yourself!

 

“The battle is the Lords” : The battle is not between David and Goliath but between God and the Goliath, God and the Philistines, God and the forces of darkness. It’s God’s battle. He owns it and he will win it. We join his battle. You will remember the bit in the bible where Joshua looks up and sees a man in front of him with a drawn sword. When Joshua asks him “Are you with us or our enemies?” he gets the reply “Neither, but as commander of the LORDs army I have now come”. Joshua is told to take of his sandals because the place he is standing ins holy (a la Moses and the burning bush me thinks) and then in the blink of an eye the narrative describes God as talking : “the LORD said to Joshua…“. Gideon will have a similar encounter when he sees a man and then the narrative suddenly has God speaking. Anyway, the point I want to make is that God is the one who is leading the battle against the kingdom of darkness. He is not on our side, we are on his side. When David comes against Goliath it is because God is attacking Goliath. When we pray for and command sickness to go we are joining God’s battle against it.

“He will give all of you into our hand” : This is the second time he has said this and it gives the phrase massive emphasis. Whatever things look like, however we feel, whatever fearsome troubles tower over us, God will give them into our hand. David is saying “You can mouth of all you like, you can come as fast and hard as you like, you can have as many weapons as you like, there can be as many of you as you like, but God will give you all into our hand.” I want to have that same attitude. No matter how big a problem is my reaction should be “God will deliver you into our hand”.

I think this phrase is plural ie “you” plural and “us”. I should probably look at a commentary at this point, but at the moment I am enjoying writing as it comes to me. I wonder though if it is legitimate to see something of the church here. The first time David says “God will deliver you into my hand” but this time he says “God will deliver you all into our hands” (at least in the NIV it says that). Jesus wins the battle single handed but the church fights and wins too. There is a singular and plural aspect to this battle. I was praying yesterday for the church and felt God say that the battle for healing is one that we are to fight together.

Bart dreams about beating Goliath

I remembered a Simpsons episode when all the kids stood up to a bully and he ran off. Individually we are vulnerable to being bullied by our enemy but together we can put him to flight. Each person in the church needs to be on the attach praying for people to be well so that there is no resting place for sickness among us. I did an experiment once when I tried to kill a fly. I would try to swat him but he would be too fast for me. Whenever he landed somewhere I would swat him and each time he would fly off just in time. However, as I kept doing that he got more and more tired. Eventually he ran out of energy and I got him. That is how it will be with sickness and praying for people to get well. Let’s keep going!

And that is it! What a great few verses. If you interested in what happend next, here are the next few verses:

When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. And the people of Israel came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp. And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent. (ESV) 1 Sam 17:48-54

Goliath never knew what hit him. David’s words had substance to them because they were filled with faith. It wasn’t just a pebble that floored Goliath, it was the weighty hand of God made manifest by faith. Faith can move mountain and it can slay giants. I don’t know about you but I’m off to pick a fight!

Bird food (Fighting Talk part 4)

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).

This day (Fighting Talk part 3)

Goliath was in way over his head and he didn’t even know it. He looked down on David but he failed to look up to heaven and so the last few seconds of his life began counting down.

I am enjoying looking at David’s response to Goliath’s threats as recorded in 1 Sam 17:45-49. These few choice words turned out to be the last that Goliath ever heard as shortly after a small round stone embedded itself in his forehead, ending his life.

“This day” : David says this again in the next verse about the fate of the whole philistine army. He is not looking way into the future; the time is now. This is the day! I need to have a sense of “this day”. Yes God does work over time and his ways are perfect and there is a “now and not yet” but we need a “this day” in our spirits too! One day God’s people will have eternal resurrection bodies but “this day” God will heal the sick. God’s kingdom may be “now and not yet” but we are to pray the first bit, not the second. We don’t pray “not yet God” we cry out “your kingdom come now”!

“The Lord will deliver you into my hand”: He will give you to me. He will make you prone before me. He will bind you and put you in my power. God heals the sick, but he uses us. He delivers sickness into our hand. It is not his usual way of working to heal supernaturaly without involving his people in the victory.  He is like a mother cat bringing home wounded pray to train her kittens in hunting and killing. We are destined to rule and even now God trains us for the throne. He will deliver sickness and oppression over to us to deal with.

“And I will strike you down”: We get to deliver the killer blow! God delivers our foes into our hands and we get to crush them under our feet. We make the strike. We say the words. We exercise the faith. We wield the name. “in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Walk” (Acts 3).

“And cut of your head”: This speaks of decisive victory. The utter ruin and demise of Goliath. There is no coming back after your body has been separated from your head. Goliath is not going to get up again. Such was the victory that Jesus had over Satan on the cross. He crushed his head. The words “Game over” are growing ever larger over the kingdom of darkness.

If God played battleships (Fighting Talk part 2)

I have been massively encouraged by David’s response to Goliath’s threats, particularly as they relate to battling against sickness and disease. He starts, in 1 Sam 17:45 by saying:

“you come to me” – You Think you have the initiative here? You think that I am in trouble? You think that your weapons can harm me? Oh, you have a big spear and shield and javelin but you have no idea what you have done or what is actually going on here.

Sickness and disease do not have the initiative. God is sovereign over all things and he alone rules over the events of history. He hates Satan, and evil and sin and sickness and will destroy them all, but they do, never the less, play an unwitting role in his plans and purposes.

