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Old and New Testament.
Or perhaps more accurately...
David's God 1Sa 17:45 vs Goliath's "gods"
The familiar story of David and
contains the 4th OT use of the LORD of hosts and teaches some
wonderful, liberating truths regarding this great Name of God. Read the
entire chapter (1Samuel 17) before you study the questions and notes below.
Ask the Spirit to guide you (observe
the 5W'S and H,
performing your own
Bible study) through this very familiar story, allowing yourself
to set aside preconceived impressions, and instead reading the text as if it
you were reading it for the
very first time (Interpretation). Focus on the obvious
(F.O.T.O) noting especially a number of
contrasts. Try to imagine what was going through the
participants mind (imagination not visualization!).
What do you learn
about God and about the man who follows hard after the LORD and who trusts
wholly in Jehovah Sabaoth?
WHAT IS THE
CONTEXT FOR THE EVENTS IN 1 SAMUEL 17?
Saul and the men of Israel were gathered and camped in the valley of
Elah and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines....Then
a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named
Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits
and a span. (9.75 ft
Here in one
corner we have the "behemoth" Goliath, towering over 9 feet and weighing in
at probably over 650 lbs, in turn clad in heavy armor, with 3 weapons
(spear, sword, javelin) and one armor bearer, twice a day for 40 days
bellowing like a man with a megaphone derisive taunts in the valley of
Elah, threatening and frightening the army of Israel, the army of the
"living God", paralyzing them with fear (isn't this the
potential effect fear can have on us all?
see study on
Fear, How to Handle It
cp studies on 
in 1Pe 5:7;
be anxious in Php
Jesus' solution "Do not be worried"
in Mt 6:25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34).
The Philistine's champion (Lit "man in the
challenged Israel to a "winner take all" duel
(although if you have read the entire story you know that the Philistines
were hardly men of integrity - cf 1Sa 17:9,51).
And so into this setting young David comes on the scene providentially (in
God's perfect timing) bringing provisions for his older brothers.
SAUL'S (and HIS ARMY'S) REACTION REACTION
TO GOLIATH CONTRAST WITH DAVID'S REACTION?
When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they
were dismayed and greatly afraid.
CONTRASTED WITH DAVID'S
"For who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should taunt the
armies of the
Saul and all
Israel were deeply dismayed (the word in the
Greek Septuagint pictures great astonishment, even to the point of "losing
On the other hand, David was deeply disturbed that an uncircumcised
outside of a covenant relationship with the Lord, cf Ge 17:9, 10, 11, 12,
13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27), would so
blatantly "defy” and heap shame upon “the armies of the living God.” Goliath’s words
were not just an insult directed against the Israeli forces but were also
an verbal attack against the integrity and character of “the living
God,” since the army was composed of members of the Lord’s covenant
people. Why then was there such a difference in reactions? Saul was
reacting in the flesh - walking by sight not faith. David was reacting in
the Spirit - walking by faith and not by sight.
WHY IS THERE SUCH A DRAMATIC DIFFERENCE IN REACTION TO GOLIATH?
1Sa 16:13, 14
Then Samuel took the horn of oil
anointed him in the midst of his brothers and the Spirit of the LORD
came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel arose and
went to Ramah. 14 Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul and an
evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him.
contrasts are not only dramatic but ironic:
God had given Israel what they wanted when they rejected Him as
their king (1Sa 8:7), instead asking for a human king so that they
might "be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go
out before us and fight our battles." (1Sa 8:19, 20). Yet do we see
Saul going out before them and taking up Goliath's challenge? No,
instead we see this man who was a head taller than all of his brethren
(see diagram at left depicting Goliath versus Saul versus the normal
Israelite - clearly Saul stood the greatest chance of victory in a
fight against the giant Goliath, 1Sa 9:2) and who had hidden by the
baggage on the day of his coronation (!) (1Sa 10:22) now trembling in
dismay and fear. What had happened to Saul of whom Scripture tells us
"Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you mightily...and be
changed into another man." (1Sa 10:6)
ironic that Israel had "rejected (abhorred, cast away, cast off,
despised, disdained, refused) (their) God, Who
delivers (Heb = yasha -
saves, helps, gives victory, preserves, avenges) (them) from all (their) calamities and (their) distresses"
(1Sa 10:19) for a human king, who chose to sacrifice rather than obey
(heed, hearken to) the voice of Jehovah (1Sa 15:22, 23) and who thereby "rejected
the word of the LORD" (cp what Nathan the prophet says King David did
with God and His Word in his infamous sin with Bathsheba and murder of
Uriah the Hittite - 2Sa 12:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14!!! Cp Nu 32:23, Pr
15:3, Josh 7:1, 18, 19, 20, 21, Eccl 12:14, Lk 12:2) Who in turn "also
rejected (Saul) from being
The next time we are
sorely tempted to reject the Word of the LORD, let us by His Spirit's
enablement be quick to recall to our mind Paul's exhortation to the
Now these things happened to
them (including Saul)
as an example (tupos
- word study) and they were written for our instruction
- word study), upon whom the ends
of the ages have come. (1Cor 10:6,11, cp Ro 15:4-note).
May His Spirit write it on our hearts the
Sin will always take us farther then
we want to go,
us longer than we want to stay and
Cost us more than we ever intended to pay.
Sow a thought, reap an
Sow an action, reap a habit
Sow a habit, reap a character
character, reap a destiny.
It all begins with a thought! ...so the
Watch over (Heb = natsar - preserve,
guard from danger, watch as a watchman over) your heart with all diligence
(Heb = mishmar - act of guarding as a guard at a post keeping watch),
(Why is watching over our
heart so important?) for from it flow the springs of life. (Pr 4:23-see
in depth notes)
Anything that increases the authority of the body over the mind is an
evil thing." - Susanna Wesley
Too many think lightly of sin, and
therefore think lightly of the Saviour. He who has stood before his God,
convicted and condemned, with the rope about his neck, is the man to weep
for joy when he is pardoned, to hate the evil which has been forgiven him
and to live to the honor of the Redeemer by Whose blood he has been
I would rather pass through seven years of the most
languishing sickness, than I would ever again pass through the terrible
discovery of the evil of sin. (Spurgeon)
Whatever weakens your reason. Whatever
impairs the tenderness of your conscious. Whatever obscures your sense of
God. Whatever increases the authority of your body over your mind.
