Foundation for Living #3
Spiritual Skills, Faith Rest Drill
2 Corinthians 5:7
October 23, 2005
And this is the record that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. For there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.
Father we are indeed grateful that we have such a tremendous salvation and that is based exclusively on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and at the moment a person puts their faith alone in Christ alone, You give to us an infinite number of blessings and assets. Spiritual blessings that are the foundation for the new life that we have in Jesus Christ, and among these assets are the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit and His filling ministry teaching us. And His ministry whereby he takes the truth we are taught enters it into our soul and uses that to produce spiritual growth … Father, now as we continue our study on the foundations for living, we might learn to approach that abundant life that our Lord spoke of. We pray that God the Holy Spirit who indwells us and teaches us will make these things real to us, that we may have a greater understanding and insight into how we go forward in our spiritual growth. We pray this in Christ's name. Amen
We had started two weeks ago with a 2nd basic series, as it were. The first was basics related to salvation, ultimately. We started with God and the essence of God, and ended up going through salvation and eternal security. After that, a person is saved. So what do we do after we are saved? I have begun by looking at basic spiritual skills. Basic spiritual skills are techniques that we are to develop in our Christian life that enable us to apply doctrine. They are basically a synthesis of many different things that the Bible teaches, but by looking at them in this way we summarize a lot of Biblical teaching under these basic categories. We began by looking at the first one a few weeks ago, and that was confession of sin. And we focused on that subject in terms of the Biblical teaching on cleansing. In order for the believer to come into the presence of God, to enjoy the fellowship that we have with God and for God the Holy Spirit to work in our life, we must be cleansed of sin. I pointed out that when we are saved, at that instant of faith alone in Christ alone, we are cleansed from all pre salvation sin and positionally cleansed from all sin, because of our unity with Jesus Christ at the instant of our salvation. However, as we go through life, we continue to commit sin, and so we are instructed to confess, that is to admit or acknowledge, our sins to God the Father, and at that instant, we recover fellowship, the sanctifying, or spiritual life producing or growth producing, growth developing ministry of God the Holy Spirit comes back on line. And we can then continue our spiritual advance, or spiritual growth. Confession moves us from operating according to the sin nature, which produces dead works, to operating according to the Holy Spirit who produces divine good or that which has eternal value. The next skill that we develop is learning how to walk by means of God the Holy Spirit. We covered that last time, finishing up with the fact that this is related to the ministry of His filling. Ephesians 5:18 taught that we have a command to be filled by means of the Spirit. I pointed out that was a passive command. We simply are to receive this filling. We are not filled with the Spirit as the content of that filling, but the Holy Spirit Himself is filling us with the word. I compared Ephesians 5:18 with Colossians 3:16 to point out those two aspects there that the filling by means of the Holy Spirit is related to letting the word of Christ richly dwell within us. The consequences of both commands are the same. Eph 5:19 and following and Col 3:16b and following are identical. That means that being filled by the Spirit and letting the word of Christ richly dwell within us are related, because as they work together they produce in us the same results in our spiritual life and growth. But the command that is addressed most specifically to our volition in terms of an active voice mandate is the command in Galatians 5:16 to walk by means of God the Holy Spirit I pointed out last time that as we talk about walking by the Spirit, we constantly run into a slight problem of misinterpretation. Maybe it is miscommunication. I don't know which it is, but it is something that I constantly had to deal with in my teaching over the years. And that is the problem of what I would call insipient mysticism. That is, there is this tendency to thing of the filling of the Spirit as control. That word has been used a lot. Dr. Schaefer used that word. Others have used that word. But the word control implies that the Holy Spirit overrides our volition. In that sense, it is not a good word, because we do not just get into this state of walking by the Spirit, being filled by the Spirit and then we become sort of spiritual zombies, where the Holy Spirit takes over our volition, so the decisions we make and the actions we take are somehow protected, or in some sense free from error by the Holy Spirit, and as long as we are in right relationship with the Holy Spirit, everything is just going to be just fine, because He is controlling our life. That is not what we mean by control. It means that the