Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 2, 1960

"The Battle Is The Lord's"

Leslie Diestelkamp, P.M.B. 1080, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria

David said, "And all the assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands" (1 Sam. 17:47). David actually was addressing the enemies of God, but his speech was made in the hearing of God's people too. Saul, the King, and the other soldiers in Israel had failed to go out to fight Goliath, for they recognized strength only in physical power. Weak faith and misunderstanding of God's ways had caused them great embarrassment and had put the Lord's people in a sore plight. David fought for God's cause, using the simple weapons God provided — a staff, five smooth stones and a sling, and won a great victory, not in the might of men but in demonstration of the power of God. The Lord's people today need so badly to re-learn this lesson of faith that David taught Israel. In every phase of the Lord's work and with regard to every activity that Christ authorizes, we need to remember that "The battle is the Lord's". So many times today we put our confidence in buildings, books, pictures, slides, charts, outlines, men or money when we should trust only in the unvarnished truth in every battle for right.

Internal Controversy

So many brethren wag their heads and constantly complain because modernism stalks the land, departures invade the church, and division is more and more evident everywhere. They imitate Saul, of whom it is said that when he and his men heard Goliath's words "They were dismayed and greatly afraid" (1 Sam. 17:11). Saul, in cowardice, had offered a great reward to the one who would kill the Philistine, but God's victories are not won by bounty hunters nor are they gained with the devices of men, either modern or ancient Likewise today we cannot save the church from apostasy by sheer physical power and we cannot prevent division by polemic greatness.

If some brethren build great cathedrals, annexing social halls, gymnasiums, fellowship centers, etc., they are like David would have been with Saul's armour, and they must remember that such things never converted a soul nor won a single spiritual victory. Besides being completely unauthorized action for the church, the building and maintenance of social and recreational halls and facilities demonstrates misunderstanding of the nature and mission of the church, and exemplifies a lack of trust in those truly spiritual weapons that God has given for the use of his people in overcoming evil and error.

The tendency today seems to be to put the emphasis upon "bigness", and quality seems to be measured by quantity. Many seem to think one national radio program is better than many, many local ones; that one nation-wide television broadcast is superior to many such programs originating in as many cities; that it is better to have hundreds of children in one great home than to have them scattered throughout the country in ordinary family units; and some seem to think that the little churches should send money to the big churches so that the big ones can undertake work which is even bigger than they are and to which all churches have equal relationship. But it was Saul who was large, and it was little David (comparatively) who won the victory. Then let not God's true people be discouraged. Let us be unafraid. If the battle were our own we might have real reason to fear, but since we are simply instruments in God's hands, and since it is he and not we who really must overcome the enemies of truth, and since the ultimate victory is certain and positive (for "If God be for us, who can be against us"), then let us be not weary in well doing but let us ever be true and pure and full of faith. Instead of constantly bickering, complaining, fuming and fretting, worrying about the faults of others, let us truly buckle on God's whole armour (Eph. 6.13-17), face the enemy of truth with courage, stand up and fight like men (1 Cor. 16:13) and let God give the victories. Perhaps Christians waste enough time, talent and energy criticizing and complaining to win great victories if we will just joyfully, enthusiastically, vigorously and scripturally concentrate our efforts in the proclamation of truth. "Preach the word", for it will still save sinners even if many Christians do go astray.

External Combat

Catholicism, protestantism, infidelity and many other systems confront Christians on every hand, but "Truth will make you free" even yet. The unchanging, unchanged, unchangeable word of God, wielded with skill and vigor as a good soldier would wield his physical weapon, cannot fail to prick the hearts of some sinners and bring them to repentance. In the long ago it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe (1 Cor. 1:21), and the Lord's true servants today can have every assurance that the same gospel, preached in the same spirit will bring forth the same harvest in spite of oppositions without. Even the weakest false doctrine cannot be overcome by those who are fearful as Saul was. The lack of faith in God and God's ways which Saul demonstrated, is evident in many Christians today as they stand in awe, looking, with fear in their hearts for the ways of sectarianism, and with quivering lips and faltering words imitate Saul's cowardice — and win no greater victory for Christ than he was winning for God until David came to show the way of faith.

Saul's action — or lack of it — was a disgrace for a man of his position and ability, and for one whom God had used so abundantly. Likewise Christians who, because of fear, fail and falter, should be ashamed. But some may say, "We are weak but they are strong". Indeed it may be so, but in contrast, God is strong and they are weak. And, since "The battle is the Lord's, we have every reason for confidence, knowing that his word will not return unto him void, but that the will of the Lord can be accomplished in and by us if we faithfully fight the good fight of faith.