Whatever takes away your relish for spiritual things, that to you is sin
no matter how innocent it is in itself. (Susanna Wesley responding to
Charles’ question about what is sin)
Read the following illustration of
what sin will do to a sinner or a saint (saved sinner):
We need a
fixed reference point: During the 1980s five men spent 80 days
orbiting the Earth. There were many adjustments to make. 1) They had no
way to take baths so they had to wash with a damp towel. 2) During every
24 hour period they saw 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets. 3) Eating was always a
problem because you had to keep up with your food. If you started to put a
bite in your mouth and paused to say something your hand and fork would
stop but the food would proceed at the same rate and splatter all over
your face. 4) If you tried to turn a screw you would find your whole body
turning instead. 5) What they saw as the biggest frustration was their was
no point of reference. They were in a cylinder and there was no
way to tell which way was up. There was no fixed vertical. The
men came back confused, exhausted and miserable.
The preceding story is probably a
fairly accurate description of Saul and the Israeli army during those 40
days of intimidation by the "consequences of their sin".
Even as the Spirit of the LORD of hosts had departed from Saul (1Sa 10:6
contrasted with 1Sa 16:14) leaving him
devoid of spiritual power (cp Samson - Jdg 14:6, 19-note,
one of the saddest verses in the Bible = Jdg 16:20-note) He in turn came mightily upon David from that
day forward (1Sa 16:13). So when David walked into the scene of "dismay and great fear",
he came as a man empowered by the Spirit of the LORD of hosts. David did
not shrink back in fear from the giant because he had personal experience
with the presence and power of the LORD of hosts (see
and he understood the principle that our "Commander"
not given us a spirit of timidity (deilia), but of power
and discipline (sophronismos) (2Ti
David like Paul
did not shrink
from declaring... the whole purpose of God. (Acts 20:27).
Little wonder that David would later write the encouraging words of
"The LORD is my light and my
salvation. Whom shall I fear? (Goliath?) The LORD is the defense of my life. Whom shall I dread ?"
Whatever or whoever your "Goliath" is
today recall to your mind
the truth (cp Php 4:8-note)
about the LORD of the armies (hosts) remembering that...
If God is for
us, who is against us? (Ro 8:31-note)
greater is He who is in you than
he who is in the world
though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,
for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful
for the destruction of fortresses"...and that...
we are destroying speculations
and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God...taking
every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2Corinthians 10:3, 4,
and finally that...
in all these things (What things?
[Remember to always
5W'S & H] Ro 8:35, 36-note) we
overwhelmingly conquer (hupernikao-
word study) through Him (see
study on the phrase
= Christ) Who loved us."
HOW DOES THIS
TRUTH PARALLEL THE TRUTH IN ZECHARIAH 4:6-7?
in mind, noting that the
Zechariah take place after 50,000 Jews had returned from Babylonian exile and
had begun rebuilding the LORD's Temple some 15 years earlier, only to cease
the project because of external opposition and internal apathy toward the
LORD's work. In this passage note Who is personally encouraging
Zerubbabel with the truth
that he has the "supplies" necessary to finish the Temple:
Then he (Angel
of the LORD
cp Zech 3:6, 4:1, 4, 5) said to me
(Zechariah), "This is the word of the LORD to
saying, 'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the
LORD of hosts. 7 'What are you, O great mountain? Before
Zerubbabel you will become a plain and he will bring forth the top stone
with shouts of "Grace, grace (Hebrew =
chen - 02580;
= Greek word
charis - see word study) to it!"'
So clearly the
LORD's work will be accomplished in the LORD's power -- by His Spirit not
by the arm of flesh. As we have discussed above, David had been
clothed mightily with the Spirit (1Sa 16:13).
Here in Zechariah 4 the LORD of hosts reminded Zerubbabel (and
all believers of all ages) that when faced with impossible odds and intense
resistance, we need to remember that the "mountain" will be made into a
plain not by our MIGHT nor by our POWER, but by the Spirit of the LORD of
hosts. David had come to understand this empowering truth while pasturing
sheep and protecting them from predators. David recognized His source of
strength - yes, David personally had killed the lion and bear (Man's
Responsibility) but he understood that His deliverance was by the hand of
the LORD of hosts (God's sovereignty). And we too must learn this
same lesson in our private battles with predators, be they tempting
thoughts or ruthless enemies. Then we will be prepared to experience
victory in the public arena in the power of the Spirit of the LORD of
Spurgeon rightly reminds every
Unless the Spirit of God be upon us (cp
Jn 15:5, Ep 5:18-note,
we have no might from within and no means from without to rely upon. Wait
upon the Lord (Ed: Have you
ever done a study on "waiting" on Jehovah?
- take a moment and make a list of
truths associated with such a glorious wait -- Ps 25:3, 21-notes,
Ps 37:7, 8, 9, 34-notes;
of Israel redeemed from Egypt = Ps 106:13-notes;
Isa 8:17, 40:31), beloved, and seek strength from Him alone (cp Ep 3:16-note,
There cannot come out of you what has not been put into you. You must
receive and then give out.
Martin Luther said it well...
Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing;
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
hymn - A Mighty Fortress is Our God)
HOW DOES DAVID RESPOND TO GOLIATH'S CHALLENGE?
..."Let no man's heart fail on account of him. Your servant
will go and fight with this Philistine."
OPPOSITION DOES DAVID ENCOUNTER? WHERE DOES OPPOSITION EMANATE FROM MOST
Now 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."
Then Saul said to
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
While David is
trying to encourage the army, his own brother Eliab (who incidentally had
been passed over by God for anointing by Samuel in 1Sa16:6, 7) slandered
his character and wrongly judged his motives, trying to discourage him (1Sa
17:28). Note that David proves himself to be a man after God's own heart
(1Sa 13:14, Acts 13:22), bearing the rebuke meekly.
Whenever you step out by faith, others will often put obstacles in your
way. Our adversary the devil, always has somebody to tell us “it can’t be
done.” Saul also tried to dissuade David saying “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." (1Sa17:33). In a sense Saul
(unknowingly) was correct for David, in himself, was not able, but in the
power of the Spirit of the LORD of Sabaoth he was equipped to overcome
even the most formidable foe. (Phil 4:13-note;
Eph 3:20, 21-note).
David unlike his brother Eliab and his king Saul was walking "by faith,
not by sight" (2Cor 5:7)
David believed what
could not be proven at that moment, a beautiful OT example of "the conviction of things
not seen" (Heb 11:1-note)
as he walked by faith, not sight (2Co 5:7).