sanctifying ministry of the Holy Spirit, that spiritual advance is now under His control, so that He can produce growth in our lives. He is the one who produces growth, but He doesn't make the decisions to walk, to be filled, to apply, and to think doctrine. That is up to us. Often I hear people say, well, I'm just going to make these decisions in life, and if I am in right relationship to the Holy Spirit, then they are going to be okay. That is like saying it's not my responsibility to think, I am just going to take my mind and put it into neutral and as long as I confess my sins, I will be fine because I committed it to the Holy Spirit. And it is just another way of following the principles of the sin nature to avoid responsibility for thinking, for analysis, for understanding the issues of life from a biblical framework. This kind of incipient mysticism, when it is taken to further conclusions, ends up in the sort of inner light sort of thought that Christians have had in some Christians groups in the past that God the Holy Spirit gives them an inner light, so you just sort of get inside of yourself, have a little meditation, a little navel contemplation, somehow the Holy Spirit is going to give you the decision that you need. And once again, it is that avoidance of personal responsibility. That's not what walking by the Spirit is. There is a clear, objective path, as I pointed out last time. We are led by the Spirit. If anything leads us, it is out in front and it is laying a course of action for us. That leading is done through the objective word of God, so the Spirit of God and the word of God always work together. You don't get away from the word of God and say, ok, I have a decision to make in life, let me just pray about this and wait for the Holy Spirit to somehow move me, so I'm making the decision God wants me to make. That is mysticism. That is subjectivism. That is not any different from what you will run into if you go to someplace like Palmyra, New York, the birth place of Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith was the founder of the Mormon Church. They don't like to be called that, they want to be called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and they would like drop that so they are the Church of Jesus Christ, but that is another story. You go up to a place like any of the Mormon sites and all the tour guides are missionaries and their number one job are to recruit new members into the Mormon church. I had a lot of fun with this elderly man who was taking me around, I asked him where he was from, he was from Atlanta, and what his background was, and he said he was from a certain large southern denomination, and I happened to know that is the largest group from which Mormons get their greatest number of converts. And I said, well, how do you know any of this is true? And he said, well, because I had the burning in the bosom. That is their phrase; it is what I call liver quiver. They say, after I had heard it, I went into my closet, and I thought about it, and there was just this inner subject light that told me it was true. You never see that sort of methodology in the Scripture for making decisions, for discerning Gods will, or for evaluating the circumstances of life. Over and over again you have the mandate to think, to evaluate, to focus on to study, to concentrate. To evaluate, not to go off somewhere for some sort of inner light mystical liver quiver thing to take place, that is then identified with the Holy Spirit. That is pagan methodology. It is not biblical methodology. Biblical methodology is based on thought, being in right relationship with God the Holy Spirit, through confession of sin, then thought and knowing, that as we think and analyze through the Scripture, God the Holy Spirit is at work. It is not overt; it is in and through the process. The next step in that process, which is the next brick in the foundation for living, is the faith rest drill. I just love that term because the drill concept reminds us that it is something we have to practice over and over and over again. It is a drill, like when you were in the military, perhaps, and you had to learn the manual of arms. And I remember when I was in ROTC when I was in college, the first year, we had M1 Gerunds and we had to learn the manual of arms for the M1, then the next year we had the M 14, and we had to learn the manual of arm for them14. And with both weapons we had to learn how to break them down take them apart, put them back together to the point that we could do it blindfolded. And I think to this day, if someone handed me and M 1 or and M 14, I could still go through the Manual of Arms. I'm not sure I could break one down and put it together, but I'm pretty sure I could still do the Manual of Arms. Because you practiced and drilled, over and over again, until you wanted to butt stroke the drill sergeant with it. You were just tired of it. But that is the idea in teaching Scripture and learning to apply Scripture. You drill, drill, drill, until it become second nature, until that becomes your reflex action when a problem, difficulty, comes up. It is focused on faith. We have to understand what it means to exercise faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 gives us a key passage for understanding this foundational skill for the Christian life.
