One thing I’ve learned from David is not every battle I could fight is worth fighting. Actually, very few are really worth fighting. Most battles we find ourselves fighting are because someone upset us. Many challenges challenging us to a fight are only distractions luring us away from our destinies and robbing us of precious time, resources, and abundance.
HEROES OF THE BIBLE
By Pastor Delbert Young
DAVID Recognizing Which Battles to Fight
DAVID Recognizing Which Battles to Fight
Scriptures: 1 Samuel 17:26, 28, 1 Samuel 24:6, 1 Samuel 25:31, 32, 33, Proverbs 20:3
I want to begin our series today called HEROES OF THE BIBLE. My goal is not to do an extensive study on the hero. Rather, I want to look at one or two aspects of their lives helping them to be a hero. Today, let’s talk about DAVID and his ability of RECOGNIZING WHICH BATTLES TO FIGHT.
One thing I’ve learned is not every battle I could fight is worth fighting. Actually, very few are really worth fighting. Most battles we find ourselves fighting are because someone upset us. Many challenges challenging us to a fight are only distractions luring us away from our destinies and robbing us of precious time, resources, and abundance.
We have opportunities every day to get upset because someone is talking about us, or spreading rumors, or sent us a mean e-mail, or our spouse says something upsetting us, or someone does something ignorant in traffic, etc. We need to ask, “If I engage in this battle, spend my time and energy defending myself, arguing, trying to prove I’m right, even if I win, what’s the prize? What will this fight really accomplish?”
For instance, that person who upsets me in traffic, if I retaliate cutting him off, or yelling at him (her), allowing that to control me and mess up my day, how is that going to benefit me? You say, “Well, I feel better.” No you don’t. After it’s over, you feel like a fool for letting it get to you. You don’t know the person. If you did, you wouldn’t get upset. Five minutes later, they are not in your life and probably a speck in your rearview mirror and your mind at best. My point is, there are no spoils and it is not a battle worth fighting.
Many people miss God’s best by being distracted with battles that do not matter. They attempt to prove themselves. They attempt to win over all their critics. We need to choose our battles wisely. We shouldn’t be in fight mode all the time. It seems some people are upset every other minute with their spouse, or aggravated at their neighbor, or straightening somebody out, giving them a piece of their mind. Then for six-months, it consumes them. It takes their time, energy, and drains their emotions. It can even make them sick. That’s not a battle worth fighting. There are no spoils. Even if they win, it doesn’t put them any further ahead.
If we engage in every battle that comes along using our energy and focus on meaningless battles, we can’t use our energy and focus on things we should focus upon – destiny, prayer, family, etc.
We are supposed to be warriors, but a true warrior doesn’t fight every battle. He or she only fights battles where there is spoil worth fighting. It should be a battle standing between you and your God-given destiny.
We see this in David. His father instructed David to take his brothers some food at the battlefield. The brothers had a more prestigious position than did David for they were in the army and David kept sheep. When David arrived, he heard Goliath taunting and laughing at God’s people. Here is what David said and, I think, the first recorded words from David’s mouth in the scripture.
1 Samuel 17:26 David asked the men standing near him, “WHAT WILL BE DONE FOR the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel?
David was told the reward was great wealth, the king’s daughter in marriage (which meant that man would become important and powerful), and the man and his family would be exempt from taxes (1Sa 17:25). To David, that was a battle worth fighting. There were spoils and rewards.
Immediately a distraction came. David’s oldest brother attempted to embarrass David.
1 Samuel 17:28 But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and dishonesty. You just want to see the battle!”
“You are just a boy. You are not important. You will never do anything great. You’re not even doing what you are supposed to be doing. What about those few sheep you should be watching? You are a little rebellious sneaky child. You only want to see the show.” Here is how David responded to Eliab’s challenge to fight.
1 Samuel 17:29-30 And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause? AND HE TURNED FROM HIM toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.
David said, “Do what? What’s that got to do with anything? There is a cause here.” AND HE TURNED away asking about the spoils. David wasn’t afraid of Goliath, so we know he wasn’t afraid of Eliab.
One reason David is a hero of the Bible is he figured out which battles to fight. David had feelings exactly as you and I. I’m sure he wanted to come back at Eliab and say, “OK. If you’re so hot, then why aren’t you fighting the giant! Eliab, you are nothing but a big mouth coward.” David could have easily gotten into a cuss fight and tried to prove himself to Eliab and all those overhearing. Had he engaged in that battle, he would be distracted from the real cause and battle – Goliath.
We need to ask ourselves, are the battles I am engaging in right now worth fighting? Do they have any rewards? Will they further me toward what I really want in life and what God wants me to have? Or, am I simply attempting to pay someone back who upset me? I want us to realize that most of the distractions coming our way and crossing our paths on a daily basis are not worth fighting. They are meaningless wastes of time. If it’s not standing between you and your God-given destiny, ignore it. Turn and walk away. There is a real enemy to fight.
If someone doesn’t like you, it will not stop you from obtaining your destiny. Someone upset you in traffic, it will not stop you from obtaining your destiny. Someone upsets you at work, it will not stop you from obtaining your destiny. Those things are not worth starting World War III over. In the bigger picture, it’s meaningless.
