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A Literal Translation of the New Testament






 

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WE WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH & BLOOD
 

 

By Hal Dekker 

2008.05.26

 

Last page update:  2018.06.10

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Traditionally some sects/denominations of Christianity have treated this record in 1 Samuel, of the conflict between the Philistines and the children of Israel, as a children's story, giving it only superficial relevance as having anything to do with our on-going spiritual battle between mortalkind and the devil, Satan (Eph. 6:12), the mortal killer (John 8:44).  But I believe this record is absolutely not "milk" in God's Word, but extremely the opposite, "strong meat", because of the seriousness of the subject matter, spiritual warfare.  Most children simply do not have the ability to understand physical warfare, not to mention the vast majority of adults who find the subject of spiritual warfare very challenging.  

 

1 Sam. 17 is a record in God's Word which gives us a great deal of insight and understanding into many key aspects of spiritual warfare.  In this record many of Satan's most successful methods and maneuvers are spotlighted and explained to the believer, thereby giving us a knowledge of those methods, and thereby an understanding of how to detect the movement and activity of Satan and/or his demon spirits at work, to defeat them.  

 

Satan and his demon spirits can be recognized to be at work as the cause behind an activity if its outcome ultimately results in a believer being stolen from, and/or killed, and/or destroyed (John 10:10a).  A huge cause of the success Satan has had in stealing, killing, and destroying mortals, especially believers, is the stealth he uses, which is the secrecy of his moves.   He uses moves like a master magician; while he has you "looking" at the right hand, his "left" hand, the hand of cursing, is doing something else.  

 

The understanding of the greatness of this record blows Satan's cover, and those of his demon spirits, completely, through exposing many/most of his and the demon spirit's discreet ways of operating.  Therefore, a thorough understanding of this record in God's Word must be an essential part of one's own personal discipleship to our heavenly Father and His son Christ Jesus.  An in depth knowledge and understanding of all of the facets of our spiritual battle with our personal adversary is absolutely essential if a disciple is going to be around long enough to do anything in the ministry of reconciliation for our heavenly Father. 

 

Putting on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18), about which knowledge and understanding of this record is a huge piece of that armor, is simply preparation for the battle.  This record both includes and goes beyond preliminary preparation, to show the devil's tactics and maneuvers, and then what ours should be to defeat him and his demon spirits.  

 

Many examples in this record show us how to spot demon spirit activity at work.  The shepherd boy David, an important type of Jesus Christ, the promised coming redeemer, demonstrates how to act and react spiritually once demon spirit activity has been detected by a believer.  The knowledge of this record gives believers the ability to go on the offensive, to act/attack first, rather than be the one who bleeds first.  Jesus Christ did all the bleeding already.  

 

God has given us ALL the armor we need, in His Word, to be victorious in each and every circumstance in which the adversary may attack us.   God says that the armor He gives us is WHOLE, implying that it, His Word, His knowledge he gives to us, is absolutely enough to cause us to become the victor in any situation.

 

In this record we'll "see" how Satan tries to control the thoughts in the minds of the armies of Israel, by manipulating what they perceive through their five senses, especially their senses of sight and hearing.  In this record I believe "The Philistine" is a type to both Satan and an anti-Christ, while David is a type to both Christ or any believer in the one body of Christ.

 

This study describes how Satan attacked the armies of Israel by feeding false and deceitful information to them through their five senses, information especially designed to instill fear.  This is exactly how the devil and demon spirits work today, the same as they have throughout all time.

 

According to God's Word, all physical battles are the result of spiritual causes behind them (Eph. 6:12).  A physical battle or war is the five senses manifestation of the spiritual cause behind it.  It is these spiritual causes that are at the root of situations, that we are to spiritually attack and defeat.  Spiritually attacking can be as simple as speaking God's Word verbatim, in season and out of season, no backing down, no compromising, to uphold His standards and values.  And, attacking can involve physically attacking/defending, as David did. 

 

As you will see in this short study about a part of David's physical and spiritual life, that David attacked/defended himself and others from demonic spiritual forces primarily through speaking God's Word.  He constantly spoke it to himself in his own mind through remembering it in all of lifes' situations/ practical issues. And then secondly, reminding others around him of how faithful God is to keep His Word, and the promises He has made to us, for those who are faithful to Him.  

 

The predominant illustrative method God chose for this narrative in His Word, was to contrast how men walking by only their five senses will be defeated when the adversary attacks, versus how a man walking by the Spirit of God within him becomes an avenue through which the power of God can manifest itself into the physical realm, working in and through a believer.

 

1. The first lesson taught in this narrative is how Satan attacks on the five-senses level.  In this section, God shows us how Satan working first through man's physical sense of sight, then through man's physical sense of hearing, tries to instill fear, as a tactic to weaken Israel into fighting the battle on Satan's terms, a flesh and blood-based physical battle. 

