You Can’t Do It Yourself

We are all familiar with the account of David and Goliath from 1 Samuel 17.  No doubt, this is one of the most recognizable Bible stories of all time. The youngest son of Jesse took out the great champion of the Philistines, Goliath, by slinging a single stone into his forehead (1 Samuel 17:49).  The Israelites, for forty straight days, were dismayed and greatly feared the challenges of Goliath (17:11). However, David came along and by the strength of God was delivered from the hand of the mighty Philistine (17:37).  

We are not as familiar with the account of David and Ishbi-benob from 2 Samuel 21.  Near the end of David’s life, he was challenged by another man of impressive stature, a descendant of the giant (2 Samuel 21:16).  Ishbi-benob “intended to kill David.” However, Abishai the “most honored” among David’s mighty men (23:18-19), helped out and struck the Philistine and killed him.  David’s men urged him from that point on to retire from personally battling the enemy “so that you do not extinguish the lamp of Israel” (21:17). David can no longer rely on his strength but will need to rely on his valiant warriors and imposing army.

In our Christian walks, we tend to forget that we can’t do everything on our own. Paul, wrapping up his epistle to the Ephesians wrote, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).  Paul reminds his readers that their strength comes from the Lord, and not from themselves. His exhortation to be strong involved putting on the full armor of God (6:11-17) and reliance upon God in prayer (6:18-20). We tend to believe it is about “digging down deep” or “mustering every ounce of strength” we have individually.  But Paul identifies the location of the strength we are to wield as originating “in the Lord.” He is the source. “The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation” (Psalm 118:14). You can’t do it all by yourself! David and Paul knew that. Do you?

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