Serving the High Plains

A tale of two camps

Our grandson spent a week at two church camps this summer — one in northern New Mexico and one in southern New Mexico, both in the mountains.

When we dropped him off at the second camp, I mentioned to his cabin counselor he’d spent a week at the other camp a couple of weeks previously. The counselor jokingly apologized, saying he’d gone to that camp as a youth. He also admitted both camps knew many young people attended both, which led to the development of a healthy but congenial rivalry. Regardless, he hoped our grandson also would enjoy learning about God at this camp.

First Samuel 17 describes two camps on hills across a valley from each other, at which time David defeated Goliath leading the Israelites to rout the Philistines. There are several points in 1 Samuel 17 that can help us in our Christian life.

First, despite the misgivings of experienced soldiers, including his own brothers, David knew God controlled the battle and actually already owned the victory (verses 23-37, 41-47; Romans 8:31-32). David was merely God’s servant in the process.

Whatever we face, whether alone or in a crowd, God is with his followers (Psalm 23:1-6; John 10:27-28; Hebrews 13:5-6; Matthew 28:18-20). He wins our battles for us without regard to numbers because he’s greater than all others combined (1 Samuel 14:6-23; 2 Kings 6:8-17; 1 John 4:4).

Second, Satan is a daunting foe, even using fear of death to separate us from God (Hebrews 2:14-18). I don’t believe he can cause death, though, because while death came into the world because of man’s sin, which Satan instigated, and all have sinned, God determines our lifespan so we might come to him (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-24; Romans 5:12-13; 3:23; 6:23; Acts 17:26-27; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7; Psalm 139:13-16). Satan can only tempt and accuse, reminding us and God of our sins hoping we’ll give up on our salvation (Revelation 12:10-12; Romans 8:33-34; 2 Corinthians 2:10-11; James 1:13-15).

Third, in addition to limiting Satan’s power, God provides us the means to defeat him. We have to use the right tools and not wear armor that doesn’t fit, though (1 Samuel 17:38-40). The only armor befitting a Christian to ward off Satan is the armor God provides (Ephesians 6:10-18). Note that when prayer is included, three of the seven pieces of armor specifically mention knowledge of God — truth, gospel (good news) and the word of God through which righteousness is revealed for salvation of everyone who lives by faith (Matthew 4:4; John 1:1-5, 14; Romans 1:1-17). Righteousness, salvation, and faith are associated with the remaining three pieces of armor.

Do you recognize that God is always in control, except of your choice to give him control (Joshua 24:14-15)? Are you using ALL of God’s armor to have him in your camp and keep Satan out, even causing him to flee (James 4:6-10; Matthew 4:10-11)? There’s no safe middle ground and, for protection, only Gods armor is trustworthy (Luke 11:21-23)!

Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan who writes about faith for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at [email protected].