What some intend for evil God intends for good. Ultimately he is not responding to Satan’s moves like an adversary in a chess game. He is not simply a better player, or a stronger opponent. There is no measure that can be put to God such that we might say “so and so is here on the scale and God is there on the scale”. He is not 1000 times more intelligent or powerful than Satan. His power and intelligence are infinite and of another degree or order entirely. He knows every thought that anyone has ever or will ever think. He works out his plans in full knowledge of what everyone will do.

If God was playing battle ships he would not only know where each of his opponents ships were but where all their bombs would land as well. The bible even says that he can direct our wills in the direction and to the ends that he pleases (prov 21:1). The closest I can get to understanding that is that God could actually direct your will towards choosing a particular grid reference in battle ships without himself being morally responsible for the consequences or even being happy about your choice and in fact still holding you accountable for your choice!  I’m sure thats a very crude and clumsy analogy and I feel like it misses something key, but it seems to be almost what the bible is pointing towards. The bible reveals a God who can can channel an evil will towards a particular  evil action that plays a key role in his plans without himself being in any way being morally culpable for it (Acts 4:25-28). “You come to me?” says David. You have no idea who God is, what he is like and what he is doing.

“with sword and spear and javelin” – These weapons are simply not sufficient. It’s like Goliath is running towards a modern day tank armed only with 1st century equipment. The purposes of God and the people of God are unstoppable. One version of the bible puts it like this: “no weapon forged against you shall prosper”. The does not exist not shall there ever exist a weapon that can destroy the church. People and even nations have tried and failed. They have thrown everything they had at the church and she has only grown stronger under the onslaught.

“But I come to you” – You have got everything the wrong way round. It’s not you that comes to me, says David, it’s me that comes to you. I am not defending  myself, you’re the one under attack. You are the one who is on the back foot. You are the one way out of your league. When we see sickness and oppression Satan is putting his head over the parapet to be shot at by those who are waiting for him. Those with God given weapons of the Spirit and the authority and courage to wield them. God has set an ambush ready in the form of his spirit filled church. We are to be like marksmen that lie in wait for the first signs of trouble.

“in the name of the Lord of Hosts” : And it’s not simply me that’s coming against you says David. I come in the name of God, and all his power and might is now arrayed against you. His army is bigger and more powerful than the one you see behind me. His power and might is beyond your comprehension. Before you is not a young boy, but the strong arm of the LORD. The hosts of heaven are arrayed against you, you silly little man! You are about to be totally overpowered.

Does God want to heal? Yes. Can he heal? Yes. So when we pray in his name, people will get well. It’s not me, its God who will defeat the giants of cancer and MS and arthritis, and heart disease.

Ant bully

“Whom you have defied” : You have defied God’s army and in doing so you have defied God!!! In your ignorance you have blundered into something you know nothing about. You are like a boy who delighted in burning ants with his magnifine glass,  but now finds himself shrunk down to their size. The tables have turned and boy are you in trouble now.

Men and women are made in God’s image and are precious to him. Satan failed to dethrone God so now he  goes after God’s people instead. He does some awful things, one of which is to make them ill. Now, it’s one thing to attack a Father but quite another to go after his children. You may think you are wise in going for the softer target, but you are bringing a far greater wrath down upon yourself. God will respond to any attack on his children with everlasting and ongoing destruction. Day and night for all eternity his anger will burn against the one who defied his precious people.

Facing down the giants of sickness and disease (Fighting Talk part 1)

Disorientating shells of sickness and disease are still landing around me as I continue to believe God for supernatural healing. Giants of cancer, MS, and crippling headaches shout defiantly against God and his word. This cannot go on! They stand on the other side of the valley hurling their blood curdling threats at us hoping to instill fear in the ranks. “I stand against you and your silly thoughts of healing! I challenge you to stand against me. No one can beat me, I am stronger than any of you. See how the years have gone by and still no change! “. I feel like David who, if he felt fear at all, was totally given over to a deep sense of outrage that God’s people should be challenged in such a way. With a burning holy indignation he steps onto the battle field and puts himself in play. Picking up a few stones from a stream he moves in on the giant.

David didn’t go looking for trouble he just came across it while delivering cheese! I am not looking for ill people but they are all around me. In fact I am not well myself.  Turn on the TV or simply talk to people and you will see these giants scaring and oppressing people. It’s easy to see why some reject God as good or powerful when there is so much evil around. Every day I read the newspapers I cry out to God for his mercy and justice to prevail; that he would rescue the oppressed and stop the oppressors. (On a good day I might even ask for mercy for the bad guys.)

Goliath must have been a fearsome sight. What he said would have been very very scary. Think of the times you have been intimated by someone. In the play ground, in the street,  or at work. With Goliath stomping around the Israelite army may have wondered if God was really with them. Where was their their giant , their hero, their champion?

Well, he would come years later. He would not be anything impressive to look at or have any amour or swords but he would step forward and defeat our greatest and most fearful enemy. The story of David and Goliath is not untimely about David or Goliath, but about Jesus who defeated Satan and put his army to flight when he died on the cross. With that key perspective in pace, I think though that we can also see some helpful lessons for us in terms of supernatural healing.

In this series of blogs I will draw them out by looking at what David says in response to Goliath’s threats:

And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” (ESV) 1 Sam 17:41-44

How Satan must have laughed at Jesus when he became a man who could bleed and die. “Come to me” he must have said “and I will whip the skin of your body and nail you to a tree.” And that’s exactly what happened. But it wasn’t the end of the story, or Jesus for that matter. David points forward to Jesus who commission’s us to do what he did. In the next blogs in this series I will look at David’s reply to Goliaths threats and get his “fighting talk” into my spirit.