He may have sounded foolish to the skeptics (those who manifested
attitudes of doubt or dispositions toward incredulity to David's words) around him, but he knew that
the LORD of Hosts Whom he served would show Himself to be the true and
living God, the mighty Warrior on behalf of His covenant people. (Ex 15:3,
cp Ps 20:7-note)
Some boast in chariots, and
some in horses; but we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.
cp Dt 17:16, 20:1, speaking of Sennacherib of mighty Assyria = 2Chr 32:8,
21, 22, 23; 2Chr 20:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24; Ps
33:16, 17; 20, 21-note;
Ps 147:10, 11-note;
Pr 21:31; Eccl 9:11, Isa 31:1, Jer 17:5, 6, 7, 8)
Where do you run for help? When you
are in trouble, what is you first instinct? Do you run to others or to
God? Is it usually the counsel of another rather than the counsel found in
waiting upon God in prayer? Why is this?
Why do we run to man before we run to our all sufficient God (Isa 50:2,
59:1)? Could it be because we don't really KNOW our God? Could it be said
of most believers in the America today "I boast in the Name of the Lord my
God and not in chariots or horses (or my 401K, or my advanced learning
degree, or my excellent job, etc)"?
To boast in something ultimately
reflects our confidence in that in which we boast. It is the idea of
placing one's trust in another, in this case in Jehovah of the Armies! To
boast in God's name then means to have confidence in His name. Remember
that in Biblical times a name represented a person's character. Thus God's
name represents His character, His attributes, His ways. And to know His
name is to know Him. To boast in His name is to have confidence in Who He
says He is and what He promises to do on behalf of those who by grace
through faith are in His family (Jn 1:12, 13). In the day of trouble (Ps
Nahum 1:7) or need, we are to run to our God, to put our trust in Him. In
the day of trouble or need, we are to run into the strong tower of the
Name of our God, putting our trust in Him (Pr 18:10-note).
Is your heart troubled right now? Is fear lurking in the shadows of your
consciousness? Do you feel insecure about anything in this turbulent,
tumultuous world? Take these thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ,
specifically to the Name of the LORD of hosts, your God Who Alone is the
One who is able to set you securely on high. Then boast in His name. David
had a great name, but the name of the Lord is much greater. Some people
have names that cannot be trusted, but God’s name has never failed one of
His saints. Your days of trouble can become days of triumph if you trust
in the name of the Lord.
Immediately before the encounter with the Philistine
(David) fought a battle which cost him far more thought, prudence, and
patience. The word-battle in which he had to engage with his brothers and
with king Saul, was a more trying ordeal to him than going forth in the
strength of the Lord to smite the uncircumcised boaster. Many a man meets
with more trouble from his friends than from his enemies; and when he has
learned to overcome the depressing influence of prudent friends, he makes
short work of the opposition of avowed adversaries.
David Guzik echoes Spurgeon's
When David was misunderstood and rebuked, publicly, by his
own brother, probably amid the laughs of the other soldiers, he could have
blown it. But he showed the strength of the armor of God in his life, and
replied rightly. He didn’t care about his glory or success, but only for
the glory and success of the Lord’s cause. Goliath was a dead man right
then! This is where the battle was won! If Eliab’s hurtful words can get
David in the flesh, and out of the flow of the Spirit of the Lord, then
David’s strength is gone. But when David ruled his spirit (see Pr 16:32,
25:28, 1Co 9:24, 25, 26, 27) and answered softly, he was more in step with the Spirit of the Lord
than ever. You could start digging Goliath’s grave right then!
HOW DID DAVID CONVINCE SAUL THAT
HE WAS WILLING and ABLE TO FIGHT GOLIATH?
1Sa 17:36, 37
"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." 37 and David said, "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, "Go and may the LORD be with you."
Saul tried to
fit David with armor, but since he had not tested it, David refused (1Sa
17:38, 39). Saul
reasoned that if David was going to beat Goliath who was massively armed
defended (1Sa 17:5, 6, 7), he would need the best armor in Israel - the
armor of the king. Saul saw the battle with eyes of flesh while David saw
the battle with eyes of faith. David did not face Goliath unarmed. To the
natural man (1Cor 2:14, 2Cor 4:18) it of course looked that way. However
to those enabled to see with eyes of faith (2Co 5:7, Ep 1:18, 19-note) David had
much better armor than the king of Israel for he possessed the
supernatural armor of the King of kings (Re 17:14-note,
Re 19:16-note) available to every child of the
King! Saul had a bronze helmet, but David had "the helmet of salvation"
Saul had armor, but David had a "breastplate of righteousness" (Eph 6:14-note).
Saul had a spear, but David had the "sword of the Spirit, which is the
word of God." (Eph 6:17-note).
Indeed, David had the "full armor" of God! (Eph 6:11-note).
That same armor was available to Saul and at one time he had it. But now,
Saul only trusted in man’s armor and that is why David is going out to face
Goliath, and Saul is on the sideline.
David had been tested and prepared for this task by God with his private
victories over the lion and bear while caring for his sheep and these made
possible the public victories (1Sa 17:34, 35, 36, 37) to the glory of God.
If we are faithful in our private battles, God will see us through the
public testing. Too often we faint at the smallest test that comes our
way, little realizing that the “little tests” are but preparation for the
bigger battles that are sure to come (see Jer 12:5). In 1Samuel 17 we see
that a seemingly trivial errand to provide provision for his brothers led
to a challenging situation that brought glory to God and recognition to
David. The point is that all believers should adhere to the Boy Scout
motto -- BE PREPARED.
As Paul exhorted young Timothy
if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for
honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work."
We never know when our opportunity
might come. If God has called you to a task, He'll equip you for the
completion. Use what He has given you, and you'll see what He can do with
little things. The Lord uses small tools to perform large tasks.
what God has given you,
Count not its worth as small;
God does not ask of you great things,
Just faithfulness--that's all! -- Bosch
WAS DAVID'S CONFIDENCE?
David focused on
the LORD of hosts (cp He 12:2-note),
Who had delivered him in the past and Who he confidently affirms "will deliver me." Do we really believe that the LORD
of hosts will deliver us when "Goliath-like" adversity or adversaries
confront us? (see 1Co
10:13-notes) God will deliver us. He has promised to bring us to our
He who began a good work in you will perfect
(accomplish, complete) it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Php 1:6-note).
cp Ro 8:28-note,
Ro 8:29 -
note = notice the ultimate purpose =
conformity to the image of His Son)
God may choose to deliver us FROM
our trial or to deliver us IN the midst of trial, but He will
deliver us! (cp the testimony of Shadrach, et al, when faced with fiery
trial Daniel 3:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19)
The LORD of hosts to Whom David entrusted himself in his hour of great
need is the same yesterday, today and yes tomorrow (Heb13:8-note).
