Built For The Battle

 

Foundation Scripture: 1 Samuel 17

Topical Scripture: 1 Samuel 17:31-36

 

31When the words which David spoke were heard, they told them to Saul, and he sent for him.  32David said to Saul, “(AI)Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; (AJ)your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”  33Then Saul said to David, “(AK)You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.”  34But David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock,  35I went out after him and attacked him, and (AL)rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.  36“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.”  37And David said, “(AM)The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine ” And Saul said to David, “(AN)Go, and may the LORD be with you.” (1 Samuel 17:31-36 NASB)

 

The battle will come; of this we can be certain. No amount of maneuvering will allow any of us to circumvent the realities of this life. We will each face our share of battles in this spiritual warfare. The question then becomes not if, but when; and if when, will we be ready when the battle comes? Through elucidation, the question simply is: Are you built for the battle? When the enemy engages you on the battlefield of life, will you be prepared to stand? When you are faced with the harsh realities of the battle that lies ahead, will you stand in unwavering confidence or will you crumble under the pressure? We are not promised a euphoric life of ease; in fact, we are told on more than one occasion that the storm will come. We are told that there will be trials and tribulations. When it comes to the day of the battle will you be able to say with a certain level of imperiousness, “I’m built for this!”

I pray fervently each day for each one of you; that at the day of battle, you will be able to stand up, square your shoulders, look the enemy in the eye and say, “I’m built for this.”

I’m built for this; this is more than a simple of statement of confidence. It is a state of mind; a state of being; a place in life when the Christian gains stability by recalling the doctrine resident in his soul conjoined with the memories of God’s divine intervention in times past. In this they find they have been prepared for this very thing they must now endure.

As we approach our scriptural text, we find a man or should I say boy who was definitely built for the battle. David was a man known for his valor, and it all began with him slaying Goliath, the giant that defied the army of the living God. We all know the story of David and Goliath. We were told this story as kids, but what about the story behind the glory?

By the time David met Goliath he had already been anointed as Soul’s replacement as Israel’s next king. For a detailed account you can read 1 Samuel Chapter 16. Being anointed is only a part of David’s preparation for the battle that lay ahead. Being anointed by Samuel with the anointing oil was actually semantic symbolism of the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to accomplish that which David had been called [elected] by God to do. It is immensely important that when performing certain rituals, we are aware of its symbolic inference. Here it is not the oil, but what the oil symbolizes. Sometime we become so engrossed in sacrament and ritual, that we lose sight of the truth that the ritual represents; I digress. David has been anointed. Being anointed is the empowerment to fulfill your designed destiny, but being anointed and being aware of that anointing are two different things.

In order to face any particular task, one must have confidence. Confidence is the knowledge or cognizance of one’s ability to accomplish a specific task. Confidence is an understanding of one’s capabilities in a given area. Confidence is the endogenous source that produces efficacious results.

David was “built for the battle”, pervaded with confidence. As we move forward, we will find the source of this confidence and with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will tap into the source as we ourselves, become “built for the battle”.

We will begin this study with David having been sent out to the battlefield by his father to take food rations to his brothers and to bring a report of their condition to their father. When David arrives, he hears Goliath, the Philistine warrior, shouting insults at the army of Israel. I’m not sure what astounded David more, the insults of Goliath or the fear of the Israelites. Let’s look at verse 26:

26Then David spoke to the men who were standing by him, saying, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?” (NSAB)

David inquires into what will be done for whoever kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel. He wants to know who this uncircumcised Philistine thinks he is, defying the armies of the Living God. It is important to take notice that David indentifies with Israel, but more importantly, he identifies with God. It is not that Goliath has disrespected the army of Israel in itself, but that the army of Israel belonged to the one true and living God!

It was never about David nor was it about Israel; it was always about God. This must be taken to mind as we move through this ethereal journey of Christianity.

28Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned against David and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your insolence and the wickedness of your heart; for you have come down in order to see the battle.” (NASB)

In verse 28, we see Eliab’s envy revealed. As the oldest of Jessie’s sons, he had been passed over by God to be King. God had said, in essence, that though his outward appearance was stately and imposing, inwardly he was deficient in the qualities necessary to be king of Israel. In other words, he looked the part. He even fooled Samuel, but he was deficient where it mattered most. It is obvious by his reaction that he has not quite gotten over the disappointment. There are always going to be haters. Those who for whatever reason can’t stand to see you succeed and prosper. We must never become engrossed or consumed with concerned over those who wish for or seek our demise. They are placed there by the enemy [Satan] as a distraction, but God will use them as an instrument of preparation and elevation. As we will soon see, the battle is the Lord’s.

Let us move on to the meat of the message. We find in verse 31 that someone reported David’s words back to Saul and Saul sent for David. It may be worth pointing out that Saul and David already have a brief history. Once the anointing left Soul, he became restless and could not sleep, because he was troubled in his sleep. David was a good harpist and Saul brought him in to play for him so that his soul could be soothed and he could rest. David did such a good job that Saul made him his armor bearer.

Now this young boy tells his king basically, tell everyone not to worry, I’ve got this. Verse 33 reveals a great deal about why David would eventually replace Saul as king. Saul had failed to view the situation though the lens of divine viewpoint. He was seeing the situation through a humanistic paradigm. Saul tells David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth (NASB).” Yet, David’s response was inundated with doctrinal viewpoint. It is apropos in this spiritual warfare that we avoid viewing our situations and circumstances through secular paradigms. David did not see things as Saul saw them, he saw God in the midst of the situation. David was built for the battle and he was about to reveal how.

“Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” (1 Sam. 17:34-36 NKJV)

In the original Hebrew text, “keep his father’s sheep” carried the literal meaning of “kept on keeping” his father’s sheep. This illuminates that David was not a part time shepherd. He spent more time with the sheep than he did in the house with his family. It becomes easy to see where David gets his endurance and perseverance. I’m sure there were many cold nights and many hot days. Yet, David kept on keeping his father’s sheep. How many of you are willing to keep on keeping?

In verse 35 David explains to Saul that in defense of his father’s sheep he had killed both, lion and bear; and that this Philistine giant would be no different. David, in essence, was saying, “I’m built for this.” We too, as we face the vicissitudes of life must stand with an unrelenting certainty and say, “I’m built for this.” The dark clouds of disappointment may be hovering over my head, but “I’m built for this!” My so called friends have forsaken me, but “I’m built for this.” Just as David, we too have been built for the battle. There is one very important point I must reveal here: David was not pervaded with a subjective arrogance or an inflated ego, but he was immersed in an implacable confidence in God’s ability and willingness to guarantee victory.

This was never about David it was always about God as I stated earlier. Both in verse26 and verse 36, David refers to Goliath as an uncircumcised Philistine. Where is the relevance in the fact that Goliath was uncircumcised? Circumcision was a mark of God’s chosen people. By stating that Goliath was not circumcised, David was illuminating the fact that a man, not of God, was defying God’s chosen people. It was an abomination. David was not defending himself nor the Israelites, but the honor of God.

It is my prayer that if you gain nothing else from this message, you acquire a keen awareness of the source of David’s Strength. For we all will have our giants we must face. Some will face the Giant of addiction. Others will face the giant of relational atrophy and yet, still others will face the nightmares of uncertainty. However, as Christians, we must face these difficulties with the calm assurance that we are built for this. Lamentations 3:21 says:

“But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation: (AMP)

We recall the power of God displayed in our lives in times past. We recall the Bible doctrine we have stored in our soul. The old folks, in the midst of difficult moments would say, “He did not bring me this far to leave me.” This was based both, on the Word in their heart and their experiential observation.

When I look back over my life, I realize that all the heartache, every disappointment, and every struggle was preparing me for this moment and this moment is preparing me for the next. Psalm 34:19 says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all. There is no coincidence that David wrote this psalm. When the burdens of life become unbearable, when the forces of evil are pressing me down, I recall the victories of my past, I take a stand and declare “I’m built for this”.