7 For we walk by means of faith, not by sight.
We walk by means of faith – that is, faith is directed toward something. If you walk by sight, it is not the seeing that you are depending on, it is what you see, right? There is an object to sight. It is what you are looking at. It is a phrase that relates to empiricism. The first phrase, 'we walk by means of faith', the works along side walking by means of the Holy Spirit over in Galatians 5:16, where walking in dependence or by means of faith, which is the intermediate means by which we advance in the Christian life. Faith, in and of itself, is never isolated. So what we learn from this is that faith is the primary basis for that advance of walking by means of God the Holy Spirit. It is not a mystical faith in faith. How many times do you hear folks say, just believe, just have faith, it's all going to be okay. If you just survive, it's okay, just have faith. Faith in what? Do you just have faith apart from anything else? Just sort of hanging there in a vacuum - that I enter into this sphere of faith? And I just hang here? No, of course not. In fact, the term itself does not lend itself to that. The term faith, or if you make it a verb, to believe, is a transitive verb. That is grammatical speak for the fact that it always has an object. That means you don't just believe, you believe something. There is always a something there to believe, you don't just say I believe. You're always saying I believe X, and X is what has the power. X is what has the benefit. X is what has the ability. Think about salvation a minute. When you were saved, you put your faith alone in Christ alone. You trusted in Jesus Christ as your savior. You did not just believe and stop there; there was an object to your belief. That object to your belief is Jesus Christ. The message of the gospel, that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, and if you put your faith alone in Christ alone, you will be saved. There is a proposition, there is a statement there in the Scriptures that you believe. You don't just believe and stop there. The same thing is true after you are saved and you have new life in Christ. The faith that moves you forward in the Christian life also focuses on certain statements, on certain propositions, on certain realities of Scripture. And when we believe those principals, or promises or procedures that are specifically stated in Scripture, then that is the means of moving forward. It is not just faith in faith. It is not just some sort of mystical belief, that if I just believe, that the power is in the faith. That means that faith itself, a familiar term for everyone here, faith itself is non meritorious. The merit is not in the faith. It is not faith itself that gives you some sort of spiritual quality. It is the object of the faith. When you believe that Christ died on the cross for your sins, it is the work of Jesus Christ on the cross that saves, not your faith that saves. Christ saves you because He is the object of your faith. So there is always an object to the faith, and it is the object of the faith that has value, significance and meaning, not the faith itself. The faith is simply the conduit, the pipeline through which the work of the object, or the significance of the object, or the principle of the object, the truth of the object is applied. So how do we go through this? It is very simple; I just love the faith rest drill. This, to me, is the foundation for everything else. We have to be in fellowship, walking by the Spirit, but the key dynamic is that walking by faith, trusting in what God has revealed. The first step is to grab on to some portion of Scripture, a promise, principle or procedure that is defined in Scripture. There are specific promises, we often recite them:
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yea, I will help you, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness.
We claim that as a promise, God you have promised that if we trust You, then we don't have any cause for fear and You will strengthen us, support us and sustain us. But sometimes it is a principle, we'll see an example of that principle before we finish this evening. Sometimes it is a procedure that Scripture has outlined. For example, in the Old Testament you had a lot of ritual procedures that were outlined in terms of the practices in the Tabernacle and in the Temple. So, we have certain promise, and this is defined or given to us.
2 Peter 1:3 and 4: 3 seeing that His divine power (omnipotence) has granted to us (on the basis of grace) everything pertaining to life and godliness,
Those two terms relate to life, meaning our physical biological life, and godliness, is the Greek term eusebeia, which means your spiritual life. The English word godliness goes back to a form that meant god like ness. As we are growing spiritually, we are being transformed into the character of Jesus Christ. We become Christ like, or godlike. So that was called godliness. The term eusebeia relates to our spiritual life and spiritual growth. He did not give us some things, most things, a lot of things, He gave us
everything pertaining to life and godliness. through the true knowledge of Him who called us by means of His own glory and excellence.
That term 'glory and excellence' relates to His character. It summarizes the integrity of God. It summarizes the essence of God, everything that God is. The next verse,
For by these (these what? These two things, glory and excellence, the sum total of His character), by these He has granted to us, (once again it is grace) His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them (by means of those promises) you may become partakers of the divine nature.
That is that concept of eusebeia, of being godlike, where your character is being transformed into the character of Jesus Christ. For God the Holy Spirit is producing that in your life. It comes by means of those promises,
so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world, by lust."
