Who ever heard of defeating a whole army with a stone shot from a sling? Well, if you’ve heard Bible stories, you’ve probably heard of that one, hurled by young David at the giant Goliath, resulting in a rout of the whole Philistine army.
Here are some other unconventional weapons God used in the hands of his people in the Old Testament:
–An oxgoad in the hands of Shamgar that killed 600 Philistines who had been oppressing Israel. (Judges 3:31)
–A tent peg driven by Jael, a woman, into the temple of an enemy general as he slept. (Judges 4:21)
—Ram’s horns, clay jars and torches in the hands of Gideon and his 300 men. The cacophany in the middle of the night threw the huge Midianite army into panic so that many killed one another and the others fled. (Judges 7:16ff)
–A donkey’s jawbone in the hands of Samson that killed 1000 Philistines. (Judges 15:15)
—Songs of praise to God from the mouths of the choir marching in front of Jehoshaphat’s army. When they reached the enemy, they found that God had already responded to their song by causing them to slaughter one another. (2 Chronicles 20:21)
God doesn’t require the latest modern weapons to win the victory. In each of these cases, it was not the strength of the weapons themselves but the faith of God’s people in His infinite power. Yes, that power is still available today. It’s a wonderful thing to wield the weapon of prayer and watch God do amazing things in response.
Samson. Famous for his strength but not for his character. His strength was his hair—no, that’s not right. His strength was God who brought this man into existence (born to a barren couple) for His own purpose of bringing down the Philistines who were oppressing His people, Israel. Samson’s strength was conditional on his obedience to God as a Nazirite, one who lived under a vow to God symbolized by uncut hair and abstinence from alcoholic drink.
His weakness was women, including the infamous Delilah. Or is it more accurate to say that his weakness was taking God for granted? Over and over, he got out of his scrapes by means of his superhuman strength, when “the Spirit of the Lord empowered him”
to tear apart an attacking lion with his bare hands,
break his shackles,
kill 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey,
uproot monstrous city gates and carry them 40 miles,
and do other amazing things.
But a woman’s crocodile tears were enough to defeat Samson. Plus the fact that he took God for granted. Samson finally divulged his secret to Delilah, who had his hair cut and then awakened him shouting, “The Philistines have come to capture you!” He assumed that he would again be able to escape again by his great strength—as usual. But—and here’s the saddest part of the whole story—“But he didn’t realize the LORD had left him.” (You can read this whole account in the Bible, in Judges chapters 13-16.)
The strength of our nations and our families, the blessings of freedom and plenty are all gifts from God, to be used for His purposes. When we forget why we have these and assume that we’re entitled to them regardless of how we live our lives, we’d better be ready for an unpleasant surprise. We must not take God for granted!
The best-equipped army cannot save a king,
nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory—
for all its strength, it cannot save you.
But the LORD watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love. (Psalm 33:16-18)