Choosing the Right Fight
Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was aroused against David, and he said, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down here to see the battle.” — 1 Samuel 17:28
Just before the battle with Goliath, David’s oldest brother picked a fight with him. David was simply inquiring about what would be done for the person who killed Goliath. King Saul had said that he would give the man who slew Goliath great wealth, one of his daughters, and an exemption from paying taxes (v.25). This sounded to David like a fight worth fighting.
I can’t help but think about how many of us would have engaged in the wrong fight. David and Eliab were brothers. They could have come together and at least talked battle plans and stayed focused on the real enemy. Instead, Eliab focused on his brother. Why? Because it is easier to point out faults with your brother than it is to actually fight the enemy looking to destroy you!
Now, obviously David could have won a fight with his brother. If he went on to kill Goliath, he could have probably killed his brother. However, David, even as a teenager, was much wiser than most adults today. He saw that there was no reward for winning a fight against his brother. Why waste time fighting against your own people?
Isn’t it interesting that the people who say they are children of God end up fighting each other more often than the enemy? I mean there are so many disagreements among denominations and among churches of different sizes. The big churches find ways to belittle the small churches and the small churches believe the big churches are just a bunch of heretics. The arguments seem endless. I know because I used to participate in them a lot more than I care to admit.
I thought of this devotional one day while teaching math class. You see, when you teach middle school, you are constantly going to battle. Kids, for the most part, do not want to work. Teachers, on the other hand, want them to work. Therefore, day after day, we fight to put knowledge in those young minds while they fight against us. One day, the thought hit me, “Why aren’t we fighting together?” I can only imagine how unbelievable a year would be if the students and I were unified in fighting as a team instead of fighting individually against each other’s will. We would all be winners in the end.
Though my school example may never come to fruition, I believe the church example can. If we are all believers saved by the same blood of Jesus Christ and filled with the same Holy Spirit, we can and should be unified. We must quit fighting trivial battles amongst our own brethren and start focusing on the real enemy.
I believe it comes with simply following David’s example. Two verses later it says, “Then he turned from him (Eliab) . . .” Why waste a whole bunch of time arguing amongst each other when there is a real enemy, really defying God, and really looking to enslave all of us?
No matter what our denomination is. No matter what the size of our church is. No matter what our insignificant differences may be, let’s fight the real enemy. If you feel a fellow “Christian” is more interested in attacking you than the enemy, walk away from them and go fight alone. Fight the real battle. David teaches us that God can bring about a great victory through a person with a heart after Him.
Lord, may we all have the right heart to do your will. Open our eyes that we may clearly see. Give us wisdom and discernment to only fight the real enemy.