Notice how the writer contrasts what God is doing on the one side, with the negative in terms of what occurs in the walk by the flesh, on the other side. The Scripture constantly juxtaposes truth with error, so that we can more clearly understand the truth. It brings it into sharper, tighter focus. What we are simply looking at this evening in this verse, is that it is the promises of God, stated here, as a means to spiritual growth. That is what we are saying the faith rest drill. Very simple, we have to understand the promises, principles and procedures in the word of God, and by claiming them, we advance in our spiritual life. Now, what does it mean to claim a promise? What exactly does that term mean? Well, I ran into this a couple of years ago when I was teaching on the faith rest drill in Ukraine, and the concept of claiming a promise did not translate real well into a foreign language. Now, we know what that means, it has the idea in the English of grabbing hold of a promise and holding on to it. But that really did not come across too well, so we had to sit and really think about this concept of claiming a promise for awhile, to figure out just exactly what it meant. What is means is to grab hold of a promise, latch on to a promise and say, this is a promise that God made to me. Of course you have made sure this is not a promise He made to Abraham, David, or Israel, but it is indeed a promise that comes from God and is directed to a believer in any age, or to a believer in the church age. You are actually reading your mail, not your neighbor's mail, meaning the Jews. You are reading your mail and you are saying, God, You made this promise to me and I am holding You to that. This is my situation. This is my circumstance. You have promised that even though I am overwhelmed by fear and worry and anxiety, and I feel I am at the end of my rope, and I cannot go any further, what You have told me is, if I do this, if I trust You, if I am not afraid, then, You will sustain me. So, I am claiming that promise right now, God. That is what it means to claim a promise, to remind God of His word and to hold on to it and make it a reality in terms of our own life. There are many promises like this that we find like this in that we find in the word.
Psalm 18: 2 David writes, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer." Listen to these words, the images here. "He is my rock". This is not talking about some little pebble, this is a boulder, something you could hide behind that would provide protection. A fortress, "my deliverer, my God, my strength in whom I will trust. My buckler, (a shield) and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."
And as I think about this verse, I frequently think about David in those years when he is out with the sheep, and he is protecting the sheep before he ever knew he would be the anointed king of Israel. He is out there applying these principles and learning these promises while he is out with the sheep. Later he writes them down in the form of these hymns that are recorded for us in the Psalms.
Psalm 62:7 "In God is my salvation and my glory, the rock of my strength and my refuge is in God." Ps 91:2: "I will say of the Lord he is my refuge and my fortress. My God, in Him will I trust."
Psalm 91:4: "He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings you may seek refuge: His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark."
So God is the God who watches over us, protects us and we can claim these promises. So whenever we feel threatened by the adversities of life, whatever the circumstances may be, God is the one who protects us. Now one particular promise that is familiar to many of is in 1 Peter 5:7
"Casting all your care upon Him because He cares for you."
If we look at the context we can think through the promise a little bit. 1 Peter 5:5, Peter writes,
"Likewise, you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders (that is, the mature believers in the congregation) all of you be submissive to one another and be clothed with humility. For God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
In other words we are mandated to be properly oriented to authority. That is the essence of humility, to be properly oriented to authority,
because God is strongly opposed to the arrogant, but He provides grace to the humble. Then, in verse 6, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, because He cares for you."
Now this is the promise that we have here, that if we cast our care upon Him, He cares for us. It is frequently used by us in times of stress, anxiety, worry and concern. Now the passage goes on to say in the next couple of verses,
be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like the roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
Now what devil's prime sin? It was arrogance. What is the subject we are talking about in 1 Peter 5? It is being under the authority of God, not being arrogant. So we are told to cast our cares on Him because He cares for us as a means of avoiding arrogance. In verse 8 we see the devil goes about seeking whom he may devour and in verse 9, again a command, "resist him, steadfast in the faith," that is steadfast in doctrine, which is what we will study next time, doctrinal orientation, because you know that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
That gives us the context, and when we look at the context of a promise, that takes us to the next stage. The first step is we mix faith with a promise. We say, God, this is what You said in Your word, and I'm going to hold You to it, cast my care on You, because You care for me. That is Your promise, so I will rely on that. The next stage, so we can understand it a little more precisely and make it more real in our soul, is to think through the underlying logic, rationale, or reasoning behind the passage. We do that simply by reading the passage and thinking about what it says, and perceiving the embedded logic in the text. What is the embedded reasoning that we see within the text? What I suggest at times, it's a great thing for you to do on your own is to take out a pen and paper and write down your thoughts as you think through a passage. You don't have time to do this in the heat of the battle, but you do have time to do it other times, as you go through our promise book, as you go through Scripture, you underline promises and you stop and think about them and write down some thoughts. Let me give