“38 So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail. 39 David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, “I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them.” So David took them off” (1 Samuel 17:38-39).
David has shown up on the battlefield where his three oldest brothers are at war. He has been sent by his father with supplies for them (17) and is hoping to bring back good news to his father (18).
He probably expects to see an intense battle taking place. Maybe he will get to see something exciting. But instead he finds an arrogant Philistine army on one side (8-10) and a hesitant Israelite army on the other (3, 11). No fighting because Israel is terrified (16, 24).
Standing there in shock, he hears the taunts of the Philistine champion Goliath (23). And David is outraged. How dare anyone challenge God or His army (26)! He is so upset that he declares that HE, a young shepherd, is ready to fight the taunting giant (32). King Saul scoffs (33), but David knows he is more than able to defeat Goliath – God has kept him safe in the sheep fields (34-36), and God has not changed. Therefore “The Lord … will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (37).
With no one else willing to fight, Saul has no choice but to send David in. If the boy does not survive, he can say it was his foolish choice to go and he could not be stopped. But he, as the leader, cannot send the boy in defenseless.
So how does one defeat a giant covered in armor (5-7)? Obviously by dressing up like – and therefore being evenly matched with – the giant. Right?
That is such a simple yet deadly lie we are led to believe. We are divine warriors, not simpering similars. Why would we want to look anything like our (spiritual) enemy? He lost with the cross and is currently biding his time until Jesus returns. He has no power, no authority, and no wisdom within him or available to him. So don’t try to imitate him.
But Saul did. Saul thought dressing David up in full armor would work. “So Saul clothed David with his armor, and he put a bronze helmet on his head; he also clothed him with a coat of mail.” (38). But it did not. The armor was so heavy, so awkward, and so unnatural to him that he was stuck. “I can’t even move with all this stuff on me” (39, MSG).
And that is what the enemy wants to do with us. He wants us to look like him, act like him, think like him, and look like him. And he always wants us to believe that we are less than God’s best when we don’t. He wants to overwhelm us with uncertainty and overtake us with indecision. He wants us to take ownership of things God does not have purposed for us. Things that are awkward, heavy, and unnatural. So we become paralyzed and indecisive.
David knew he could not fight if he could not move. So the shepherd boy goes back to what has worked in the past – a simple weapon (40) and an enormous faith (45). And we are still talking about the power of being yourself all these years later.
Saul’s armor didn’t work for David. So David went back to who God created him to be and what worked best for him.
Other people’s expectations and labels won’t work for you.
Don’t own them. Don’t accept them. Don’t wear them.
Don’t conform to that awkward character people want you to wear.
Be the poetry and the masterpiece God created you to be (Ephesians 2:10).
Walk in what you know to be true about yourself through God’s grace.
Claim the truth of who He is and how good He is.
Grab hold of the power He has waiting for you.
Run toward His purpose for you.
So I pray today that God has touched your heart – and you are willing to consider the armor in your life. Let today be the day you take off anything that isn’t of God and is keeping you from moving toward His best.
Marie Fremin. 3/1/19, 3/2/19