The Battle is the Lord's - Bob Sawvelle

The Battle is the Lord’s

Did you know, that in Christ, you are super victorious? You may not feel like it and your circumstances may indicate otherwise, but you are a conqueror because Jesus triumphed over the powers of darkness! Truly, the battle belongs to the Lord and we participate in His victory—always!

God will turn every circumstance for good, and what may look hopeless will become a victory in Christ. When we learn to live this principle as truth, we ward off fear and hopelessness, and remain in God’s peace and joy. We live with an expectation of a future filled with the blessings of God!

In today’s article, I want to discuss David’s victory over Goliath. Through David, God delivered His people; despite being outnumbered and surrounded. David knew the “battle is the Lord’s.”

Like David, we often face overwhelming odds. Perhaps our bills are out of control, we have problems in our families, or maybe our job situation is on shaky ground. Sometimes, nations face extreme crisis—like we are in with the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are times when even the most faith-filled believer is overwhelmed by the circumstances or giants we face. My intent is to remind us: the Lord fights our battles and to build faith and trust in God for life’s challenging situations.

David’s victory over Goliath (1 Samuel 17)

In this story, we see three principles for victory when facing daunting circumstances:

1) Understand the battle belongs to the Lord

2) Realize the Lord does not need much for a victory

3) Know the Lord is our deliverer

The Philistines have invaded Israel. Saul and the army of Israel gather and encamp across the valley from the Philistines. For 40 days, a Philistine champion named Goliath taunts the army of Israel. “…I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” (1 Sam. 17:10 NKJV) Goliath not only mocked the army of Israel, but he mocked the God of Israel.

The result of the enemy’s taunts? “When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.” (1 Sam. 17:11 NKJV) Behind the words of Goliath were demonic powers creating fear and intimidating God’s people. How do I know there were demonic powers? In the story, we read how Goliath cursed David with his gods, which would have been Canaanite deities fashioned as idols for worship. Paul and John state that the worship of idols is worship of demonic powers (1 Cor. 8:1-13; Rev. 9:20).

The coronavirus is a threat and deadly to be sure. But the enemy has used the virus to cripple humanity with extreme fear. As I shared last week in my article Wellness of Soul, legitimate caution and practice regarding the virus are warranted. However, as God’s people, we need to remain focused upon the Lord and His promises to confidently face the giants raging in our time and not be “dismayed and greatly afraid.” In fact, God may lead us, like David to act to make a difference.

David, “Who is the uncircumcised Philistine…”

Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? 1 Sam. 17:26 NKJV

David’s response, “It is not about great riches, betrothal to the king’s daughter, or family exemption from paying taxes! David is only concerned about restoring the honor of God’s name and bringing a victory for the nation of Israel.

In moments of crisis, it is easy to lose focus on our mandate to make disciples of all the nations. It is easy to get discouraged, retreat, and let the enemies taunt us. But Godly courage empowers us to move forward against the taunting voices of our day.

David’s oldest brother accuses him of pride. But David responds with a powerful statement wrapped in a question, “Is there not a cause?” (1 Sam. 17:29 NKJV)

It is an indictment against the inaction of his brothers and the army of Israel. Their fear blinded them from the reality that “if God is for us, who can be against us!” They could not see a national victory, only a giant standing in front of them.

We have a cause church, to make Jesus known in our generation. Yes, this virus, the subsequent lockdown, and economic setback have slowed our advancement, but our calling remains—preach Christ and win others for Jesus! Continue to pray for revival in our land—don’t quit!

David saw a defeated giant before he ever faced him in battle.

Why? David knew the battle belonged to the Lord!

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with 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 defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Sam. 17:45-47 NKJV

Perhaps David was aware of God’s promise in Deut. 20:1, “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” (NKJV)

In Exodus, Moses reminds the children of Israel of what God has done for them in delivering them from the Egyptians and of God’s future promise of His presence and power against their enemies.

God sets the stage for Pharaoh and the Egyptian army to be defeated in Exodus 14. However, God’s people are put into a situation where they are facing overwhelming odds. God was about to defeat the Pharaoh and his army, deliver His people from the might of Egypt, and He would get the glory!

But the children of Israel were very afraid and complained to Moses, his response to them:

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14 NKJV

God parts the Red Sea, the children of Israel pass through safely, and God allows the sea to swallow Pharaoh and his army. Deliverance happens, the enemy is defeated, and God is glorified!

God is never late, but He is rarely early! God is always right on time! Sometimes the Lord waits until our backs are against the wall, the enemy surrounds us with nowhere to turn and no way out so He gets the glory!

As I was preparing my sermon this week and thinking of Memorial Day, I was reminded of Civil War hero, Joshua Chamberlain, who was born in 1828 in Brewer, Maine. He is best known for the courage he showed as colonel of the 20th Maine regiment that fought heroically in the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. Chamberlain also accepted the Confederacy’s surrender of arms at Appomattox at the war’s end. Before the war, Chamberlain was a college professor, and had considered becoming a minister having studied three years at a seminary. He took a commission in the Union Army to help the cause to end slavery. Less well known is the fact that, after the war, he served four terms as governor of his home state and as president of his alma mater, Bowdoin College. Chamberlain died in 1914 at the age of 85.