 

The main practical issue which confronted Israel in this spiritually-based battle was to either walk by the flesh, making decisions based upon the deceitful information Satan fed them through their own five senses, or to walk by the Spirit of the God, believing in the integrity of God and His Word, by way of His covenant promises. 

 

Apparently David, the little shepherd boy, was perhaps the only one in all of Israel who had discipled himself enough to God and His Word to believe to allow God to work in and through him to defeat the Philistine armies.  David discipled himself enough to God's Word to learn that God's Spirit and presence was always with him, because David did, most of the time, those things which were pleasing to God.

 

2. The second lesson taught in this narrative is how one man, David, with the Spirit of God working in and through him, stopped Satan from stealing, killing, and destroying all of Israel, and the Christ line. We'll see how a "believer" influenced and "woke up" the armies of Israel by his deliberate decision to walk by the Spirit of God, believing God would honor His Word and David's belief of it to manifest His power through David, according to God's covenant promises! 

 

Covenant is the most important word to know and understand about what, where, when, why, and how the God will act working in and through a believer.  In this record in God's Word the outcome for the children of Israel, whether they lived free or died and fell into slavery, came down to the integrity of God's Word in the mind of only one individual, David the shepherd boy.  If David first didn't know God's Word, and secondly didn't BELIEVE it in his heart, he and all the children of Israel would have been finished. 

 

But, we have this record of how one individual controlled his thinking, speaking, and actions to allow God's Spirit upon him to work in and through him to completely defeat not simply Goliath, but Satan!

 

 

THE INTEGRITY OF GOD'S WORD

 

The Philistines had come to steal, kill, and destroy Israel (John 10:9-10).  

 

I Sam. 17:1  And the Philistines gathered their armies for battle, and they were gathered at Socoh, which [belongs, AE] to Judah, and they pitched between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim.

 

1 Sam. 17:2  And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered , and pitched in the valley of Elah, and they arrayed for battle to meet the Philistines.

 

"arrayed for battle" - they prepared themselves. They had on their armor, their swords were sharpened, all their equipment was in good working order, etc. They had all their equipment ready for battle. They had done everything they could on the five senses fleshly level to get ready for battle. They thought they were "ready" for battle, and they were as far as having all their equipment ready. But, they were not ready spiritually between their ears, to recognize the adversary's spiritual attack on their minds, nor to remember God's covenant promises to be their God and they should be His people. And, they were not ready with belief in their hearts to believe in the power of God to deliver to them the victory.

 

"valley of Elah" - about sixteen miles southwest of Jerusalem, toward the Mediterranean sea.

 

1 Sam. 17:3  And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and [there was] a valley between them.

 

Looking over the valley, they could see each other clearly, on the top of each of the mountains. Each could see the number of men the other had, their weapons of war, their animals, each others camp fires at night, etc. Each side put on a visual show for the other, constant pre-battle posturing during each day and each night, to try and impress the other that they had bigger and stronger armies.  In our day and times we call this trying to "psyche out" your opponent.

 

1 Sam. 17:4  And a man came between the two [mountains, AE] from the armies of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height [was] six cubits and a span.

 

"six cubits and a span" - about 12 to 13 feet tall. Now, Satan, the spiritual cause behind the impending battle, increases his attempts to instill fear into the hearts of the Israel armies, by feeding them a threatening picture through their sense of sight.  In this record we'll see how the adversary focuses on trying to feed them intimidation and fear through their senses of sight and hearing. 

 

Fear is what the devil tries to create and use to defeat belief in a persons heart.  Any spiritual battle which is started by the devil is first started within the mind of a believer.  What a believer does in his or her mind with the knowledge of God's Word determines whether God's Spirit can work in and through that believer.

 

In the next verses, 5, 6, and 7, God gives us a detailed physical description of how Goliath appeared to the armies of Israel.  Throughout His Word, God seldom goes into this level of detail to describe anyone's physical appearance, with the exception of how the levitical priesthood was dressed.  Some other examples of detailed descriptions are Noah's ark, the tabernacle in the wilderness, Solomon's temple, and especially the one body of Christ. 

 

But, He does so here with Goliath to emphasize to us the five senses-level attack that Satan was launching first against Israel.  Israel "saw" how big and well-armed Goliath was, and they "heard" his insulting word's which were precisely selected for effect.

 

Note that Satan attempts to instill fear and intimidation as his first tactics.  God mentions these tactics first because they are Satan's PRIMARY and most important tactics in his strategies against his prey.  Satan uses fear and intimidation all the time, and he usually starts an attack this way.  Mortalkind has learned this tactic well from the devil, and I see people all around using it against one another all of the time.