Let us run confidently into the immutable (see
Attribute = unchangeable) Strong Tower of Jehovah Sabaoth
and we will be safe (Pr 18:10-note)
WOULD YOU CONTRAST SAUL'S SOLUTION TO THE GIANT WITH DAVID'S SOLUTION?
Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his
head, and he clothed him with armor. 39 David girded his sword over his
armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to
Saul, "I cannot go with these, for I have not tested (Heb = nacah -
"assayed", proved) them." And David took them off. 40 He took his stick in
his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put
them in the shepherd's bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling
was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.
Did you notice
that even after giving David a blessing (or prayer) in the Name of the
LORD, Saul still had to rely on human wisdom, reasoning that if David were
adequately equipped, he would have a better chance for victory. David
however as discussed above had already been clothed with the Spirit and
thus he had the full armor of the LORD. All David needed was the 5
"S's" - Stick, Stones, Shepherd's bag, Sling and Spirit, for he was
looking not at what could be seen but what was unseen (cf 2Co 4:18
the LORD of hosts. As an aside, it is interesting to note that Saul was
from the tribe of Benjamin, the tribe specifically mentioned in (Judges
Out of all these people 700 choice men (Benjaminites) were
left-handed each one could sling a stone at a hair and not
miss. (Hebrew for "miss"
= chata translated elsewhere in Scripture as "sin" meaning to
"miss the mark"!)
This fact adds a touch of irony to
David's use of the slingshot as his weapon of choice to fell Goliath. Had
Saul, a Benjaminite, been trained to use this weapon?
GOLIATH DISDAIN DAVID?
the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer,
in front of him. 42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained
(Heb = bazah - regarded w/ contempt, despised, consider worthless) him for
he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. 43 The
Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?"
And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine also said
to David, "Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky
and the beasts of the field."
In essence Goliath was not just
cursing David but David's God, emphasizing that although this was a battle
between two men, in another sense it was clearly a spiritual battle "for
our struggle (Gk = pale - wrestling - a contest between two in which each
endeavors to throw the other and which is decided when the victor is able to
hold his opponent down w/ his hand upon his neck) is not against flesh and
blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the
world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness
in the heavenly places" (Eph 6:12-note)
and we too like David need to daily "therefore
= command to do this now, signifying the necessity and urgency of the action
commanded) the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist (Gk -
anthistemi - set one's self against, oppose, withstand, cf Jas 4:7) in the
evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." (Eph 6:13-note)
WHAT WAS DAVID'S
STRATEGY? DAVID'S PROPHECY? DAVID'S ULTIMATE PURPOSE?
1Samuel 17:45, 46, 47
Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a
spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the Name of the LORD of
hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.
46 "This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, (cf
Dt 20:1, 2, 3, 4) and I will strike you down and remove your head from you.
And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this
day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that
all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that
all this assembly may 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
The terms of
conflict were not at all as they appeared. David perceived the battle to
be between blasphemous mortal man on one side and the power of the Lord of
hosts on the other. Goliath was outclassed but being a natural man, he did
"not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they (were)
foolishness to him and he (could not) understand them, because they are
ultimate purpose was to bring glory to God throughout "all the world". To
give glory means to give a proper opinion of God and throughout the ages all
the world has heard about David's improbable victory because of his
Almighty God. Not only would the world know about God but Israel would
also understand that God's ways are
transcendent and are not like man's ways. God's deliverance is
never by the "arm of flesh" ("sword or spear") but by the arm of the LORD
of hosts, a mighty Warrior Who is over all the armies of heaven and earth.
The Battle belongs to the LORD.
Meyer in his devotional exposition on David lists characteristics of those
who do battle in the Name of the LORD:
Their motives are pure
-- Though David was accused of having evil motives, his motives were in
fact pure. He was motivated by a true love for the LORD, and for the glory
and honor of the Lord.
They are willing to let the Lord lead
the battle. David did this at the
prompting of God, not his own flesh.
They place no confidence in the flesh.
David would not wear Saul’s armor.
They are willing to stand alone.
David was willing to fight all alone.
soldiers of Israel saw Goliath, they thought to themselves, “He is so big
that we can never kill him.” When David
Goliath, he thought to himself, “He is so big that I cannot miss him."
David maintained a proper perspective because he focused on the Person of
His trustworthy covenant keeping LORD rather than upon the "problem" of
the taunting Philistine. Though Goliath was naturally equipped with
impressive size to which was added military attire, David was
supernaturally armed with "the name of the LORD of Hosts”. As we
have seen so often in the Names of God series, the name of a person
represents the totality of that individual's being. And so it was clear to
David, that the LORD over all the armies of heaven and earth dwarfed the
giant of flesh on earth
(1Sa 17:26, 36). By walking out
in faith that the Lord of Hosts was his strength and sufficiency, David was
clarifying that Goliath was not just confronting David but the Living God
Himself (1Sa 17:47).
LIVING IN THE LIGHT OF THE
TRUTH OF GOD'S WORD:
We need to ask God to search our
How big is the giant in my life? How big is God in my
Whose arm am I trusting in?...the arm of flesh? ...or
the arm of the LORD of hosts
Where is my focus in the battle? ...on the "giants" or
on the LORD of hosts?
What is my perspective on the "giants" in my life?
Am I like Saul? ...It's
too big - there is no hope of victory.
Am I like David? ...It's
too big - I can't miss!
Am I remaining faithful in the private struggles that I
might be fruitful in the public battles?...that all may know there is a
Both Hannah and David called upon the Lord of hosts and found
deliverance through His marvelous Name, Jehovah Sabaoth.. Deliverance is there for
well - whatever our extremity. Every extremity is another opportunity to practice
living in the light of the truth that sets us free and sets us apart, making
us more like Jesus. But note that this name (or any of the other "Strong
Towers" in this study) cannot be used as an amulet or talisman around
one's neck and it cannot be spoken out as if it were a magical
incantation. It is absolutely crucial to remember that it is the RIGHTEOUS who run into
this Name and are kept safe
Study the other occurrence of the LORD of
1 Samuel 4 below for insights into who can expect deliverance
in the Strong Tower of the LORD of hosts. This is crucial for every saint
to understand if we would truly bask in the experiential truth that we are
"more than conquerors
through Him who loved us."
By whom was David
To aim the dreadful blow,
When he Goliath fought,
And laid the Gittite low?
No sword nor spear the stripling took,
But chose a pebble from the brook.
'Twas Israel's God
Who sent him to the fight;
Who gave him strength to fling,
And skill to aim aright.
Ye feeble saints your strength endures,
Because young David's God is yours.
