#6 As You Fight Your Battle, You Must Complete the Task
I Samuel 17:51-54
In our first three actions, we saw how God prepared David before the battle of the ages against Goliath. In the same way, He has prepared you for your fight. In the next three actions, we applied the first two ways that David battled and that was to declare that the battle was the Lord’s and that you should do what you know to do.
The outcome was one that stunned the audience from that day forward. David used a slingshot to defeat a giant! Unbelievable! But, even though the giant was dead, there was still work to accomplish in an effort to bring complete and undeniable victory. This is our third battle action; you must complete the task!
THE HISTORICAL ACCOUNT
We must remember the context of our story. The Israelites and the Philistines gathered at the Elah Valley. I picture that each army occupied a hill and there was the valley between them. As the combatants stood in the valley below, both armies could see what transpired. And then, the impossible happened! The giant fell to the ground and appeared dead! The warriors must have thought that their eyes played tricks on them! Maybe they thought, “is Goliath playing games?” or “Did he fall on purpose?”
After Goliath dropped, David took the champion’s pose by standing triumphantly over his enemy. Then, in an act to completely humiliate his opponent, David took the giant’s own sword and cut off his head. The text does not say this but I wonder if David held up the head for both armies to see that indeed the giant was dead. Whatever David did, it caused the Philistine army to turn and run for their lives!
The Israelite army chased the Philistines, killed them, and left their dead bodies on the roads. Then, they plundered their enemy’s camp. What was meant to be impending defeat was turned by a servant of the Lord into a moment of victory.
David’s work was still not finished. He took Goliath’s head to Jerusalem, the capital city, and proved to his nation that God gave them the victory. Israel’s national identity was restored. Their religious belief system was threatened but God met the challenge and remained undefeated. David kept Goliath’s weapons in his tent as a trophy and as a reminder of what the Lord had done.
We can speculate how the story might have been different if David did not complete the task. What if he had not run over to Goliath after killing him with his slingshot? Would the armies have been convinced that the giant was dead? If David did not cut off his head, would history have doubted that a shepherd boy felled a giant? This might have created conspiracy theories as to Goliath’s death. What if Israel had not chased the Philistine army, killed them, and plundered their camp? The Philistines might have regrouped quickly and challenged Israel much sooner. What if David did not take his opponent’s head into Jerusalem and keep his weapons? Possibly, this event might be perceived as a children’s fable and one that is void of historical accuracy.
David did complete his task! He responded in victory in ways that were culturally appropriate. His behavior proved to the world that he was a servant of the Lord and that he was a hero to the nation of Israel.
#6 As You Fight Your Battle, You Must Complete the Task (I Samuel 17:51-54).
As you battle your giant, please know that you must complete the task to ensure victory. Your encounter is not completed once the opponent is seemingly nullified in some fashion. You must take the appropriate steps to ensure the victory by completing post-battle steps, by regaining your sense of balance, and by establishing a new sense of normalcy in your life.
It is typical to hear testimonies of people who battled giants like addiction, relationship issues, or negative self-talk and find victory at the altar after prayer time. However, once they return home they neglect to complete the task. They believe that there is nothing more to do and neglect making necessary changes in their lives. This begins a cycle of battle, victory, and battle again. The cycle can be overcome by completing the task.
Jesus addressed this very issue in Matthew 12:43-45, “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”
To complete the task and gain victory over your giant, you must do whatever it takes to overcome previous negative behaviors and mindsets and replace them with that which is positive and edifying. Ephesians 4:25-32 is a prime example. Stop stealing and instead, work and do something useful with your hands. Stop the unwholesome talk and instead, speak only that which is wholesome and will benefit those who listen to you. Rid yourself of expressions of your character like bitterness, rage, and anger and replace it by being kind and compassionate and forgiving.
Let’s apply this principle to some true to life situations. First, if you are battling the giant of addictions you can complete the task by continuing to get help and reordering your life so that you fill it with proper responses and behaviors. If your addiction is pornography then take the practical steps of adding the appropriate content blockers on your computer, limit the amount of time you are online, place your computer in an open area where your family can watch you, and fill your mind with that which is wholesome and good. Obviously, there is so much more that can be written about this. But, the point is that you should not think that the giant in your life is defeated simply because you have a victory today. Go the extra mile and complete the task to rebuild and renew. This will equip and empower you when the giant tries to return.