you some guidance here, if you can, and you have the tools to do so, use something like Vines's Expository Dictionary of New Testament and Old Testament Words, or a few other tools that are available, you can perhaps look up some of the Greek and Hebrew words. Or you can go to notes where you have Scripture passages and you can look at the Greek and Hebrew words there which give you a little fuller understanding of what the passage means. But a lot of times, to do this, you do not really need to have an advanced knowledge of the Greek or Hebrew; you just need to think through context. As we look at this in the English, we see we are commanded to be humble, and this idea of humility in verse 5 is the main idea of the text. The main command is to humble yourselves, and then you have a participle at the beginning of verse 7, casting your care upon Him. Now this word for casting in the Greek is the word epiripto. It is an aorist active participle. That means that the action of the participle must precede the action of the main verb. So you have to be casting your care before you can be humble. Casting all your care upon Him. The word for casting is a picturesque image. It means to propel something from one place to another, to heave it, throw it, and cast it. It has the idea of transferring something from one place to another. The idea here is to transfer our worries, concerns, fears onto God's back, just heave them onto God's back so that God is the one carrying the burden, not us. He becomes the one responsible for taking care of the situation, not us. He is the one in control. The other thing that we learn here, which you would not pick up in the English, as an adverbial participle in the Greek; it describes the means by which the main command is being fulfilled. So it should be translated, "therefore, humble yourselves by casting all your care upon Him. So the casting is your volitional decision to turn something over to God, to transfer it to His shoulders instead of your shoulders and by doing that you are putting yourself under the authority of God in the situation or circumstance. So the first thing we note as we think through the rationale of 5:7 is that we are to humble ourselves by casting something upon Him. What we cast is merimna, in the Greek, it is our anxieties, our worries, our fears, the thing you wake up in the middle of the night, your mind starts racing, and wraps itself around this or that or the other thing, you need to go back to 1 Peter 5:7 casting all my cares upon Him because He cares for me. You might have to repeat that 375 time before you settle down, but that is the key, that is the word, it is not just a one shot thing. Sometimes we get involved in very tense situations and it takes awhile before our mind can wrap itself around the promise of God. So we cast our anxiety, our worry, we heave them upon God, because, and that word translated 'for' in the Greek, is the word hoti, which means because. That's the clue to the rationale. Why do we cast our care upon Him? Why do we heave our anxieties on Him? Because He cares for us. Because He is concerned about the minutiae of our lives. I have heard some people say, I'm not going to pray about that, it's too small. I'm not going to bother God about that. What an anthropocentric view of God. There is no detail too small that God cannot be as completely concerned about as He is about the big things in life. That is the hidden text in that statement. I'm not going to bother God with that. God wants to be bothered with everything, because He is omniscient, and He has an infinite hard drive, He can handle every piece of minutiae that ever comes through in human history. It is never going to overload the system. He is always going to be able to handle it, and He wants us to bring every care to Him. When you say, well, I am not going to bother God with that, that is arrogance and is counter to this whole process and context. We are to cast our care upon Him because He cares for each one of us. That is the word mello. The two words 'care' that we see in the English are actually different Greek words. The first has to do with worries, anxieties or fears, the second, He cares for you, is concern, deeply interested. He is deeply interested in what goes on in our lives. And He cares about every single believer. So that is how we think through the rationale. We write that down and we say, okay, now I understand the reasoning here. So that I can not only take the promise and claim it, I can understand that the under girding rationale or principle here is that God cares for me. As a believer, every detail of my life is important to Him, so I need to go to Him constantly and put these things on His back, and let Him take care of them instead of me, because He is the Sovereign and not me. That is where we come to the third stage where we reach conclusions. We reach doctrinal conclusions about what the passage says. What has it said? It has said that we are to take these cares, and anxieties, and concerns and completely put them on God's back. Why? Because God cares for me, He cares about my life, He cares about all the little things that wander around in my squirrelly little brain and keep me awake at night. God is concerned about everything. It is also related to humility, that if I am going to humble myself under God's authority, that means I have to put these cares on Him, and if I don't, I am being arrogant, and I am walking down the path Satan established in eternity past, the path of arrogance, the creature trying to live his life independent from the Creator. So the conclusion is that I am going to humble myself by constantly casting my cares and concerns upon Him. So we conclude, in this situation that I am arrogant if I don't give it over to God. I am arrogant if I fret over this; I need to place it in God's hands and trust in His power, provision, omniscience and plan. That is the process. We recognize that God has an eternal plan, and as part of that plan, He deals with every detail. So Isaiah 26:4 states,
"Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength."
You can start daisy chaining the promises. Because God cares for me, I can trust in Him, and when I trust in Him, He is going to give me strength in the midst of the situation.
Psalm 56:3, 4: What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee, in God I will praise His word, in God I have put my trust and I will not fear what flesh can do to me.