I didn’t come here to tell you there would be no storms, but I did come to tell you that you can make it through the storm. God has not brought you this far to turn around and leave you. Stare the enemy square in the eyes and declare “I’m built for this”.

Feeling lost and alone, I’m built for this.

The enemy on every side, I’m built for this.

My friends have become my accusers, but I’m built for this.

I’m built for the persecution. I’m built for the battle. I’m built for the pressure. Look the enemy in the eye and tell him, “No weapon formed against me will prosper.”  Hatred won’t prosper. Sickness won’t prosper. Marital strife won’t prosper. Financial disarray will not prosper. Standing alone in my moments of weakness will not prosper. For God has promised never to leave me nor forsake. Give God the glory and praise. I declare and decree into your live right now, that as you stand in faith you will emerge from this trial in triumph. You will walk out of this battle with your hands up! Your perseverance will be rewarded with promotion.

It is rough for many of you right now as you face the toughest trial you have ever faced, but know that God is in the midst of the struggle and he is saying, “ Be still and know that I am God.” He is saying, “There is power in the hands of those that trust me. You are now standing on threshold of your breakthrough. Praise your way though. I dare you! He awesome power of God is about to lift you beyond the pain of the moment. Praise God!

May you be richly blessed!

Sincerely,

Bishop Rick Wallace

Author: The Invisible Father: Reversing the Curse of a Fatherless Generation

RWM SERMON- 04-29-09 No Cross No Crown

Bishop Rick Wallace

“And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me.” (Matt. 10:38)

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer.  Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation, ten days.  Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Rev. 2:10)

This is not one of those feel good, tell me everything is going to be alright, sermons.  This not an attempt to coddle you or hold your hand.  I am reaching out in the hopes of shocking you into a state of lucidity as it pertains to a certain spiritual truth – “No Cross, No Crown”!

No Cross; No Crown, unfortunately this term has become anachronistic, archaic and even cliche`-ish; used on a whim with no force.  This term has, without question lost its substance, its meaning, and its motivational influence.  Some believers speak it and others hear it oft quoted, but the persuasive force that once incapsulated this term is no longer present.  In the late 1600’s English Quaker, William Penn sat down at his desk under the lantern light and penned No Cross; No Crown, it was then that the term carried weight, it was heartfelt, it encompassed the true meaning and purpose of this ethereal journey of Christianity, but most consequential was its motivational force.  It prompted the believer to stand up and press forward.  It brought with it a vehement sense of urgency.  It stirred the heart and soul of those within earshot to be about the Father’s business.

As time has progressed, the Christian has become both, arrogant and self centered; we have become lazy and unpurposed; we have retreated to a life of desire and comfort.  We have forgotten the mandate of Christ to take up the cross. We seek the rewards and benefits associated with a life we have yet to live.  The Christian has become detached from reality at illusionistic depths; far beyond the illusions of the drug addict, beyond any preconceived notion of the drug dealer, far beyond those we have the audacity to look down upon.  Instead of embracing the “cross” we have fled from it -to a life of ease, yet, absent of reward.

We have fallen victim to philosophical teachings that are not founded in scripture; teachings of self-help, self-determination and making our own way.  Worldviews such as Liberalism (An education system based on Secular Humanist Worldview; a political tradition emphasizing personal liberties and equity over traditional moral concerns); Nihilism (The belief that life has no ultimate meaning); Relativism (The belief that “truth” is relative to the individual and the time and place in which one acts; there are no absolute or objective truths); Secular Humanism (A worldview based on atheism and naturalism in which man is the measure of all things; man, not God, is the ultimate norm by which truth and morals are to be determined) have permeated the faith and have heavily influenced the Christian way of life. We have embraced the “if it feels good, do it” mentality.  However, the word explicitly dictates that not only are we to embrace the cross, but that each of us has his own cross to bear.  Unfortunately, we have created our own religious escape from spiritual reality.  In adapting a philosophy that prescribes a life of ease and undisciplined principles, a philosophy that affords a reward without an act which merits reward, we have turned from the spiritual truth of God’s infallible Word to move toward our own euphoric utopia.

