Wednesday, December 2

The Counterfeit Boldness of Presumption and Pride

Feature message from Keith's book "OVERCOMING INTIMIDATION"

  There is a crucial factor we must be sure to realize about David and his pursuit of Goliath. David did not suddenly go against the giant. Though David was certainly accused by his older brother of being presumptuous or prideful by declaring that he would defeat the Philistine, he was not. God had fully prepared David for this encounter, and David knew it! That is why he could be so confident in going forth against Goliath. It is also why he was able to overcome the grave doubts of Saul, the king.


"And David said to Saul, Let no man's heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth." (1 Samuel 17:32-33)
In this passage, David indicates his willingness to fight the Philistine, and Saul responds with a very rational sounding answer. For truly, in the natural, David's offer was preposterous! He was but a youth, a shepherd boy, while Goliath had been trained to be "a man of war from his youth." Yet, David knew that God had prepared him for such a time and explained how this had occurred.
"And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee." (1 Samuel 17:34-37)
David knew how to fight! He had faced the lion and the bear, but not alone: the LORD had delivered David from both. Consequently, he could confidently and reasonably expect that God would deliver him from the Philistine, and that is what he told the king. After hearing David's words, the king accepted David's offer, and then did a curious thing.
"And Saul armed David with his armour, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed (tried it) to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him." (1 Samuel 17:38-39)
Saul tried to get David to wear Saul's own armor into the battle, but David refused, saying that he had no experience with them. Furthermore, David knew that God had given him skill with the sling, and he had had many hours of solitude as a shepherd to hone that skill. Finally, David had already seen Goliath arrayed in his armor and knew that he could be brought down with the sling, David's weapon of choice. It would have been presumptuous of David to go forth wearing Saul's armor. In fact, it would have been a fatal mistake! For then the battle would have been fought on Goliath's terms in the flesh, and the giant would have won that fight.
To demonstrate the error of presumption through a counterexample to David's triumph, consider the occurrence from the time of Moses after God had miraculously delivered the children of Israel from slavery in Egypt and from starvation in the wilderness. At this point in their journey the children of Israel were preparing to invade the Promised Land, and so Moses sent twelve spies into the land of Canaan to bring back information that would help in the invasion. Ten of the spies brought back an evil report of giants in the land.
"And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight." (Numbers 13:32-33)
After hearing this report, the children of Israel refused to believe that God would be with them in the battle against the giants of Canaan, and consequently the people rejected the following words of the two faithful spies, Joshua and Caleb: "Only rebel not ye against the LORD, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defense is departed from them, and the LORD is with us: fear them not. But all the congregation bade [threatened] stone them with stones." (Numbers 14:9-10)
Having fear of the giants and lacking faith in God, the Israelites wished that they had died in the wilderness, and they even began preparing to return to the bondage of Egypt (see Numbers 14:2-4). As a result, God promised them that they would die in the wilderness even as they had wished! "Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness;" (Numbers 14:28-29)
After the Israelites heard that, however, they had second thoughts! The scripture records that "the people mourned greatly." (Numbers 14:39) Moreover, they began preparing to invade the land, but they were warned to not go forth into battle presumptuously. "Ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the LORD, therefore the LORD will not be with you." (Numbers 14:43) Despite the warning and the fact that "those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by the plague before the LORD"" (Numbers 14:37), the Israelites went presumptuously into battle with the Canaanites. The Lord was not with them, and they were badly beaten.
Subsequently, after forty years of wandering in the wilderness, the nation was again at the brink of invading the Promised Land. It was at this juncture that Moses made a point to relate the account of this incident from the failed first invasion to the children of the people whose carcasses had fallen in the wilderness according to the Word of the Lord. In his conclusion of the account, Moses said these words, "Then ye answered and said unto me, We have sinned against the LORD, we will go up and fight, according to all that the LORD our God commanded us. And when ye had girded on every man his weapons of war, ye were ready to go up into the hill. And the LORD said unto me, Say unto them, Go not up, neither fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies. So I spake unto you; and ye would not hear, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD, and went presumptuously up into the hill. And the Amorites, which dwelt in that mountain, came out against you, and chased you, as bees do, and destroyed you in Seir, even unto Hormah." (Deuteronomy 1:41-44)
Thus, we see that instead of overcoming their fear, they were really guilty of rebellion and presumption. Their "boldness" was counterfeit, because God was not in it. So, even as David could not have overcome Goliath on his own and the Israelites could not overcome the Canaanites on their own, neither can we overcome intimidation by our own efforts, pride, or false hopes. We need the genuine boldness of righteousness that can only come from the Lord. How do we get this? By dying to the old nature and being the new nature.
We pray that this testimony and brief exhortation fans into flames your passion for loving, trusting, believing, and following God whole-heartedly.  If you allow those flames to burn and increase in your life with Christ, your life will be ever better... guaranteed!

Keep PRESSIN' IN!


"Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety." (Proverbs 11:14)



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