“All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
This famous declaration echoes from the Valley of Elah, where a young, anointed shepherd-king stood against a giant with no armor, no military weapon, only a sling and five smooth stones. It is an image that permeates our culture to this day. The quintessential tale of the underdog beating impossible odds. And time and again we return to this stream running through the valley, kneel next to David, and select enough courage to go and face our own giants. We draw strength from the common admonition to be as brave as David, and conquer every fear through faith.
But that is not what this story is about. It is not about us. We are not David in this narrative, mustering enough inspiration and heroism to topple the outsized circumstances that threaten to take us out. No, our place in the story is hiding behind Saul’s or David’s brother, too afraid to even step onto the battlefield.
Instead, David foreshadows another anointed Shepherd-King who will also use a peculiar and unconventional weapon to overcome the giants of sin and death. The battle belongs to him. It will not be won by sword (our strength) or spear (our strategy) but by his Spirit.
This prayer is not one of defiant boldness, but of confessed dependence. You, Lord, and you alone can win the battles we face. And, indeed, they have been won in advance. We do not dream of ascending to become the hero. We surrender to being but one small stone in your sling.
Anointed Shepherd-King, every battle we face belongs to you. We trust you to overcome the giants we cannot. We declare that the battle belongs to you.
What battles are you facing right now? What keeps you from surrendering them the Lord?
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