Fighting Words, But No Fight
David arrived at the camp just as the Israelite army was leaving for the battlefield with shouts and battle cries. – 1 Samuel 17:20b (NLT)
Young David arrived at the battlefield of Elah just in time to witness the mighty march of fighting spirit among the Israelite soldiers. He’d been sent by his father Jesse to bring food to his older brothers, who were enlisted among the fighting men of Israel’s army.
But soon after the boisterous battle cries, Isrrael’s army stood facing their enemies, the Philistines. And not one Israelite soldier had the courage to step into the battlefield and fight the Philistine champion, Goliath. Not one.
Perhaps the Israelite soldiers were so anticipating the group confrontation of traditional warfare, that when they discovered it to be a one-to-one combat against a giant, their fighting strategy stalled and their fighting zeal deflated. Many battles in life are forfeited because of failure to adapt new strategy and because not many of us are willing to fight alone.
Or the Israelite’s fighting reluctance could’ve been due to their calculated risk assessment. When they weighed Goliath’s prospects of victory in battle against each of their own, they found the odds to be decisively against them.
So, despite their previous display of fighting zeal, not one soldier of Israel was willing to fight when it was time to fight. Not one soldier thought he could win.
But what about not just fighting to win, but fighting because even if you lose, the battle is worth it?
What about fighting for principles that will not win a popular vote?
What about fighting for the rights of those who have no vote because they live on the margins of privilege and power and politics?
What about fighting for the truth of the One who was condemned to die on a cross of infamy?
Lord, when the fight is worth it, help me to never surrender to defeat. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.