There is no true faith apart from the cross.  The cross is the defining moment in the faith of every Christian.  It is the belief in the cross that brings us salvation.  “The Cross” is the place of expiation, the place where the magnanimous work of Christ was completed.  To live apart from the cross is to live a life of denial, void of truth.  I have aspired to reveal to you an inescapable truth; No Cross; No Crown!

What does it mean to take up or bear one’s cross?  It means to live your life as unto the Lord.  It is presenting your body as a living sacrifice, giving of yourself for the sake of Christ.  Bearing your cross calls for you to live the life of a Christian soldier to walk into your destiny despite the difficulties and struggles of the moment.  Look at what Paul had to say about the responsibility of the Christian soldier:

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who enlisted him as a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:3,4)

Bearing your cross requires dying to self and carrying out kingdom work.  It is counting it all joy when you fall into various trials.  It is the apprehension and execution of the divine plan of God; to stand in faith when those around you wonder aimlessly about.  It is not meandering through the pathways of mediocrity, nor gallivanting through the portentous halls of self-destruction.  It is walking into your destiny and fulfilling your purpose.

There is an old aphorism which states:  Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.  This adage can be transposed to say: Everybody wants Christian benefits, but nobody wants the job.  Everyone wants to experience the many rewards and blessings God has to offer, yet, we cringe at the thought of the trials we must face.  I present this question as posed by an old hymn: Must Jesus bear the Cross alone and all the world go free?  I think not, the song concludes: No, there’s a cross for everyone and there’s a cross for me!

Not until we embrace the cross, will we experience the full measure of God’s infinite and bountiful blessings.  Not until we walk boldly into our destiny can we truly know God with the intimacy in which we were created to know Him!  There are too many believers walking around with a power deficit.  They say all the right things religion has trained them to say, but internally they are struggling with the reality of the moment and the uncertainty of tomorrow.  Their lives have been lived in a superficial vacuum that portrays a form of Godliness, but in truth has drained them to the point of defeat.

It is not my desire to rain on your parade, but to breath life into your waning hopes.  I hear too often, the questions:  Has God forgotten about me?  Does God care?  Why hasn’t God answered my prayers?  These are only a few questions of concern I hear from believers.  It seems that believers are anticipating the movement of God in their lives, however, they have failed to see the connection between their movement and His.  Listen to what God told Solomon:

“If My people who called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14 NKJV)

In this awesome statement of promise and deliverance, we would do well to take notice of the fact that the promises are preceded by a conditional clause initiated by the conjunction, “if”.  This points to the fact that God requires certain things from us prior to blessing us.  We want God to bless, to heal, to prosper; However, we fail to bear our crosses, we have failed to position ourselves to receive the blessings we seek.  The bearing of the cross and the blessing go hand in hand.  One cannot advance to spiritual maturity without persevering through the intense and sometimes arduous struggles of life.  It is your spiritual maturity that places you in a position to be blessed by God.  As you mature spiritually, God is free to bless you without you losing your focus -in other words spiritual maturity allows the believer, at the time of blessings and prosperity, to remain focused on and occupied with the blesser instead of the blessing.

The mature, cross bearing Christian consistently and incessantly finds himself in line with the will of God, therefore, in perfect position to experience the power of God as He acts on his behalf.  We can, therefore, deduce within the reasoning of the aforementioned facts, that our progression toward spiritual maturity is paramount and the only way to reach spiritual maturity is by the consistent , daily intake, absorption, metabolism, and inculcation of Bible doctrine, as well as the application of said doctrine to the issues of life.  This is bearing your cross!

You see, there can never be a reward without an act to merit the reward; No Cross; No Crown!

The rewards of bearing your cross are multitudinous, too many to cover them all.  However; we will cover several that are noteworthy.  As a Christian bears his cross, he develops a sense of purpose, an apprehension of the fact that he belongs to something greater than himself.  Through the comprehension of this new truth, he is now able to face the struggles and vicissitudes of this life with the confidence that those things that are too big for him are no problem for God.  He can face the struggles and storms of this life knowing: Trouble doesn’t last always; but he also has a great understanding and appreciation of this fact: No Cross, No Crown!

