Hold on to Your Covenant Promises

By: Carolyn Johnson, Director Emeritus

I want to review the story of David and Goliath. But before I do, just a reminder of what had transpired in David’s life prior to the killing of Goliath:

  • Jesse had 8 sons and David was the youngest. Jesse at this point was old. David’s job in the family business was to be the shepherd of the flocks.
  • Through God’s providence David was chosen by Samuel to be the next king of Israel.
  • As in most families there was intense rivalry and jealousy between the brothers and David was picked on by his older siblings.
  • Saul had already made David his armor-bearer but allowed David to go back and forth to his father’s house to tend the sheep. One moment he had the honor of being in the presence of the king and the next day was “rewarded” with the humility of tending sheep. Before he had the honor of being a giant slayer he was humbled. Before honor comes humility. As a shepherd he had the opportunity of mediation and prayer, and other acts of devotion while attending to the sheep. This prepared him for his destiny more than all the military exercises he experienced in Saul’s army.
  • Saul and his army were camped in the valley of Elah preparing to fight the Philistines when Goliath came on the scene and challenged Israel.
  • David’s three oldest brothers were in Saul’s camp preparing for battle while David was in the fields tending the sheep. Before he left the sheep he made sure they were in the care of another shepherd. He was faithful over little before he was ruler over much.
  • Twice daily Goliath threw down his challenge and had been doing so for 40 days.
  • Jesse sent David to the battlefield to supply food for his brothers and a gift of cheese for their commander. The battle was imminent but Jesse thought nothing of sending David into the midst of it. Keep in mind God orders the time and the circumstances of actions and affairs. God was protecting Israel. This is an important point for CKs. When we pray for marriage restoration God hears and begins to answer, but the timing is up to Him because He know everyone’s heart.
  • When David arrived at the battlefield he ran to the front line to see his brothers. That was when he first heard Goliath’s challenge. He also saw the fear in Israel’s camp because the men fled when Goliath came out. They were faint-hearted, even though Goliath had been threatening Israel for 40 days and had done nothing to that point.

Now let’s read from the Scriptures how David responds. 1 Samuel 17:26, “And David said to the men standing by him, ‘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.’”

Have you ever thought about why David called Goliath an “uncircumcised” Philistine? Why was this important? What did circumcision represent? Circumcision represented the covenant of Abraham with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Uncircumcised meant “man without a covenant – a stranger to God.” David was saying, “Who is this man without a covenant who is coming to attack us. We have a covenant with God Almighty, the God of the universe, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? This man is not taunting Israel; he is taunting God.

Do you know the covenant provisions of your marriage? Is there someone or something trying to interfere and destroy your covenant? They are not taunting you; they are taunting God. Marriage covenant was God’s idea and He has put provisions in that covenant.

David knew the covenant provisions. He had a revelation of the covenant Word that God had given to Israel. He knew the promises that had been made by God to Abraham. He knew that God was faithful as a Protector. And he also knew Him as a Rewarder. So he asked what the reward was for killing Goliath. When he learned that he would be given the king’s daughter in marriage and that David’s entire family would never again have to pay taxes, he said, “I’ll do this; it’s no big deal because Goliath has no covenant.”

David was then brow-beaten and discouraged by his eldest brother Eliab. Take note that those who exalt themselves over younger peers may perhaps live to regret their actions. The time may come when the elder may serve the younger. David turned away his brother’s wrath with a soft answer, “My father sent me.” This family conquest was in some respects more honorable than his conquest of Goliath. He that rules over his own spirit is better than a mighty man. It was no time for David to quarrel with his brother when the Philistines were upon them.  He focused on engaging the Philistine, not on the ill-will of his brother. Those who undertake serving others can expect opposition from the very ones they have reason to expect support and assistance. They must humbly go on with their work, in the face not only of their enemies’ threats, but of their friends’ insults and suspicions.

This part of the story sounds so familiar. There probably isn’t one single CK who hasn’t had a family member or friend tell them they are crazy for waiting for marriage restoration. Those people from whom we expect support and assistant are the very ones who discourage us. But we must keep our focus. There is a spiritual battle to be fought. The Goliaths in our life must be fought with the Word of God. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10-12 (ESV)

When Saul heard that David was going to fight Goliath, he reminded David he was just a teenager and had never been to war. He also reminded David of Goliath’s huge size and that he was a trained warrior. Saul apparently wasn’t operating in the covenant, but was rather relying upon his abilities and strength as the King. David knew the source of his strength and he also knew the Goliath had no covenant. Again in verse 36, David says to Saul, “Your servant killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God!”

Can you imagine what the troops thought when the king decided to send David to fight? He was untrained, he was young, he was unarmed and they thought he was unprepared. But God! But God from the beginning of time had ordained David for such a time as this.

The question for you in your life today – Is there an uncircumcised Philistine confronting you? In addition to your hurting marriage, is there a mountain of debt confronting you? Is there a health issue confronting you or your family? Do you have other broken family relationships? Is there something that is the opposite of what God has promised in His Word and that He purchased at Calvary on your behalf?  Then it is your day to rise up and say, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine coming against the promises that God has made to me?” This is your day to grab hold of what God’s Word has said and to enforce it with the power of the Holy Spirit that is within you. You must understand your covenant rights that are scattered throughout the Word of God. Your 5 smooth stones are found in the Word. You fight the uncircumcised Philistine in your life with the Word. Find the promises in the Word and fight the battle!

This article was written from notes taken from a video devotional by Craig Hill.

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