So we need an arsenal of these promises to put things together. Now, we have talked about faith, how to mix faith with a promise, thinking through a promise so we understand the basic reasoning or rational that under girds a promise. We have talked about bringing this to a conclusion so it stabilizes our thinking, focuses our mentality on God and His immutable power and not the changing details of life. But now we have to come back to this second term, faith rest. What does that mean? Faith is trusting in God's word. That is always the object of faith. It is not trusting in feelings, not trusting in some sort of internal sense of God's truth, it is focusing on the propositions and principles that are given in God's word. There are two ways in which we do this. One is a passive sense, which I will call resting in God's promise. Resting in God's promise may or may not mean doing nothing. Resting in God's promise may mean doing a lot, but we are not gong to worry or fret or be concerned or anxious in the consequence. So the passive has the idea that we relax in the situation. We can have a relaxed mental attitude in the midst of the circumstance because we know God is in control. But then there is an active sense, where, in terms of obeying what is going on in the promise, we have to do something. For example, there is a promise and a procedure outlined in 1 John 1: 9 If we confess our sins, that is the procedure. But we have to do something. When we trust the reality of that promise, that God is faithful and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness that is a promise. That if we do X and acknowledge our sin, God will do Y, that is the promise, but we have to do something we don't just trust God to forgive us. That gets into mysticism. That was the problem with ******theology. I'm going to trust God to just forgive me. No, we have to do something, we have to confess our sin, there is an active instruction that we have to follow, and it is not works, it is just doing what God said to do. We are resting upon Him to provide the solution. So we have these two circumstances in faith rest. There is a passive sense in which we relax and rest in His power, and we have a relaxed mental attitude. And an active sense in which we do whatever is implied in the promise. Now let's look at an example from the Old Testament to see how this is accomplished.
1 Samuel 17: This is a story that is familiar to many people, young and old. I guess today, as we live in an era of biblical illiteracy, it may not be as familiar, but it should be. And that is the episode of David fighting the giant Goliath. It is one of the greatest examples in the Old Testament of a believer using the faith rest drill. I want to start by going directly to the heart of the confrontation when David is out in the middle of the valley and he is about to engage in battle with Goliath, the Philistine. And David says to the Philistine,
you can come to me with a sword, a spear and a javelin (not to mention the fact you are armored from head to toe,) but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts. Yahweh Sabaoth, the Lord of the Armies. The God of the armies of Israel whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and I will remove your head from you and I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds in the sky and the wild beasts of the earth and all the earth will know, and all this assembly will know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear, for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands.
Now what is the rationale of that last verse? If you are sharp you caught it. Watch for the words 'for' and 'because'. The battle is the Lord's, there is the principle. The battle is the Lord's comes after the word 'for'. I am going to do this, this, and this, I am confident in victory because the battle is the Lord's. And that is the fundamental principle David is applying here. But it is more profound than understanding that principle. The reason he can go into this battle, and trust God in this battle, is because of prior preparation and a foundational understanding of Gods promises. Let's go back to the beginning of the chapter and briefly work our way through what is going on here. The Philistines were never defeated by the Jews under the Judges, during the period of the Judges. God continued to give the Philistines dominance over Israel because they are under the 4th cycle of discipline and they are being tested by their enemies. And because Israel never came to a position of complete repentance, as they had in the various other cycles of the Judge, so the Philistines continue to threaten Israel's southwestern flank. Now they have invaded and they are in the hill country of Judah and they are engaged in a battle and the battle itself reminds us of things that we read about in the Iliad and the battle for Troy, and that is because the Philistines were part of the migration of the Greek sea peoples of the ancient world, so often they would engage in battles where champions would come out from each army and they would do battle for the whole army. So the armies of the Philistines gathered at a place called Socoh, which is about 14 miles west of Bethlehem, also known as the City of David. It is the birthplace of the Messiah, but it is the City of David, it is where he lives with his father Jesse, and it is out from Bethlehem that he watches the sheep. So they gathered at Socoh and they are camped between Socoh and Aze'Kah in a place called Ephes-dam'mim which is 3 miles north east of Socoh and they are in the valley of Elah and they have the Philistines on one side of the valley, up on the hillside, and they have the Jewish army under Saul on the other side. They have this champion named Goliath from Gath. His height was 6 cubits and a span. That means he is 9 feet 9 inches tall. Now, that is not exaggeration. There is something interesting going on in this passage that few people bring out. Goliath is said to be from Gath in a couple of different places here. Just to fast forward through the story, David had been there at the beginning before the champion came out, then he went back to deal with the sheep. His 3 older brothers are there with the army and his dad Jesse said, go out and see what the latest news from the front is. I'll send some cheese for their commander and some food for them and go check it out. So David comes, and he takes the supplies and leaves them with the supply keeper in verse 22, and he runs to the army. He is excited, he wants to see where the action is, and he greets his brother, expecting to hear great news of how they won the battle, and while he is talking with them, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, so the Holy Spirit keeps bringing us back to this little note that he is a Philistine of Gath. Goliath by name, coming up from the army of the Philistines and he spoke according to the same words, he is challenging the nation to come forth, and he is taunting the Jews, that no one can come forth. This is given back in verses 8, 9, and10. And he defies the armies of Israel, give me a man that we can fight together. Every day for forty days now he has been throwing out this challenge, and Saul and the Jewish army have just been quaking in their boots. They have this circumstance they don't know how to handle, it is overwhelming, they feel defeated, 'we don't have anybody who can take on the giant.' No matter what it may be, we all have applications where there are circumstances, situations in life that we feel just way too much for us, we can't handle. That is not really a point of contact here. It is more profound than that. When David hears him, listen to David's response in verse 26.