Jehovah Nissi, the LORD My Banner
--by William Cowper
TO DEFEAT THE PHILISTINES
This episode is the third use of
"LORD of hosts" in 1 Samuel and teaches truths that amplify those we have
seen in Hannah's story in 1 Samuel 1 and in David against Goliath in 1 Samuel
17. Specifically we learn who can "run into the strong tower of the Name of
the LORD of hosts" and expect God's help. The principle applies to all of
the Name of God.
WHAT DO WE
LEARN ABOUT SAMUEL'S "CREDENTIALS" IN ISRAEL? (1Sa 3:19-4:1a)
1 Samuel 3:19
Thus Samuel grew (Heb = gadal -
grow physically but also be magnified, become great) and the LORD was
with him and let none of his words fail (literally = "fall to the
ground" - which would confirm Samuel as a true prophet, cp Dt
18:22, cp Dt 13:1, 2, 3, 4, 5). 20 All Israel from
Dan even to
Beer Sheba knew that Samuel
was confirmed as a prophet of the LORD 21 And the LORD appeared again
Shiloh, because the LORD revealed Himself to Samuel at
the word of the LORD.
It is quite clear
that Samuel's stature as a prophet increased and whatever he said came to pass
because Jehovah was with him, thus everyone in Israel knew he spoke for the
LORD. In fact notice that a poorly chosen chapter break separates 2 parallel
phrases: "the word of the LORD" (1Samuel 3:21) and "the word of Samuel" (1Samuel
so that clearly “the word of the Lord” (1Sa 3:21) has become equivalent to “the
word of Samuel.” It is also interesting that the chapter begins with the
phrase "word from the LORD was rare in those days" (1Samuel
3:1) and ends
with revelation of the "word of the LORD".
Click on the map below and
Dan is far north and
Beer Sheba is 150 miles south, thus the phrase
"Dan to Beersheba" was a common idiom stating that the entire country of
Israel. Clearly Samuel is making the point that he was God's man
in Israel and that everyone knew it.
WHAT WAS ISRAEL'S PROBLEM? HOW DID THE ELDERS RESPOND --THEIR QUESTION?
1 Samuel 4:1
word of Samuel came to all Israel.
Now Israel went out to meet the
Philistines in battle and camped beside
Ebenezer ("stone of help" -
Eben-ezer) while the
= "fortress"). 2 The Philistines drew up in battle array to meet Israel.
When the battle spread, Israel was defeated before the Philistines who
killed about four thousand men on the battlefield. 3a When the people came
into the camp, the elders of Israel said, "Why has the LORD defeated us
today before the Philistines?
permission. For use contact VisualBibleAlive.com - to download free copy
period of the judges through the end of David’s reign, the Philistines were
an persistent problem for Israel.
Ebenezer ("stone of help" -
Eben-ezer) is about 2-3 miles from
Aphek and the site of a virtual carnage of Israeli soldiers at the hands of
Philistines. From their question ("why has the LORD defeated us"?)
the elders clearly understood that Jehovah was in control of the events that
resulted in their defeat. And yet they seem to have only partial
understanding of why they had been defeated. What should the elders
have known? From (Dt 28:1,7, 15, 26) the elders should have known
that obedience brings blessing and disobedience brings cursing. So in a
sense they blamed the LORD for a defeat which they had brought on themselves
by their rebellion and disobedience. Even more surprising is where they did
not go for counsel. Whose credentials had clearly been established in all of
Israel? Obviously God's prophet, none of whose words fell to the ground. And
yet they did not seek Samuel's counsel but leaned on their own
understanding. Remember that we are still in the last of the days of the
Judges, so it is not surprising to see a continuation of the the behavioral
pattern where "every man did what was right in his own eyes" (Jdg
Ark of the Covenant
Map of Shiloh @ right
Click to enlarge
SOLUTION DID THE ELDERS PROPOSE TO AVERT FURTHER LOSSES TO THE PHILISTINES?
Let us take to ourselves from
Ark of the Covenant of the LORD, that IT may come among us and deliver (Heb =
yasha - save, give victory to, preserve, avenge, defend) us from the power
(literally "the hand of" - see related phrase "hand of the LORD" -
sometimes for good, sometimes for bad - Ex 9:3; Dt 2:15; Jos.
4:24; 22:31; Jdg 2:15; Ru 1:13; 1Sa 5:6, 9; 7:13; 12:15; 2Sa 24:14; 1 Ki. 18:46; 2 Ki 3:15; 1Chr 21:13; Ezra 7:6, 28; Job
12:9; Ps 75:8; 118:15, 16; Pr 21:1; Is 19:16; 25:10; 41:20;
62:3; 66:14; Je 51:7; Ezek 1:3; 3:14, 22; 8:1; 33:22; 37:1; 40:1;
Lk 1:66; Ac 11:21; 13:11) of our enemies." 4 So the people sent to Shiloh,
and from there they carried the ark of the
covenant of the LORD of hosts who sits above the
cherubim; and the two sons
Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the
Ark of the Covenant of God.
5 As the ark of the covenant of the LORD came into the camp, all Israel
shouted with a great shout, so that the earth resounded.
Notice the impetuosity of the leaders -
they had just ask a question but now they seem unwilling to wait for an
answer. The elders thought that all they needed was the physical presence
of the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts. They assumed that since
the ARK had gone before the people at the miraculous drying up of the
Jordan (Josh 3:14, 15, 16) (they were even instructed to make a stone
memorial Josh 4:5, 6, 7) and led the procession around Jericho prior to
its fall (Josh 6), that surely once again deliverance would come about
from the physical presence of the ARK. Or perhaps they remembered Moses
words in (Nu 10:35)
Then it came about when the
ark set out that Moses said, "Rise up, O LORD! And let Your enemies be
scattered, and let those who hate You flee before You.
But they were wrong.
They superstitiously sought the ark as if it were a magical charm or
talisman, when they should have been solemnly supplicating the Savior,
Jehovah Sabaoth. They fell prey to self deception (cf Israel's attitude in
Jer 7:8, 9, 10, 11) and failed to distinguish between ritual religion and
right (and righteous) relationship. They focused on the symbol and missed the
Substance. They were "holding to a form of godliness, although they have
denied its power" (2Ti 3:5-note)
They were like the wicked generation Jeremiah later castigated for a
similar trusting in deceptive words saying almost like a mantra or magical
incantation "The temple of the LORD. The temple of the LORD" (Jer 7:4, 5,
6, 7) and to whom he had these scathing words
But go now to My place which was in
Shiloh, where I made My name dwell at the first, and see what I did to it
because of the wickedness of My people Israel. "And now, because you have
done all these things" declares the LORD, "and I spoke to you, rising up
early and speaking, but you did not hear and I called you but you did not
answer therefore, I will do to the house which is called by My name, in
which you trust and to the place which I gave you and your fathers as I did
And so here we see them
Shiloh for the
Ark of the Covenant of the LORD of hosts,
the LORD of Israel armies. But their hearts were not right before Him.