A second example is how you respond to the giant of relationship issues. Often, you may take joy in winning a victory over your adversary. However, it really is not a victory until you admit your wrongs in the encounter, request forgiveness, give forgiveness, and seek to have that relationship restored, if possible. While this may not be possible due to the gravity of the situation, you must seek to honor God with our responses and thoughts.
A third example is how you respond to the giant of financial issues such as debt. You must seek to repay the debt, change your spending habits, and exercise financial discipline. When the debt is paid, you must ensure that you do not fall back into bad financial habits. Instead, you can thrive with positive actions that will ensure your victory.
A fourth example of completing the task is how you act once you have been forgiven of a wrong that you created or perpetuated. You know that seeking forgiveness and making changes in your behaviors and thoughts are very positive actions. What many people neglect though is the idea of making restitution. You may be surprised to learn that the Old Testament teaches us about restitution. For example, we read in Exodus 22:1, “If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and kills it or sells it, he shall repay five oxen for an ox, and four sheep for a sheep.”
In Luke 19:1-10, Jesus encountered a man named Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a tax collector which meant that he demanded more taxes from his countrymen that he was told to collect, gave what was required to the authorities, and kept the difference. As a result, the Bible described him as “a chief tax collector and was rich” (v. 2). When Zacchaeus met Jesus, his heart was changed forever. It seems that without prompting, he told Jesus that he would give one-half of his earnings to the poor and repay fourfold to those whom he defrauded. Jesus took his announcement of restitution as a genuine response and said, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham” (v. 9). Apparently, Zacchaeus understood the Old Testament teaching on restitution and voluntarily applied the principle as an expression of love to the Lord.
I cannot tell you what restitution should be as you battle your giant. But, with a pure heart, you can ask the Lord and He will speak to you. The point is that you must complete the task to gain total victory over your giant.
As you fight your battle and have victory for today, ask the Lord to help you see clearly what subsequent actions you should take to complete the task. When you follow His instructions, you will discover that this will bring complete victory. It will be one that you will remember, as encouragement, when you battle your next giant in your life journey.
Here is a biblical account of the story of a man who did not complete the task. May this not be your story!
After the death of Joshua, the nation of Israel experienced a debilitating cycle of rejecting God and serving pagan gods, God allowing Israel to experience life without Him, Israel crying out for help, God bringing rescue, and the cycle then repeats. You would think that they would understand that following God brings blessing and rejecting God brings death. Gideon entered the national scene during one of these cycles. The Midianites tormented Israel by invading their land and stealing their crops at harvest time. God called Gideon as he worked at a winepress to become a prophet to lead Israel in their battle against the Midianites. This fascinating story is found in Judges 6-8. God used Gideon in amazing ways to bring victory and Israel rejoiced. Though Gideon did not feel qualified to lead in this fight, he obeyed God. The height of his service came when Israel wanted him to be their king but he declined as he knew the nation needed to follow God.
While we remember Gideon fondly, the fact is that he did not complete his task of ending the debilitating cycle. The Midianites were defeated. Israel repented returned to a proper relationship with God. They had peace in the land for forty years and Gideon lived a long life. But, Gideon’s mistake was that he neglected to follow God.
When he received his share of the plunder of the Midianites, he turned the gold into an idol. He placed the idol in his home town for all to see. “All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it because a snare to Gideon and his family” (Judges 8:27). As soon as Gideon died, Israel rejected God and returned to idol worship. It was so bad that they even rejected Gideon’s family and all that he had done for them (see Judges 8:33-35).
Though Gideon was used by God to bring victory, he did not complete the task and the debilitating cycle continued. Instead of being someone we champion as a leader who followed God, Gideon was reduced to being another one who did not fulfill his potential. He did good but, at the end of his life, he did not complete his mission. May this not be our story!
YOUR ACTION RESPONSE
- Consider your battle you have now with your giant. What does the Bible teach that will help you in your battle? Also, consider what you will do after the battle is won. What actions and thoughts should you be planning in an effort to complete the task?
- Ask the Lord if you should make restitution so that you can complete the task. In some cases, this is the exact action that is necessary.