1 Samuel 17:32-37 (NKJV) 32 Then David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
1 Samuel 17:29 (NKJV) 29 And David said, “What have I done now? Is there not a cause?”
Today we are going to look at another characteristic in David’s life that put him in position for victory. When Eliab criticizes David for his willingness to take on the giant, he asks a very important question. “Is there not a cause?” In today’s world I am afraid we have lost this idea, at least in the church. Remember what David was about to do. He was going to go against an enemy many times his size and many times his strength. We will look at David’s source of confidence later, but that does not change the fact that he was human. Viewed strictly in terms of the natural possibilities, David could not win. The consequence for losing was not a mark in the loss column of life. If he went against Goliath and lost, he would die! There was no other possible outcome. Yet he was willing to do it. Why? There was a cause!
In David’s time the cause was the preservation of Israel as a nation. The long-term ramifications involved the birth of the Messiah that would save the world. In David’s eyes, the reward of victory, both personal and historical, was worth the risk. Is there such a cause to fight for today? I believe there is.
Our cause is the same and yet very different. In David’s battle against Goliath, the opposition was right in front of him visible to all. The objective was clear. Defeat Goliath and give Israel victory over the invading Philistines. When that is the case, it is easier to take up the cause and make the necessary sacrifices. Today, at least in the western world, this is not the case. The cause is not at all vague in the spirit nor in the Word. However, it is not so clear in the natural. We do not generally feel threatened personally. We know that God wants to bring more of his children into his family. We know that there are eternal consequences for those who do not receive Jesus as Lord and we know that we have been commissioned to take the gospel to them. That said, there is no perceived threat to our own lives.
David believed in the cause of God. It is really the same cause for which we fight today. In his case he was fighting for the manifestation of the cross. He was working to bring the messiah into the world, though he had no idea that was the case. We look back at the cross. Jesus, the Messiah, has come. He has died and been raised from the dead. We have received him as our Lord and savior and because of this our future and our destiny is no longer under the control of the kingdom of darkness. We will live forever in the presence of our glorious God and Savior. There are countless billions of people in the world who have not received the salvation that those who are born again enjoy.
What is our cause? Jesus gave us the great commission. It begins there.
Matthew 28:18-20 (NKJV) 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
According to John 17, Jesus sent us into the world just as the Father sent him into the world. Our cause is to make disciples out of every nation on earth. It is to save people from being dominated by the kingdom of darkness in their current life and more importantly to rescue them from eternal separation from God. This is very real and those who are truly saved by the blood of Jesus know it, but it is hard to see when life is just happening all around us and the concerns of our daily life seem so much more pressing. That is why Jesus says what he does in Matthew Chapter 6.
Matthew 6:31-33 (NKJV) 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
There are those who seem to think actively believing God’s many promises that he will take care of us is somehow wrong or selfish. On the contrary, it is necessary for us to believe his promises of provision. We need to know we will be taken care of when we seek first the Kingdom and its cause.
Matthew 16:18 (NKJV) 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
This tells us the purpose of our cause and an important insight into how we are to fight for it. Jesus tells his disciples that he is going to build his church on the rock of what Peter received by revelation. That rock is not Peter himself. It is the knowledge revealed by God that Jesus is “the Christ, the son of the living God.” Jesus makes a promise to his church. He tells us the gates of hell cannot prevail against us. To some this means we can live in protection against those gates. That goes against the nature of what Gates do.
In many parts of the world people are forced to live behind walls and gates. This is often because of crime and lawlessness. When we are at our base in Kenya, there is a gate on the driveway to the compound. There is a gate on the front porch. There is a door to the house. There is even a gate that separates the upstairs from the downstairs. They are all locked and each must be opened and relocked every time we come or go. What is the purpose of all these gates? It is to keep people out.
The gates of hell are not offensive weapons. The gates of hell are defensive weapons. They are meant to keep the church of Jesus Christ out. Out of where? Out of the domains controlled by the kingdom of darkness. This kingdom still controls the world and the people who have not been set free by the blood of Jesus. People are behind those gates. Your unsaved family members are behind those gates. The people of your community are behind those gates. Our cause is to storm those gates with prayer, worship, faith and our testimony so we can rescue as many as possible before our individual lives end and before Jesus comes again.
There is a cause set before us. There is a reason for your life and mine beyond simply living a good life. There are risks to taking up the challenge, but the rewards are far greater than the risks. If we know how to operate in our covenant by faith, the risks are negligent. However, the risk of not taking up the challenge is that we will be eternally responsible for many people never coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
In the book of Acts, that was the most important thing in life. In many parts of the world people are dying for taking up this challenge. I thank God that we in the west are generally not facing physical death for preaching the gospel. That does not make the cause any less real nor less important to our God and savior. Ask God, “Am I taking up the challenge. Do I really understand the cause?” If the answer is no, do not give in to condemnation. God will help you, but we need to make a decision today to be like David and take up the cause. When he did many people followed him. The same will happen when we take up the cause of Christ.