(Jer 7:4, 5, 6,7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15) And the fact that they
failed to run to God's "mouthpiece", Samuel, strongly suggests the elders
and the people were in wrong relationship and in need of repentance. The ARK
was not the first physical object Israel had turned into an object of
superstitious worship. When the children who had sinned in the wilderness
wanderings and were being destroyed by fiery serpents, God had provided a
bronze (Heb = nechosheth) serpent to look upon and live, picturing the
judgment of sin and the provision of life (Nu 21:5, 6, 7, 8, 9).
Tragically Israel had turned the bronze serpent (which Jesus later
referred to as a type of His death on the cross - Jn 3:14)
into an idol (see
Serpent Worship). And finally after over
700 years of idolatrous worship,
the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah.
He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until
those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it and it was called
can be translated as "a thing of brass" or even somewhat
contemptuously as a "(worthless) piece of brass".
As Paul had warned the church at
Colossae years later these are
are a mere shadow of what is to come but the substance belongs to Christ. (Col
anything in my life right now I am trusting in for deliverance other than
Jesus, my Jehovah Sabaoth? Perhaps I'm trusting in my religious observance
of my quiet time or the fact that I've memorized all of Romans or the fact
that I teach Sunday School. We all have this natural tendency from Adam to
put on our own "fig leaves", forgetting that to obey is better than
sacrifice. Religion never delivers -- only righteousness delivers. And so
we see in the following verses the tragic consequences of trusting in
"shadows" rather than the "substance" - the LORD of hosts
that the shadow represented. "There is a way which seems right to a
man, but its end is the way of death." (Pr 14:12)
WERE THE CONSEQUENCES OF ISRAEL LEANING ON ITS OWN UNDERSTANDING?
(Pr 3:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
When the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, "What
does the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?"
Then they understood that the ark of the LORD had come into the
camp. 7 The Philistines were afraid, for they said, "God has come
into the camp." And they said, "Woe to us! For nothing like this has
happened before. 8 "Woe to us! Who shall deliver us from the hand
of these mighty gods? These are the gods who smote the Egyptians
with all kinds of plagues in the wilderness. 9 "Take courage and be
men, O Philistines, or you will become slaves to the Hebrews, as
they have been slaves to you; therefore, be men and fight." 10 So
the Philistines fought and Israel was defeated, and every man fled
to his tent; and the slaughter was very great, for there fell of
Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. 11 And the ark of God was
taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
Eli's sons were "worthless
men " who did not "did not
LORD" (1Sa 2:12 "sons of
belial" noting that "belial" is a word used by Paul for Satan in
2Cor 6:15 see
Belial - Naves,
Belial - Fausset's,
Belial - ISBE,
Greek - belial
Hebrew - belial), and "the sin of the
young men was very great before the LORD, for the men
despised (spurned, rejected) the
offering of the LORD " (1Sa 2:17)
and even went so far as to "lay with the women who served at the
doorway of the tent of meeting." (1Sa 2:22).
And these were the men commissioned to watch over and carry the holy ark of
the covenant, which should have conveyed a sense of fear and reverential awe
instead of an attitude of contempt! Little wonder that God's presence and
power were not manifestly present in the face of such wanton, flagrant sin
(a lesson for all of us by the way). "The fear of the LORD
prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be shortened." (Pr
Leaning on human reasoning instead of casting their burden on the LORD (Ps
cost Israel 30,000 lives and loss of the ark of the covenant, the symbol of
the LORD of Sabaoth's presence in their midst.
WERE THE IMMEDIATE REPERCUSSIONS FROM LOSS OF THE ARK? WHAT HAPPENED
TO THE GLORY OF THE LORD?
Then the one who brought the news
replied, "Israel has fled before the Philistines and there has also
been a great slaughter among the people, and your two sons also,
Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been taken." 18
When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell off the seat backward
beside the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for he was old
and heavy. Thus he judged Israel forty years. 19 Now his
daughter-in-law, Phinehas' wife, was pregnant and about to give birth;
and when she heard the news that the ark of God was taken and that her
father-in-law and her husband had died, she kneeled down and gave
birth, for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death
the women who stood by her said to her, "Do not be afraid, for you
have given birth to a son." But she did not answer or pay attention
(cp Ps 77:2-note).
21 And she called the boy
Ichabod, (from Hebrew = 'iy
= not + kabod = glory, to be heavy, to be honored - literally
"no glory" or "inglorious" and so "the glory has
departed" or "where is the glory?" or "the glory is not") saying,
The glory has departed
because the ark of God was taken
and because of her father-in-law and her husband. (For more in depth
discussion of the glory of the LORD, the Shekinah, see
Overview of The Glory of the LORD)
She did not answer or pay attention
- Literally she did not set her heart (the "control center" of our
being, that entity which determines what we are, what we think and feel,
what we decide, etc). Spurgeon commenting on a similar to the last
part of Ps 77:2 said of the psalmist (similar to the reaction of Phinehas'
He refused some comforts as too weak for
his case, others as untrue, others as unhallowed; but chiefly because of
distraction, he declined even those grounds of consolation which ought to
have been effectual with him. As a sick man turns away even from the most
nourishing food, so did he. It is impossible to comfort those who refuse
to be comforted. You may bring them to the waters of the promise, but
who shall make them drink if they will not do so? Many a daughter of
despondency has pushed aside the cup of gladness, and many a son of
sorrow has hugged his chains. There are times when we are suspicious of
good news, and are not to be persuaded into peace, though the happy truth
should be as plain before us as the King's highway. (See also Spurgeon's
A Sermon for the Most Miserable of Men)
(Spurgeon quotes Thomas Brooks)
- Poor I, that am but of yesterday, have known some that have been so deeply
plunged in the gulf of despair, that they would throw all the spiritual
cordials that have been tendered to them against the walls. They were strong
in reasoning against their own souls, and resolved against everything that
might be a comfort and support unto them. They have been much set against
all ordinances and religious services; they have cast off holy duties
themselves, and peremptorily refused to join with others in them; yea, they
have, out of a sense of sin and wrath, which hath laid hard upon them,
refused the necessary comforts of this life, even to the overthrow of
natural life, and yet out of this horrible pit, this hell upon earth, hath
God delivered their souls, and given them such manifestations of his grace
and favour, that they would not exchange them for a thousand worlds. O
despairing souls, you see that others, whose conditions have been as bad if
not worse than yours, have obtained mercy. God hath turned their hell into a
heaven; he hath remembered them in their low estate; he hath pacified their
raging consciences, and quieted their distracted souls; he hath wiped all
tears from their eyes; and he hath been a well spring of life unto their
hearts. Therefore be not discouraged, O despairing souls, but look up to the
mercyseat. Thomas Brooks.
