Memo 1067: Two Strikes, You're Out!
Does it seem like life is difficult that even a little progress is the result of tremendous effort, only to require more effort for the next step? Does it seem like you're constantly engaged in a battle? If so, then read on for our hero David could relate to your situation having been in the same one himself. Let's look at that dynamic of fighting for your spiritual ground in this week's Monday Memo.
David had captured Jerusalem and was firmly established as the leader of all Israel, and one would think there would have been peace in the land. However, Israel's enemies, the Philistines, had something else in mind:
When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold. Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?” The Lord answered him, “Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.” So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, “As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.” So that place was called Baal Perazim. The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off (2 Samuel 5:17-21).
David accepted the challenge the Philistines presented, sought the Lord, and engaged them in battle with the Lord's blessing.
This reminds me of the time in my own life when a person came to me and asked if they could deliver a word from the Lord. When I said of course, they said, "You will sow and sow and then sow some more, and just when you think you can't sow any more, you will be asked to sow some more!" I've often thought of that word as I have been asked to give and commit time and resources I didn't think or know I had to help others, often when my own needs were great or greater than theirs. In other words, I've had to be aggressive in my efforts to come into the blessing and position God had for me.
Even though David defeated the Philistines in every encounter, that didn't stop them from trying one more time:
Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; so David inquired of the Lord, and he answered, “Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.” So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer (2 Samuel 5:22-25).
David could have prayed, "God, how much longer do I have to put up with this?" but as far as we know, he didn't say that. Instead, he kept fighting and fighting to come into the fullness of the blessing God had for him.
Perhaps you are in same position David was in. You have a promise from God but it seems like the battle is never-ending to see it come to pass. Then let me remind you of what Paul wrote in his well-known passage about the armor of God: "Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13). The "day of evil" is on the calendar for every godly life, and you will have to put on the armor, do all you can do to sand, then stand some more. Proverbs says, "If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small" (Proverbs 24:10 ESV).
The good news is after these two battles, the Philistines never showed up again. Two strikes and the Philistines were out. David had his breakthrough and was able to transition into his role as king. You may have to sow more than you ever thought you would or could. What's more, you may have to stand longer in your full armor to withstand forces that seek to defeat you and devour your inheritance in the Lord. However, the good news is that in the fullness of time, known only to the Lord, you too will be victorious just like David—if you don't give up. Have a blessed week.