The 20th Maine was present at several significant battles but is best remembered for its key role in the Battle of Gettysburg. Joshua Chamberlain was by that time a colonel and in command of the regiment. On July 2, the second day of fighting there, he and his troops came face to face with Confederate soldiers at Little Round Top, and after harsh fighting, Chamberlain led a bayonet charge and successfully secured their part of the hill for the Union. Not only did Chamberlain and his men hold the line, but their success aided the Union’s victory at Gettysburg, which turned the tide of the war. Thirty years later, Joshua Chamberlain was awarded the Medal of Honor for “conspicuous gallantry” in the battle. Like David, Chamberlain trusted God, and bravely led his men in a charge against a formidable enemy. He knew there was a cause worth fighting and dying for. [1]

As a military commander, Chamberlain knew the cost of freedom. As a devout Christian, he knew the battle belonged to the Lord. Chamberlain knew the eternal reward of service for Christ that others may know Him, in his words:

This is the great reward of service, to live, far out and on, in the life of others; this is the mystery of Christ, – to give life’s best for such high sake that is shall be found again unto life eternal.

David witnessed the hand of God deliver him from the lion and the bear. He not only had God’s promises and stories of how others were delivered by God, but he personally had a history with God. David knew through the smaller battles he had faced that the battle belongs to the Lord.

Each of us must stand on God’s promises of deliverance and remind ourselves of how God has acted before for His people. As you walk with God, you build a history of His faithfulness that prepares you for the next trial you face.

David knew the Lord does not need much for a victory.

Why? David knew what God could do with the little he had.

Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword or spear…” 1 Sam. 17:47 NKJV

All God needed was for David to say yes! David offered himself and used what he had: a shepherd’s staff, a sling, and five stones. David knew as truth:

No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength.” Psalm 33:16 NKJV

Often, our greatest breakthroughs occur when we realize our total dependence upon God and no one and nothing else. When we are weak then we are strong.

Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the Lord.” Jer. 9:23-24 NKJV

We glory in knowing the Lord—not in our wisdom, strength, or riches. Out of intimacy, we know God’s heart, His ways, and His commands—in these God delights.

Paul writes to the Corinthians:

Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.” 1 Cor. 1:26-28 NLT

Weakness is mocked by the world (one’s intellect, physical strength, or lack of money)—the weak are often ignored or marginalized. The enemy loves to taunt, make us feel inferior, cause fear, and attempt to make us give up before we ever get to the battle.

But we are not tied to this world and its systems. We are sons and daughters of God united through rebirth in Christ to His power and might. He gets the glory when we appear weak!

David tried on Saul’s armor, but he could not function in it. He said, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” (1 Sam. 17:38 NKJV)

David recognized he could not walk in another man’s anointing or gifting. Saul was anointed, and God did use him for a season. But David’s anointing rested in his life as a shepherd and worshipper of God. David killed the lion and bear, most likely with a sling.

David also realized he could not use the world’s methods to try and achieve a victory. Saul had fallen to a political and religious spirit—using the world’s methods to try and gain favor with God and man.

You and I need to be originals. While we learn ministry styles and methods that have similarities, our gift mix and callings are different. We must function out of what God has anointed us with—no matter how “weak” or “insignificant” that may appear.

Rise up confidently in the gifting and anointing God has given you to face your problems and the “giants” of our time!

David said, “Then all this assembly shall know …” Understand that not just the Philistines, but also David’s brothers who accused him of pride, would know it was the hand of God who brought the victory. Through a humble shepherd boy, God would display His power!

David prophesies Goliath’s defeat

Why? David knew the Lord is our deliverer!

Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God. Moreover 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.” (1 Sam. 17:36-37 NKJV)

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with 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 defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands. (1 Sam. 17:45-47 NLJV)

David, before this giant, taps into who he is in God, “I’m a priest, a lover of God, I hear His voice, and God is with me—therefore I’ll win!”

David saw a future day when Jesus would defeat our enemies. David, by the Spirit, is functioning as a prophet, priest, and king. David’s actions point to a time of grace in Christ, where he was more than a conqueror, and that the “Battle is the Lords!”

David hurried and ran toward the enemy; he relied upon the anointing God had given him, and God delivered him from the enemy (1 Sam. 17:48-50).

God brought the victory as David partnered with God and His might. David didn’t need a sword, he needed God’s presence. I believe David heard what was on God’s heart and responded in faith, and God brought the victory. Prayer is simply communion with God, hearing what He says and then being obedient. From this place of intimacy, God releases His power and might.

David knew as truth, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15 NKJV)

Through Christ, we have been delivered from sin and death, and have been raised to new life. Jesus triumphed over the powers of darkness; and through our union with Him enter His victory (Col. 2:9-15).

We hear God’s voice, function by His Spirit, and live from His victory. Paul writes of this, “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Rom. 8:37 NKJV) The NASB says, “we overwhelmingly conquer.”

The phrase, “more than conquerors” and “we overwhelmingly conquer” is from the Greek word hypernikaō and means “have complete triumph, win a most thorough victory; be more than conquerors; have an overwhelming victory… [2]

We could paraphrase, “In Christ, we have complete triumph, an overwhelming victory, through Him who loved us!” You see, the battle He has already won!

What are you facing today? The battle is the Lord’s; Jesus has brought you the victory. We appropriate through faith the victory God has already attained through Christ.


Bob Sawvelle Signature


For a more in-depth look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “The Battle is the Lord’s”



[1] (accessed May 23, 2020)

[2] James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

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