Glory has departed - Henry Morris
(Defender's Study Bible) "The presence of the Lord the "Shekinah glory"
(Exodus 13:21) dwelled in the tabernacle, over the ark "between the
cherubims" (1Samuel 4:4), and neither the ark nor the tabernacle were ever
to be moved unless the glory cloud itself, representing the Lord's presence,
moved first. The presumptuous act of the elders, with Hophni and Phinehas,
in taking the ark out of the tabernacle into the army camp resulted in the
tragic loss of the "glory" itself, along with the divine presence."
brief but tragic "staccato like" scene we encounter one of the darkest days in
Israel's history. Shiloh would forevermore by a name associated with the
LORD's righteous judgment instead of His majestic glory (cf Jer 7:4, 5, 6,
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
As the psalmist later wrote "Some boast in chariots and some in horses, (or
superstitiously in the physical presence of the ARK) but we will boast in
the name of the LORD, our God. They have bowed down and fallen, (34,000 +4)
but we have risen and stood upright." (Ps 20:7, 8)
The Hebrew word for "boast" is "zakar" and means to bring to one's
remembrance, to call to mind, to remember, to make a memorial. Oh, had
Israel only "boasted" in the LORD of hosts instead of the ARK of the LORD.
C. H. Spurgeon commenting on
We will remember the Name of the Lord our God. "Our God" in
covenant, Who has chosen us and Whom we have chosen; this God is our God.
The Name of our God is JEHOVAH, and this should never be forgotten; the self
existent, independent, immutable, ever present, all filling I AM. Let us
adore that matchless Name, and never dishonor It by distrust or creature
confidence. Reader, you must know It before you can remember It. May the
blessed Spirit reveal It graciously to your soul!
Yes, God's Name is a Strong Tower
for us to call on, but we can't misuse it. If we would seek deliverance, we
must first seek Him in righteousness, righteousness that He Alone provides
and which is manifest by obedience that genuine faith produces. Then we will
be safe in the Strong Tower of His Name.
Click to enlarge
RIGHT WAY TO DEFEAT
Fortunately the story of the ark of the
covenant of the LORD of hosts doesn't end in 1 Samuel 4, and carries over
into the next 3 chapters forming in essence a literary "unit", the
Ark being mentioned some 39 times in these 4
chapters (1Sa 4-7). For the travels of the ark we refer you to the
interesting "itinerary" found in
1 Samuel 5 and
1 Samuel 6. In 1 Samuel 7 we come full
circle to Ebenezer, the stone of help, where Israel had camped in
(1Sa 4:2) but at this second Ebenezer we learn the "right way" to defeat
the Philistines (including the "Philistines" in your life).
HOW DID ISRAEL DEFEAT THE PHILISTINES IN 1SAMUEL 7? HOW WAS THE EVENT
And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took the ark of the LORD and
brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and consecrated
Eleazar his son to keep the ark of the LORD. 2 From the day that the
ark remained at Kiriath-jearim, the time was long, for it was twenty
years; and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD.
3 Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, "If
you return to the LORD with all your heart, remove the foreign gods
and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your hearts to the LORD
and serve Him alone; and He will deliver you from the hand of the
Philistines." 4 So the sons of Israel removed the Baals and the
Ashtaroth and served the LORD alone. Then Samuel said, "Gather all
Israel to Mizpah and I will pray to the LORD for you." 6 They
gathered to Mizpah, and drew water and poured it out before the
LORD, and fasted on that day and said there, "We have sinned against
the LORD." And Samuel judged the sons of Israel at
there are several distinct geographical uses of Mizpah, the meaning
in all is "watchtower" and was first used in association with the
cutting of a covenant between Jacob and Laban, suggesting the idea of
mutual accountability Ge 31:49).
7 Now when the Philistines heard
that the sons of Israel had gathered to Mizpah, the lords of the
Philistines went up against Israel. And when the sons of Israel
heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. 8 Then the sons of
Israel said to Samuel, "Do not cease to cry to the LORD our God for
us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines." 9 Samuel
took a suckling lamb and offered it for a whole burnt offering to
the LORD; and Samuel cried to the LORD for Israel and the LORD
answered him. 10 Now Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, and
the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD
thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines
and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel. 11 The
men of Israel went out of Mizpah and pursued the Philistines, and
struck them down as far as below Beth-car.
12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and
Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the
LORD has helped us." 13 So the
Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore within the
border of Israel. And the hand of the LORD was against the
Philistines all the days of Samuel.
calls Israel to repent in their hearts and not just their minds and to
their repentance is a genuine change of heart by the removal of the
abominable Baals and Ashtaroth (in Scripture idolatry is often closely
associated with immorality...see word study of
In 1Samuel 7:4 we read of the people's sincere
"So the sons of Israel
removed (Hebrew = cuwr =
departed from, abolished, kept away from, stripped away, took away, turned
aside from, forsook, removed, cut off - a vivid picture of Israel's
response to Samuel's call to repent) the Baals and the Ashtaroth and
served the LORD alone."
This description seems be a picture of national REVIVAL, but if so the effects
begin to dissipate by the time of (1Samuel
8). But at least now with renewed hearts and minds able to see
clearly, Israel asks the LORD's prophet Samuel to pray for them, the very
thing they should have done at
("stone of help" -
Eben-ezer) in (1Sa 4:2)
but were unable and unwilling to do because they would rather do what was
right in their own eyes. And as is often the case when seeking the LORD,
the enemy attacks. Israel, totally unprepared for physical warfare, wisely resorts
to spiritual warfare, and for a second time beseech Samuel to intercede
cry out to the LORD our God for us that He may save us from the
hand of the Philistines.
What a contrast with Israel's earlier
humanistic solution to retrieve the ark of the covenant in vain hopes that
"it" might deliver them. "Revival" had led to "renewal" of their spiritual
reason and righteous behavior. Now that they were standing firm against
the schemes of the enemy, they were enabled to run into the Strong Tower
of the LORD of hosts and we see His miraculous intervention in answer to
Samuel's cries for His help.
this victory by the LORD of hosts, Samuel set up a
"STONE OF REMEMBRANCE" (cf Josh 4:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)
and called it EBENEZER or "Stone of Help" signifying that
"thus far the LORD had helped them". Note that this
"Ebenezer" is a stone memorial and
appears to be at a different location than the Israelite's encampment at
Ebenezer in (1Sa 4:2).
