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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

Fighting and Winning

"Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you.."

(1 Samuel 17:45-46a)


When Saul found himself experiencing an uneasiness of soul due to a strong disturbance caused by an "evil spirit" (1 Samuel 16), a servant suggested a boy who could play for him: a son of Isai, a good player, but who was also a strong man, valiant, good-looking, and above all, Scripture declares that "the LORD was with him" (v. 18). David is chosen because he is preceded by his own testimony. Beyond what others may say, I believe it is always the Spirit who proposes and disposes "as he wills," arousing and animating in ways unknown to us. Although he was "strong and valiant," he was excluded from the battle against the Philistines (1 Samuel 17), relegated to the house with his father and flocks. For forty days continuous threats came from Goliath, who demanded a one-on-one confrontation. The number forty has a strongly representative value; it is mentioned in various situations and in all of them it represents a difficulty to be faced and announces a change. So it was that after forty days and forty nights Isai sent David to the battle site to bring provisions to his brothers. Upon reaching the field, he heard Goliath's threatening words toward the king and his army and was deeply shaken. After forty days the Spirit was awakening someone so that they would change events.

The elder brother, Elijah, who was not enthusiastic about his descent into the field, insulted him by accusing him of pride and malice (v. 28). I am reminded of the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son. No one will be able to stop those who are driven by the hand of God. Saul, learning that there was one willing to fight against Goliath, called him and asked for an explanation (v. 32). To see God's kingdom advance, we must offer ourselves, coming out into the open without any qualms. As a general and a father, the king sought to protect the boy's life, just as any good servant would do today toward the ranks of those prepared to serve the LORD. Indeed, he stripped off his armor and gave it to him (v. 32). This, however, proved too great: we cannot put on the clothes or name of others, but must be ourselves, for otherwise we run the risk of appearing false or clumsy. Why be copies? We are originals, we are authentic. The boy undressed, took his staff and, going to the river there, picked up five stones. The collected stones could represent the ability, possibility and potential in serving. They will not all be useful at the same time, but we will use them in the course of life alternately, according to circumstances.

Brother had not been enough. Once in the field he was despised even by Goliat (v. 42) "because he was a boy, tawny of hair and good-looking." In the same way it happens to us to be despised when we are motivated, resourceful and full of desire; the enemy thus seeks to annihilate what God wants to use. David had the peculiarity of reddish hair, which made him different from others. While the enemy uses our differences to make us feel inferior, the Lord uses them as a distinguishing element from others and as our peculiar strength. He can take what others despise to show His wisdom. David did not react to the scorn, but responded with faith and determination using the words of the opening verse. The one who cares to serve God does not do so to receive praise or some gain. He has in his eyes and heart the One he serves, the Most High God, to whom he has surrendered his life. The outcome of the confrontation and the end of the Philistine are known to all. After the battle, Saul asks David for the family details, as if he did not know who he was. This often happens even in large communities, where it escapes many presenters to know thoroughly those who serve. In spite of this, our choice is to serve the Lord and take care of the advancement of His kingdom; this must be our one and only interest and not to be known and praised by other human beings. Good fight: "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses" (1 Timothy 6:12).




Weekly Bible Reading Plan # 08

February 19, Leviticus 25; Mark 1:23-45

February 20, Leviticus 26-27; Mark 2

February 21, Numbers 1-2; Mark 3:1-19

February 22, Numbers 3-4; Mark 3:20-35

February 23, Numbers 5-6; Mark 4:1-20

February 24, Numbers 7-8; Mark 4:21-41

February 25, Numbers 9-11; Mark 5:1-20

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