When we get caught up in the petty fights, we could miss the Goliaths which push us toward our destinies. These days, people are too touchy and too easily offended. For example, people stop coming to church because they think people are talking about them. I called someone once to check on them. They had missed a few Sundays and she told me, “Everybody is talking about me.” I didn’t say this but, I thought, “Lady, everybody doesn’t know you. What actually happened is one person offended her. She said the music was too loud. The person suggested she move away from the speakers. She said, “Well, I’ll just stop going to church. I’ll show them.” Instead of realizing even if she won, she lost. Move to a different seat and try it. “Lady, surely you have bigger problems than this.” We’ve all been caught up into something like that. Things get blown out of proportion. Things get magnified. Nobody likes me. Everybody hates me. I think I’ll go eat worms. The point to that statement is we are the ones who end up eating the worms of life when we allow meaningless things to upset us. At my last check on her, she is not going to church at all.
I was eating in a restaurant once with someone and a person walked in. The person I was with said, “Brother, you need to pray for me concerning him.” I thought my goodness. “Why?” I thought there must have been some horrible event. He told me that years ago (I think about 10 years at that time) the person ran a business and he would not repair something he should have repaired. It was something that maybe amounted to $50. I thought, “And you’re still consumed with that? That guy doesn’t even recognize you. You’re not even on his radar.” We get upset with people and unknowingly to us, the person we are battling with dies, goes to heaven, and we are still consumed. Or, they retire, move to Florida, sitting on the beach, and couldn’t care less. They definitely are not concerned with you, yet we continue to battle years later with things having no spoil. I wanted to say, “Goodness. Let it go. I’ll give you $50.”
David became king because he picked his battles wisely. He refused to fight King Saul. David had opportunities to terminate Saul and take over the kingdom, but refused.
1 Samuel 24:6 He said to his men, “The LORD forbid that I should do such a thing to my master, the LORD’S anointed, or lift my hand against him; for he is the anointed of the LORD.”
David would not battle the Lord’s anointed. Too many people criticize churches and preachers. You can’t win those battles.
Once before David became king, a man named Nabal tremendously upset David. David was so angry he saddled up his might men and went to remove Nabal from the planet. Before David arrived, Abigail, a wise woman and Nabal’s wife, intercepted David. She told David everyone knew he would one day be the leader of Israel. She said…
1 Samuel 25:31 don’t let this be a blemish on your record. Then you won’t have to carry on your conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed and vengeance…
David calmed down and decided not to fight. He realized this had nothing to do with his destiny. It was only a distraction, anger, and vengeance.
1 Samuel 25:32-33 David replied to Abigail, “Praise the LORD, the God of Israel, who has sent you to meet me today! Thank God for your good sense! Bless you for keeping me from murdering the man and carrying out vengeance with my own hands.
I can’t count the times my wife has redirected my anger and vengeance. Her favorite statement is, “Just move over to the other lane.” God will send people to help us, but we have to listen. We need to convince ourselves some things just don’t matter.
I remember when Judy and I first got married, we had toothpaste in a tube. I would get very upset with Judy because she squeezed the tube at the top. Everybody knows you squeezed from the bottom. I would give Judy my speech about squeezing from the bottom, but soon, it would be squeezed at the top again. After about 5 years of allowing that to upset me and cause friction between Judy and me, I finally figured out, it did not matter. If I had to work the toothpaste up from the bottom from now on, it wasn’t worth the friction. There were no rewards. It was meaningless. That’s a small silly thing, but most of the things we think are so big are really small and silly. I could have kept fighting that battle and maybe one day won, but I would be sleeping in the garage.
How many arguments do you instigate that are just not worth it? How much distraction do you allow to upset you for nothing? Many times you can win the battle, but come out battled scarred. You say things you regret. Your blood pressure goes up. You lost sleep and stressed out. You won the battle, but you had a heart attack. How many years did that battle take off your life?
Wouldn’t it be better to be the bigger person, let it go, and experience peace? A bulldog can whip a skunk anytime, but it’s just not worth the outcome. You may be right, probably are (at least to you), but is it worth the stink? Is it worth the pressure, tension, stress, anger, loss of sleep? What are the rewards? Well, I proved I was right? OK, but what stink did you cause unnecessarily? The skunk would have gone it’s own stinking way and left you alone. How many people became your enemy who were not even involved? That person has family and friends. It’s easy to start a fight, but it’s not always easy to end it. It’s easy to start an argument and offend people, but it’s difficult to fix the damage.
Proverbs 20:3 It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but EVERY FOOL IS QUICK TO QUARREL. (NIV)
Proverbs 20:3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; ONLY FOOLS INSIST ON QUARRELING. (NLT)
If you want people to honor you and God to honor you, avoid a fight and strife. Don’t be a fool.
We need to be an example. Our children are watching. Friends are watching. They want to honor you, not think you are a fool. Look at the spoils and rewards before you allow yourself to get into a battle. Calm down and ask, “Is this something I would want for my child or my friend to do or see me do?”
If we are going to live in victory, we can’t become distracted with meaningless battles.Simply because you are given an opportunity to fight doesn’t mean you need to fight. You will miss seeing God’s abundance if you are focused on Eliab’s insults. If there are no rewards and spoils, leave it alone. Use your precious time and energy moving toward what you desire from life. Who cares which end of the toothpaste is squeezed? Does it really matter? Be the bigger person and live in peace and health. You can whip a skunk, but is it worth the stink? Be wise. It’s to your honor to avoid strife. It’s fools who are quick to quarrel. Be a hero and recognize which battles to fight.
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