"Then David spoke to the men standing beside him saying, 'what shall be done for the man who kills the Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel. For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God.
There are two key words to that that tell us how David is thinking. The first is he refers to the Philistine as the uncircumcised Philistine. The second thing is, he is defying the armies of the living God. If you go back in earlier part of Samuel, the Ark of the Covenant got captured by the Philistines, and they took it and stored it in the temple of Dagon, and said oh great, we defeated this god of the Jews, which is just some minor deity and we are going to show them that our god is better that their god, so we are going to put it in the temple, right up in front of the temple near the statue of Dagon, to show Dagon is superior. The next morning they came in and the statue of Dagon is now down on its face, bowing in obedience to the Ark of the Covenant. They could not handle that, so they straighten it back up and left. The next morning they come in and now the statue is down, the hands and feet are cut off, and God is showing that He is the One, even though He allowed Israel to be defeated by the Philistines, God is the one that is in charge. He is the One in control. And God is a living God, the God of Israel is a living God, and the idols of the Philistines are dead gods, pagan gods. That is what lies behind the phrase, the living God. But the term uncircumcised is the real key that unlocks the passage. What was circumcision? Circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant, not the Mosaic Covenant, but the Abrahamic Covenant. There are three things crucial to understanding the Abrahamic Covenant, those three things we keep drilling are, land, seed and blessing. And the land promise was that this land, the land of the Canaanites was given to Israel forever and ever, and they had a right to this particular land. So when David is saying, this is an uncircumcised Philistine, he is saying, he has no right to this land. God has given the land to us. That is the promise he is going back to, the Abrahamic Covenant. So he has got a promise and he has got a principle wrapped up there that this land is our land and there is no uncircumcised individual who has a right to come here and take it away from us. Furthermore, if we look at this phraseology, that he is from Gath, which is pointed out several times, so we do a little studying around in the background of the OT, what we realize is that there was a group of people who inhabited the land before Joshua brought the armies in to take it for Israel. The Canaanites lived there, and there were a lot of different folks who lived in the land. There were the Amorites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, and several other different groups who lived in this land of Canaan, who were part of this perverse culture that God said needed to be wiped out. And among them was a group of people called the Sons of Anak. They were also called the Anakin, they were giants. This is why, back in Numbers, when the twelve spies went into the land, ten of them came back and said, we can't win, the people are too numerous, the cities are too big, and there are giants in the land, big giants. Now we know they had a cousin, Og of Bashan was one of the Rephadim, and the Rephadim were related to the Anakin, and Og the king of Bashan had a bed that was 6 ft wide and 13.5 feet long in order to handle him. There is some disagreement among scholars whether that was his bed or his coffin. We don't know his size, but he was probably close to 10 or 11 feet tall, in order to have a bed or coffin that size. So all of the Rephadim, Og and Bashan were all wiped out by the Jews when they came in for the initial conquest. But when they got to the main part of the land itself, they did not kill all of the Anakin. Some of them escaped. Guess where they went? They went to a little town over in Philistia called Gath. So when we are told Goliath is a 9 ft 9 inch man from Gath, it is presupposing that you know something about Joshua and what happened in the conquest. And that the sons of Anak went there, so he is not really a Philistine, there was probably some inner breeding there. He is a two or three generation immigrant, but he is a descendant of the Canaanites that were supposed to be completely annihilated. David is thinking so doctrinally here, he says, this guy is uncircumcised, he is a descendant of these giants, and we have a divine mandate to kill this guy. So we just have to trust in the promise of God and go kill him. God will protect us. It doesn't matter how tall he is, how much armor he has, how advanced his technology, all we have to do is rest in God's promise. I am not even going to take Saul's armor because that implies I am trusting in some other technique or capability other that God's word, I want to make sure a I am trusting in God's word, and the battle is the