Have you ever set up a
"stone of remembrance"?
Setting up "stones of remembrance" is
an excellent way to remind yourself and your family of the LORD's
Ebenezer is from two Hebrew words "eben" meaning stone and
"ha'ezer" meaning help or helper (first
used of Eve in Ge 2:18).
In translating the Hebrew into Greek (the Septuagint) the verse reads
stone of the Helper. And he said, Hitherto has the Lord helped us.
The Greek words for "Helper" (clearly referring to the LORD) and "helped"
are the same root word Boetheo (the verb).
By now you are saying
so what? What is exciting is that the verb Boetheo is derived from 2
Greek words boe meaning to cry out and theo
meaning to run, the composite picture being to run to the aid or
rescue of one who cries out for help. The LORD "runs" to our rescue when
we cry out. The same Greek verb is found in Hebrews 2:18 (see
where the writer encourages his readers...
since He Himself (Jesus Christ) was tempted
word study) in that which He has suffered, He is (present
tense indicating that
Jesus is continually able)
able to come to the aid (boetheo) of those who are (continuously being) tempted. (see
Beloved, Christ Jesus our Lord is ever
able (cp He 7:25-note,
2Ti 1:12-note), upon hearing our cry in the midst of our tempting and/or testing
circumstance, to run to our aid, to succor us in our distress.
Sabaoth inclines His ear to hear and to run to the cry of His righteous
ones, who cry out from a sense of powerlessness and inability in their own
strength to defeat the "Philistines". Even the act of crying
out is a humbling of oneself and expression of dependence upon God's adequacy to lift us securely on high. There in His Strong Tower we are
safe, whether the storm subsides or whether it does not and whether we live or whether we
die, for in either case we are still the LORD's (Ro 14:8-note) (See
LORD my Helper
Psalm 121 Commentary
Greek Word Studies
Hebrew Word Studies on
identical parallel passage in 2 Kings 18:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19)
King Hezekiah (southern
was faced with sure defeat at the hands of the fierce and powerful Assyrian
forces and King Sennacherib. Read the following description and note the
pattern of a godly man when faced with a humanly speaking hopeless,
for full context)
Isaiah 36:1 Now in the fourteenth year of
Sennacherib king of
Assyria came up against
all the fortified cities of Judah and seized them....20 'Who among
all the gods of these lands have delivered their land from my hand,
that the LORD would deliver Jerusalem from my hand?"
commander Rabshakeh then sent a letter to Hezekiah attempting
demoralize and discourage him from trusting in God to bring about
deliverance from the Assyrians...here is Hezekiah's response:
Then Hezekiah took the
letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up
to the house of the LORD and spread it out before the LORD. 15
Hezekiah prayed to the LORD saying 16 "O LORD of hosts, the God of
Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You
alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and
earth. 17 "Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O
LORD, and see; and listen to all the words of Sennacherib, who sent
them to reproach the living God.18 "Truly, O LORD, the kings of
Assyria have devastated all the countries and their lands,19 and
have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the
work of men's hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. 20
"Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand that all the kingdoms
of the earth may know that You alone, LORD, are God." 21 Then Isaiah
the son of Amoz sent word to Hezekiah, saying, "Thus says the LORD,
the God of Israel, 'Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib
king of Assyria...
(LORD of hosts responds to Hezekiah's prayer) 35 'For I will defend
this city to save it for My own sake and for My servant David's
sake" 36 Then the
Angel of the LORD (click exposition) went
out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men
arose early in the morning, behold, all of these were dead *. 37So
Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at
4 the elders of Israel were faced with a dilemma similar to Hezekiah's,
yet they refused to seek the godly counsel of the prophet Samuel (contrast
Hezekiah's seeking Isaiah's counsel in Isa 37:1, 2, 4, 5, 6f)
or the help of the LORD of hosts, instead opting to place their trust in
an object they could see and touch - the ark of the covenant covered by
the cherubim, regarding it as a veritable spiritual "rabbit's foot" or
lucky charm. In contrast Hezekiah, a godly king, looked with eyes of
faith to the LORD of hosts enthroned above the cherubim and cried
out to Him for deliverance. Hezekiah illustrates once again as we have
seen with David versus Goliath, that the battle is the LORD of hosts and
He must win the victory. So run to the Strong Tower of the LORD of hosts
when faced with formidable foes and no human hope of escape or victory.
Have you doubted your faith especially
how you would persevere in the face of persecution?
We all have had these type of doubts.
It might be because you have never had come to the end of your strength
and needed deliverance. But if that has occurred or possibly will occur in
the future you can rest assured that you have a strong tower to run to and
His name is Jehovah-Sabaoth, the Lord of hosts. As we have seen from the
examples in Hannah and David's life, when there seemed to be no
possibility of deliverance, they both came to know God as Jehovah-Sabaoth,
the LORD of hosts.
It is notable then that there
are no uses of LORD of hosts in Ezekiel which Kay Arthur explains
because this name belongs to a certain stage in the
experience of God's people. It is God's name for man's extremity. Not
until we, as God's chosen people, find ourselves failing and powerless do
we realize our need to run to our Jehovah-Sabaoth. This is a name for
those who, in the midst of a struggle, find their resources inadequate. It
is not a name for those who have ceased to fight. Therefore, you won't
find it in Ezekiel. In Ezekiel's day God's people were to settle down for
seventy years of captivity. This is our name to run to when, from our
perspective, there is no other help. From God's perspective, it is a name
that reminds His people of exactly Who He is, the Lord of hosts. Not only
the one Who delivers, but also the one Who judges. Thus, we see God in the
book of Malachi reminding His people over and over again of His name
Jehovah-Sabaoth: "'I am not pleased with you,' says the LORD of hosts . -
. 'I am a great King,' says the LORD of hosts, and My name is feared among
the nations'" (Malachi 1:10,14). In Malachi, 22 of 24 usages of this name
appear in the phrase "saith the Lord of hosts," indicating a direct word
from God. Malachi was written to a people who honored God with their lips
but not with their lives. Therefore, once again, we see man's failures.
God wanted them to see Him as Lord of hosts and bow the knee. This is His
name to meet failure and offer deliverance." (Arthur, Kay:
Lord I Want to Know
You - recommended for individual devotional or group study)