David: Keys to Victory
November 21, 2019
1 Samuel 17:17-19 (NKJV) 17 Then Jesse said to his son David, “Take now for your brothers an ephah of this dried grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp. 18 And carry these ten cheeses to the captain of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them.” 19 Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
We are looking at the story of David and Goliath in light of what Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:8-9. We live in a world that is also occupied by and adversary. This means we are a people at war, and we need to know how to win. In our last post, we looked at the first thing David showed in his battle with Goliath that produced victory. David ran to the battle not away from it. We cannot avoid the war between darkness and light. We must “run to the battle” as David did, knowing our God, our covenant and our weapons. Now I want to begin to look at some more things in Davids life that enabled him to win a battle against seemingly insurmountable odds.
In today’s scripture we see something that may not seem important, but it is. David’s father sent him on a mission to the battle front. He was not there because he wanted to see the fight. He was there under the authority of his father. Submission to the authorities in our lives puts us into position to win battles. Even Jesus understood this principle.
John 5:30 (NKJV) 30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
The man Jesus was God manifested in the flesh. The emphasis on he was God. Yet in this verse we see that, as a man, he only did the will of the Father who sent him. He could not do anything in himself. This is hard to understand. How could God in the flesh be limited in anyway? Nevertheless, Jesus himself says he was limited. The reason is made clear in another familiar scripture.
Matthew 8:9 (NKJV) 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
The Roman Centurion speaking in this verse had come to Jesus with a request that he heal his servant. Jesus consented and said he would come to the centurion’s house. The centurion understood a principle that most of us do not. He understood how power and authority worked. He was a Roman military officer. As such he represented the power and authority of the whole Roman state. When he gave an order, it was followed because it was Rome that gave the order. This centurion recognized the same quality in Jesus.
For many years I read this scripture incorrectly. I thought the centurion said, “I am also a man in authority” and that was why the soldiers under him obeyed. However, it says that the centurion’s claim was that he was under authority. His submission to the authority over him was what gave him power. He saw that Jesus was a man under authority and therefore, could operate in authority. The power of Rome stood behind the centurion’s word. The power of the Kingdom of God stood behind the words and actions of Jesus.
Why is this so important? The kingdom of God is a kingdom of order. It is a kingdom based on submission. The kingdom of Satan was born in rebellion. Satan, then called Lucifer, rebelled against God in heaven. He led the heavenly worship. There came a time when he began to believe he was worthy of the worship that was going to God.
Isaiah 14:12-13 (NKJV) 12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north;
Satan rebelled against God. His rebellion did not last very long. He was cast out of heaven and condemned to an eternity in what the Bible calls “the lake of fire.” Since Satan’s rule was born out of rebellion, all rebellion makes us vulnerable to his influence. Submission to proper authorities eliminates that vulnerability and opens our heart to the influence of the God to whom we ultimately submit.
It is no secret that this kind of thinking has been abused. In the guise of submitting to God, unscrupulous leaders have dominated people and led them away from God instead of to him. That does not change the principle. What we must do is understand how to safeguard ourselves from the false while walking in the true. There are some things that will help us do that. I want to look at two.
First of all, we must understand that the only one to whom we submit unconditionally is God. We are not required to submit to anything that leads us to do something that is contrary to the will and/or nature of God. Even if the person asking us to, is someone we have trusted and been submitted to in the past, we cannot submit to anything that is against what God teaches. Sometimes even good leaders make mistakes. If they are Godly, they will be open to honest questions. If they are not, they are not acting in a godly manner in that area and you are not required to submit.
How can we know if someone is asking us to do something we should not submit to? We must know the Word of God. Any leader who does not confirm what he is asking by God’s word should not be submitted to. I am not just talking about giving a chapter and verse to confirm what he is saying. That is part of it. However, it is just as important to look at the lifestyle and history of this leader. Is he or she living according to the principles in the Word? Have they demonstrated submission to the Word of God in their personal life? Is what they are asking something you could see Jesus asking or would it be out of character with the Jesus you know.
If any of these things are true you must respectfully ask for a biblical explanation. If the leader is unable or unwilling to give it, you must respectfully decline to obey until they can. If this becomes a pattern, you might need to find another leader that you can submit to more comfortably. This is never something you do lightly or quickly. Not only do leaders make mistakes, but sometimes they may know things you do not. If they are honest, approachable, kind and gentle, give them some time. If they are not, this could indicate something is wrong.
The other thing we must look at in the lives of our leaders, is do they pass the centurion’s test. Are they leading from under authority? Are they accountable to someone or are they a “lone ranger” who answers to no one? My ministry became far more effective when I found a leader to whom I could submit my life and ministry. I did not always agree with him. Many times, he would give me counsel that we had to talk about so we both would have a better understanding. In the end I decided to be under authority and receive his counsel. When I did, I found that people had very little problem submitting to me.
David went to the battle front under authority. When it came time for him to stand against Goliath, he went to the King who was the authority over the army. By the time he faced Goliath, his lifestyle of submission and righteousness had put him into position where he could not lose.
Examine your life. Are you under authority? Be careful to whom you submit. Nevertheless, find a situation that will cause you to pass the centurion’s test. This will position you to win the battles of life that face you today.