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Thursday, July 29, 2021
"The Battle Belongs To The Lord"
Message summary: Self-assurance and self-sufficiency will ultimately lead to self-defeat. But steadfast trust in Almighty God and the acknowledgment that apart from Him we are powerless will lead us to ultimate victory! What "swords" do you have that are a reminder of God's power and help? Remember, the battle belongs to the Lord!
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"David asked Ahimelek, 'Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent.' The priest replied, 'The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one.' David said, 'There is none like it; give it to me'" (1 Samuel 21:8,9). "And then all this assembly will know that it is not by sword and spear that the Lord saves. For the battle belongs to the Lord, and He will give you into our hands" (1 Samuel 17:47).
When we travel we inevitably eat at a Cracker Barrel or two. They are usually along the interstates with large signs beckoning you or is it the row of rocking chairs and long pews situated on their front porch? Cracker Barrel is an American restaurant chain based in Lebanon, Tennessee. Regardless of where you are they don't ever seem much different with the covered porch and rocking chairs out front. However, a note of caution. In our observations the men's restroom is usually on the left side as you face it but we were in one where it was on the right. Years ago I heard a story of a man who was accustomed to it being on the left but not paying attention walked into the ladies!
Cracker Barrels serve southern style comfort food which we both enjoy. To get to the restaurant you always have to walk through the gift shop which is an interesting sales tactic! Another feature are the antique Americana artifacts that decorate the walls and hang from the ceiling in each store with an average of 1,000 pieces of décor in every Cracker Barrel.
We drove by Lebanon Tennessee where they have their headquarters and a large warehouse (sadly for us not open for touring) that has approximately 90,000 pieces of authentic Americana in storage for placement in their stores. There are now an accumulative 700,000 pieces on display in their stores. All items are originals – there are no reproductions. These decorations create a sense of nostalgia, especially as you get older which contributes to the Cracker Barrel vibe.
"Nostalgia" is a sentimentality for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. "Reminisce" implies a casual often nostalgic recalling of experiences long past and gone. But a consideration of the past can also give us strength for current and future challenges.
Even those who are nominally Biblically literate are usually familiar with the story of David and Goliath, which resulted in David’s great victory over the 9' giant Goliath and the trophy sword he recovered from his opponent. The entire story is found in 1 Samuel 17.
But our first daily text records an interesting event that happened sometime after the famous battle took place. Following the battle David became a hero, more popular in the eyes of the people than King Saul, which caused Saul to go into an uncontrollable jealous rage.
Most of the latter chapters of 1 Samuel record David fleeing from Saul as he invariably pursued him day after day. It was a very despairing time and this led David to record his physical, emotional and spiritual battles which are revealed in several of the Psalms. We often find ourselves turning to these very Psalms when we too are dealing with battles of one sort or another.
In today’s Bible portion David is in need of a weapon. He asked Ahimelek, "Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon, because the king’s mission was urgent."
Ahimelech the priest, for some unspecified reason, had Goliath’s massive sword wrapped in a cloth. "The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it; there is no sword here but that one". When I read this I sort of imagine a room similar to the old Cracker Barrel where peculiar treasures from the past are stored, such as Goliath's giant sword!
You can imagine just how enormous and heavy Goliath's sword must have been weighing 600 shekels, about 15 lbs. By contrast a normal long sword usually weighs between 2½ lbs. to 4½ lbs. at the very most. But David said, "There is none like it; give it to me". He surely remembered that it was a sword like no other!
But what practical purpose did David have in mind for this massive sword? It seems rather unlikely he would use it as a weapon given its size, although it’s certainly possible. He may have had some other utilitarian use for it or perhaps he intended to recycle the metal!
In considering this I wonder if David’s interest is not a practical use, but a powerful reminder, a visual object lesson, of God’s help during a past major conflict. If he just held that sword up to his current opponents they would have been reminded of David's victory over Goliath! After all, even before the encounter he said, "The battle belongs to the Lord".
Humanly speaking young David was no match for the mighty Goliath. He knew that. But he was relying on God for the victory. His great battle cry had been, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (1 Samuel 17:45). The huge sword of Goliath was a tangible reminder and evidence of God’s help in a time of great need.
Self-assurance and self-sufficiency will ultimately lead to defeat. But steadfast trust in Almighty God and the acknowledgment that apart from Him we are powerless will lead us to ultimate victory. What "swords" do you have that are a reminder of God's power and help? Remember, the battle belongs to the Lord!
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, You provided David with supernatural courage, strength, and skill to defeat the boastful bully of a giant, Goliath. That huge sword was a reminder to David of Your help in a time of great need. Remind us of past victories in our own personal lives and those of others in Scripture and in modern history to give us strength and faith as we face today’s battles. Nothing in ourselves will defeat the enemies we face, but “with God all things are possible.” Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"The Battle Belong To The Lord" Video Maranatha! Music
"Praise The Lord" Video Russ Taff
"Battle Belongs" Video Shane & Shane
On the way back from our trip we enjoyed a couple of days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
We enjoyed a meal at the Old Mill Restaurant in Pigeon Forge, which has become our favorite when we are in that area. These pecan pies are stacked up like pancakes with many others in the pie cases! You can see why we like pecans since this is a "healthy nut diet" for folks in the south.
We never weary of a trip to Cades Cove, one of the most popular sections of the park, with over 2,000,000 annual visitors to the cove alone. According to National Park Service stats, the Great Smoky Mountains is the busiest national park in the entire U.S., and it's not even close. The Smokies saw over 12 million visitors in 2020. See here. It was sure busy when we were there and the foothill towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg were packed.
This is the John Oliver cabin. Brooksyne was the right height for this cabin - I was not!
Admittedly not the best photo but while on the loop road through Cades Cove we saw this bear crossing ahead of us.
We hiked on several of the park's trails and spotted this snake. We thought it was a Copperhead although Google image search identifies it as a python! (see here)
We were not interested in many of the shows but we did attend the Lumberjack Feud which was next door to our hotel. It was quite a show of athleticism and strength.
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