Lord's. So David utilized the faith rest drill, he understands the promise of the Abrahamic Covenant, he understands the principle that under girds it, and he reaches a conclusion that the battle is the Lords. So he goes into battle with this 9 foot 9 inch giant. Now David is not a rookie at this, he is not some little shepherd boy. That is how it is always presented. We know he is not because he was prepared. When David faced the giant, he had been exercising the faith rest drill many times before. When he first appeared to Saul, Saul said okay, that is great, I'm glad I have a volunteer, but you are kind of young, you are a rookie, you are not even a private first class in the army, but what kind of credentials do you have. David said, look, I was a shepherd, I kept my fathers sheep, this is in verse 24,
and whenever a lion or a bear, came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth, and when it rose against me, I caught it by it's beard and struck it and killed it. Now he does not have a 30 caliber rifle, he does not have a broad sword; he has a shepherd's staff and a sling. In order to do what he did here, it is not like Samson through some supernatural power, it is through his own physical capabilities, obviously protected by the Lord. But obviously he has some tremendous musculature and agility in order to do that. That is why he has to be at least 16, 17, 18 years of age in order to pull this thing off. But he has learned the principle that, I am supposed to do my job as unto the Lord, my job is to protect the sheep; that means I have to protect the sheep even when an aggressive animal, such as a lion or bear comes into the flock, I have to chase it down. And he does hand to hand combat. I'm going to grab the lion by the beard and beat him to death with a rock. Now how many of you are willing to trust God to that extent? But this was basic training for David. He did this again and again. He did not do this just once. The implication here is that he did this several times. He is applying the faith rest drill to each of these situations, so when Goliath comes along, he has prepared himself through that constant practice. When the larger test comes, he is able to handle it because he has already been trusting God, and he knows God will protect him. And he knows the word of God, he knows the promises and principles, and he is able to come to a conclusion, and he is able to trust God to defeat Goliath. He comes out, and he sounds cocky and arrogant, but he is not. He knows exactly what the promise is so he has complete confidence in God. And that is how we are to be. When we understand the promise of God and the principles, and we apply them, we can totally relax. David is totally relaxed. He knows God is going to give him the victory over Goliath; he is going to kill Goliath and cut his head off. He does not have a doubt in the world. Now, some body says, well he took five stones, did he think he was going to miss? No, he knows Goliath has four brothers, and he is prepared for contingency. He has one stone for each of the brothers, and he knows he is not going to miss. He has tremendous confidence because he trusts God. That is the faith rest drill, and that is what we are to implement as we walk by means of the Spirit and go forward. But as I pointed out, the faith rest drill itself focuses and apprehends and the object of faith is the word. And that is the next foundational skill. That is called doctrinal orientation. We will come back to that next Sunday night.
With our heads bowed and our eyes closed.
Father, thank you for Your word, that we can rely upon it. That even if it costs us our life, we know we can trust You. That was the statement of the three young men who were thrown into the fiery furnace as they confronted Nebuchadnezzar. Even though God takes our life, we will continue to trust in Him. So we trust in You because Your word is true, Your word is right.
Father we pray if there is any one here this evening who is unsure of their salvation, or uncertain of their eternal destiny, that they might recognize from the things that we have said tonight, that Jesus Christ provides a perfect salvation. Because it is based upon Your character, Your power and Your grace. Our salvation is not based on who we are, or what we do, it is based on Your promise, Your power and Your provision of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ when He died on the cross for our sins. Salvation is not based on doing certain things, following certain ritual, but it is based simply believing that Jesus Christ died for us. If you have never trusted Christ as your savior, this is your opportunity to do so. And at that instant, God in His omniscience knows that you have trusted Christ as your savior. And you are regenerate, you are saved and it can never be taken away from you. Father we thank you for the things we have studied this evening, and we pray that you will challenge us with them. We pray this in Christ's name. Amen