 

God uses love, and great and precious covenant promises to motivate belief in a person's heart.  Satan uses fear and intimidation to control and manipulate.  Satan is counting on his tactics to cause individuals to abandon their knowledge and belief in God's Word, to abandon their intelligence and spiritual poise, in lieu of the fabulous sensory show he shall feed to them through their own five senses.

 

God tells us how Goliath was dressed up for the big show.

 

1 Sam. 17:5  And [he had] an helmet of brass upon his head, and he [was] armed with a coat of mail;

 

and the weight of the coat [was] five thousand shekels of brass.

 

"helmet of brass" - this is a poor translation.  The helmet was most likely made of bronze, an alloy of copper.  Historical evidence shows that bronze was the predominant metal used during this period. However, Goliath was a veteran warrior and most likely a "decorated" champion due to his physical size and ability, and perhaps may have worn "embellishments" to his armor as would be fitting for a champion. 

 

Depending on how big Goliath's head was (big in every sense of the word), the helmet, if solid metal could have weighed about 15 pounds to cover a cranial cavity that size, although there probably wasn't much there to protect.

 

James M. Freeman in his book "Manners and Customs of the Bible" describes a Philistine helmet:

 

"The Philistine helmet as represented on ancient monuments, was of unique form.  From the head-band there arose curved lines, by which the outline of the helmet was hollowed on the sides and rounded on top.  Goliath's helmet was doubtless of this shape, and, being made of brass, must have presented a beautiful picture."

 

Our worldly nature does the same thing, it motivates us to desire to wear the "right" clothes, drive the right car, have the right education, say the right things, keep the right company, etc., so that we can be as impressive as we can to get things to go our way, to go as favorably for us as we can. Our worldly nature uses this method to impress and psyche out our fellow human beings, to portray to them that we are perhaps more highly educated, more highly developed, more highly "whatever" than they, to get that "something" from them for ourselves.  Some people are more accomplished than others at this common practice of social showbiz.  Satan is the master at this. 

 

Concerning those mortals who are good at social showbiz, their skilled practice of it doesn't speak well for them about who is the source of the example they are following, of both their tactics and personal motivations.  This spirit of competition runs contrary to the teaching of God's Word, and especially to what Jesus Christ demonstrated through giving his own life, to "love your neighbor as yourself" (Mat. 22:39). 

 

In holy scripture, competition is one of the correct descriptions of our spiritual conflict with the devil and his demon spirits.  Since the day of Pentecost Apostle Paul's abundant use of this kind of terminology describing competition, alludes to what in those days would be the equivalent of what we call our Olympic games.  But in those games in the Roman arenas they often fought to the death, which outcome determined the "winner".  Apostle Paul was absolutely not referring to our spiritual competition, any spiritual battle, as merely a game!

 

"armed" - Heb. labesh, meaning "wrapped". Spiritually, we are to wrap ourselves with the "armor" of God (Eph. 6:10-18), so that wherever the adversary tries to hit us, we're covered and ready.  The spiritual competition is first and foremost in our minds, so we are to "wrap up" first our minds with the knowledge of God's Word, like the knowledge in this record.

 

"coat of mail" - Heb., shiryon kaskassim, meaning armor of scales.

 

God's even telling us the particular type of armor that Goliath wore. God's painting a picture for us with words, so we, now, can "see" in our mind what the Israel armies saw with their eyes when they looked at that Philistine warrior, a massive angry white-hot ball of Satanic fury, clothed in gleaming shinny armor.  The devil was out to kill the children of Israel, and thereby kill the bloodline of God's promised coming redeemer.

 

"five thousand shekels of brass" - According to the "The New Bible Dictionary" by J. D. Douglas, the weight of a shekel referred to in this verse is probably the "common shekel" used to weigh metal objects, equaling about 11.38 grams. So, 11.38 grams per shekel times 5,000 = 56,900 grams, divided by 28.35 grams per ounce equals 2,007.1 ounces, divided by 16 ounces per pound equals about 125.44 pounds.  Goliath's "armor of scales" weighed about 125 pounds!

 

So, why is God telling us the weight of Goliath's armor of scales?  Because He wants us to understand the mistake the Israelite armies made when they were intimidated by HOW BIG AND STRONG physically (flesh and blood!) a warrior would need to be to go into battle carrying a weight of at least 125 pounds in just body armor alone!  This doesn't include the weight of the helmet, which weighed as much as 15 pounds, or more!  The helmet of 15 pounds plus the armor of scales of 125 pounds comes to 140 pounds thus far in just body armor. 

 

The Israelite soldiers saw this with their eyes.  Satan made sure they saw this.  He had Goliath move across the valley and up the hill on Israel's side, to get him right up front and close to the Israelite soldiers, to instill intimidation and fear in their hearts in place of belief in God's Word. 

 

The point God is starting to make in this record is that physical circumstances mean nothing compared to His heart's desire and the power of His "arm" to deliver His people out of seeming impossible situations, and especially spiritual battles.