God works through his Word to create faith in the hearts of unbelievers.
His Word is like a weapon used in warfare. It cuts like a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12) and explodes like dynamite (Romans 1:16).
One of the greatest weapons ever used in the Bible is a profound example for believers who unleash the power of his Word by proclaiming it to others.
In 1 Samuel 17, the Israelites were fighting against a strong, overpowering Philistine army. They were using conventional wisdom to employ familiar battle strategies and weapons.
And they were getting hammered for it.
Then along came a little brother by the name of David who was aghast at the lack of courage he saw from his brothers on the front lines. They had lost their trust in God’s hand and forgotten that the Israelites can only receive victory over their enemies through the power of God.
Fear transferred to terror when a Philistine giant by the name of Goliath came out to taunt, challenge, and ridicule the Israelite soldiers. David had enough.
“[He] said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and speak and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled. …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. (1 Samuel 17:45, 47)
With one smooth stone and a slingshot, the Lord used this weapon to strike down the giant and lead his people to victory.
How did David conquer the Philistine giant?
- He used tools that he was already familiar with to engage the enemy and the Lord took care of the rest.
- He knew where to place his trust.
David grew up learning to utilize a slingshot to protect his flock of sheep from the constant threat of predators. He knew where to place his trust when he confronted powerful animals. From experience, he knew that God was not going to let him down when he confronts giants in the name of the Lord Almighty.
SLINGSHOTS OR SILENCE
The world today taunts believers like giants.
The battle against sin, the devil, and man’s contrary nature to God is difficult and overpowering.
And this effects our courage to proclaim the gospel.
Conventional wisdom prompts believers to read helpful books and articles to learn what they can say to have a spiritual discussion with unbelievers. But let’s be honest. Many of us are like David’s brothers in the Israelite army. We are choosing to remain in the trenches, because we are too intimidated to engage the enemy.
It doesn’t matter what conventional outreach strategies are being employed or evangelism techniques that are taught. Well-meaning believers are remaining silent and the Christian church is getting hammered for it.
Whether Christian believers know it or not, they are on the front lines of a cosmic battle with eternal consequences. God’s primary strategy to win the lost centers upon Christians to bring the message of salvation to others. The enemy always wins when Christians keep the gospel message to themselves.
I think David would be aghast if he saw us trembling in the trenches.
Believers can take confidence that God adequately preserves the faithful with the full armor of God to protect them from the enemy. In the same way, God equips the saints to take the offense and proclaim the gospel.
It’s not that conventional weapons don’t work when delivering a gospel message, but that they are not being used.
David had the right idea. If he could use a slingshot to conquer the enemy, perhaps Christians can utilize the same approach to conquer our giants that keep us from doing the work God is asking us to do. (John 9:4)
Here are two key thoughts:
- Believers already know how to use slingshots.
Like David, many believers have grown up in the church. They have remaining in his grace through the power of his Word and sacrament. They know the message of the cross. They already know the gospel message and able to share it with others.
“The weapons we fight with are not weapons of this world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
A believer’s slingshot is the power of his Word and it is always at their disposal.
- Believers already know where to place their trust.
Faithful believers trust God and his promises. He has a perfect track record in keeping them.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Goliath laughed when he saw the slingshot. The world mocks the Truth, too.
No matter how foolish it may seem, trusting God’s promises is the secret to a believer’s strength.
With the same confidence that David had when he was twirling the stone over his head, a believer can have the same confidence in providing a short reason for the hope they have in Christ.
Conquering giants only come from the hand of God.
Trusting his presence and the power in his Word provides confidence for a believer to step out in faith to share their faith with others.