Drawing Up the Battle Lines
1 Samuel 17:1-3
Verse 2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines.
It may appear that we are going out of order a bit for the next few days but the truth is that many scholars believe that these events are given slightly out of order to give a better understanding that David was a shepherd even after his calling, though God was putting him in places that would be preparing him for being the king of God’s people. That means today we start talking about one of the most famous stories in the Bible, known by Christians and non-Christians alike.
The Israelites had a long and somewhat complicated relationship with the Philistine nation. The Israelites were descendants of Noah’s son, Shem, while the Philistines were descendants of Noah’s son, Ham. Ham had 4 sons (Genesis 10:6) and the Philistines came from the line of his second son (Genesis 10:13-14). Years later Isaac lived among the Philistines during a famine, and like his dad before him, he lied saying that his wife was his sister so that they wouldn’t kill him to get Rebekah. Then the Philistines drove Isaac and his family off after God caused him to prosper more than them (Genesis 26). They later made a peace treaty of sorts between Isaac and King Abimelech.
Throughout the time of the judges the people of Israel fought the Philistines and they since they never drove them from the land like God had commanded, they continued to be a thorn in the side of God’s people. Their idols became a temptation for the Israelites and we will see in the days to come how they caused divisions among God’s people.
The place where the two nations came to draw the battle lines was about halfway between Jerusalem and Gaza. A valley between them, the enemies face each other to battle it out once again. The truth is they weren’t really drawing the battle lines that day, God had drawn them many years before. While the armies from both sides were thinking about this battle, God was seeing the whole war.
This war didn’t end with the Philistines and Israelites, we are still fighting the same battle ourselves. God has drawn the battle lines and we must learn to do what the Israelites failed to do many times against their enemy, hold the line. The line between good and evil never moves.
Making It Personal
Do you know where God has drawn the lines in various areas of your life? How prepared are you for the battle? What battle are you in today and how would God expect you to fight it?
Making It Personal Kids
What kinds of things do you think Jesus would say are worth fighting for? Do you stand up for the things that Jesus says are important? What can you stand up for today?
Father, thank You for drawing the battle lines for us so that we don’t have to guess where to line up for battles the enemy brings. Strengthen us to stand for You and Your ways in every situation. In Jesus’ name, amen.