A Christian that bears his cross has a sense of direction: he knows where he is headed.  He is not deterred, discouraged, or derailed when the storms of life began to rage.  The bearing of his cross has both, strengthened and prepared him for the battle that lies ahead.  He understands that adversity is the fertile soil through which the seed of prosperity is planted and cultivated.  He is exactly where he should be in order for God to bless him and prosper him, and when he does find himself in a bind, he can relax in the peace of God, because he knows that, “No weapon formed against him shall prosper.”

As a cross bearer, you carry a strong sense of honor, knowing that you share in the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.

As we move toward a close, I implore you, I beseech you to examine yourselves; to look within.  Upon a thorough and complete searching of yourself, can you say with absolute certainty that you are a cross bearer?  Have you pushed aside the cares and affairs of this world and focused yourself on the battle at hand?  Have you committed yourself to the battle or are you still wondering aimlessly about with no sense of direction?

Has the intensity of the battle caused you to shrink back and withdraw to a position of comfort and assumed security?  I hope not!  The writer of the letter to the Hebrews made it distinctively clear how God feels about those who draw back:

“Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” (Heb 10:38)

It is my prayer that as the battle intensifies, so will your resolve to persevere.  This is not a time for lethargy and gradualism, but a time for purpose and destiny.  I urge you to press on with a fierce urgency and an inexorable determination to fulfill your destiny.  God has not promised you a life of ease and tranquility, for he told us that in this world there will be tribulations, but he did not stop there.  He finished by saying, in essence, not to worry, not to fret, be of good cheer, for he has overcome the world.  There is no life of ease, but there is a life of reward.

We all stand in need of God’s blessings; we are all in search of His “Well done” proclamation.  We are in search of an exaltation of some sort.  We are looking to reap the magnanimous bounty which God has stored up for us.  In this exploration for acknowledgement and reward, we must apprehend and take hold of this one fact -No Cross; No Crown.

Any attempt at circumvention of this divine truth will prove devastatingly unsuccessful.  We are to march forward with our hearts and minds focused on the very one who keeps us.  Our time of adversity is not a time to crumble under the pernicious attacks of the enemy, but a time to rise through the omnipotence of God.

Yes, my fellow Christians, this is a spiritual war, the enemy is a most formidable foe, yet our destiny is victory.  This victory is as certain as life itself for the one who endures.  This victory has been placed in escrow for the one who refuses to surrender.  There is a promotion in your future, but understand this promotion comes at a price -No Cross; No Crown!

It is time to rise to the majestic heights of faith walking.  It is time to soar through the winds of perpetual prosperity.  To elevate ourselves to a position of spiritual enrapture.  For too long we have been languishing in the quicksands of mediocrity and lethargy.  We have lingered through the desolate valley of tamed dreams and dwarf goals.  We have been imprisoned by the manacles of hopelessness and despair.  Yet, the luminous and phosphorescent light of hope strains through the pores of darkness.

Pick up your cross and receive the power to overcome every obstacle.

Take up your cross and find that God’s grace is sufficient.

Bear the cross of your calling and experience the awesome force of God’s anointing as it flows through you.

Live the life of someone who is divinely blessed and highly favored; take up your cross!

May God bless and keep you.

Bishop Rick Wallace

Founder and President

Rick Wallace Ministries

100 Men of Purpose

Rick Wallace is the author of The Invisible Father: Reversing the Curse of a Fatherless Generation, an inspiring speaker, an inexorable theologian, and committed soldier of the Kingdom, and entrepreneur. You will find that he is incessant in His efforts to effectively and accurately disseminate the Word of God. He also believes in empowerment through knowledge and opportunity. He provides insight and encouragement through multifarious avenues, including Facebook, Twitter, Christian Impact, The Invisible Father Blog, and many other sites throughout the internet.