You Must Actually Fail

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6


The problem with faith is that you must actually fail.  Too often when we run into obstacles where our faith is and will certainly be tested (1 Peter 1:7), we can easily come to the conclusion that we are wrong or our faith is in vain…in certain cases we can even think that that even the foundations are gone!  (Psalms 11:3)


“But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the devoted things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the devoted things; so the anger of Jehovah burned against the children of Israel.  Now Joshua sent men from Jericho to Ai, which is next to Beth Aven, to the east of Bethel, and spoke to them, saying, Go up and spy out the land. And the men went up and spied out Ai.  And they returned to Joshua and said to him, Do not let all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and strike Ai. Do not make all the people toil there, for they are few.  So about three thousand men went up there from the people, but they fled before the men of Ai.  And the men of Ai struck down about thirty-six men, for they chased them from before the gate as far as Shebarim, and struck them down on the descent. And the hearts of the people melted and became like water.  And Joshua tore his clothes, and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of Jehovah until evening, he and the elders of Israel; and they threw dust on their heads.  And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord Jehovah, why have You brought this people over the Jordan at all; to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? Oh, that we had been content, and dwelt on the other side of the Jordan!  O Lord, what shall I say when Israel turns its back before its enemies?  For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will hear it, and surround us, and cut off our name from the earth. Then what will You do for Your great name? And Jehovah said to Joshua: Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face?  Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I have commanded them. For they have even taken some of the devoted things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff.  Therefore the sons of Israel were not able to stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they are accursed. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you.  Get up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says Jehovah the God of Israel: There is a devoted thing in your midst, O Israel; you are not able to stand before your enemies until you take away the devoted thing from among you.”  Joshua 7:1-13


So you have here Joshua on this face, he had faith, tested it and ‘failed’ or at least he thought so.  He cries out to God, using similar arguments made from Moses (Numbers 14:13), he did not actually fail.  God explained to Joshua why Israel was struck down before Ai and if you read further on in that chapter, you will see that the sin is taken care of and Israel then defeats their enemies.


Let’s examine David and Goliath, which once was something that nearly every single American adult had heard about during Sunday School or from some sort of church, but now many of the younger generation has not a clue who David or Goliath were.


“Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered together at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim.  And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines.  The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with the valley between them.  And a man came out from the camp of the Philistines between the two armies, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.  He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was wearing a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze.  And he had armor of bronze on his legs, and a bronze gorget between his shoulders.  The stock of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield bearer went before him.  And he stood and called out to the ranks of Israel, and said to them, Why have you come out to be arrayed for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me.  If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.  And the Philistine said, I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.  When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.  Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem Judah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons. And the man was old in the days of Saul, advanced in years among men.  The three oldest sons of Jesse went out after Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah.  David was the youngest, and the three oldest had gone after Saul.  And David went and returned from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem.  And the Philistine drew near and presented himself morning and evening, forty days.  And Jesse said to his son David, Take now for your brothers an ephah of this roasted grain and these ten loaves, and run to your brothers at the camp.  And carry these ten cuts of cheese to the commander of their thousand, and see how your brothers fare, and bring back news of them.  Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.  And David arose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, and took the things and went as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the camp as the army was going out to the battle line and shouting for the battle.  For Israel and the Philistines had drawn up in battle array, rank against rank.  And David left the things in the hand of the supply keeper, ran to the army, and came and inquired after the welfare of his brothers.  And as he talked with them, behold the man came out from the ranks of the armies of the Philistines, between the two armies, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name; and he spoke according to the same words. And David heard.  And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were very much afraid.  And the men of Israel said, Have you seen this man who comes up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel. And it shall be that the man who kills him, the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free from taxes in Israel.  And David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the ranks of the living God!  And the people answered him in this manner, saying, Thus shall it be done for the man who kills him.   Now Eliab his oldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger burned 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 your naughty heart, for you have come down to see the battle.  And David said, What have I done now? Was it not just words?  And he turned from him toward another and spoke the same words; and these people answered him according to the first words.  And when the words which David had spoken were heard, they were reported before Saul; and he sent for him.  And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant shall go and fight with this Philistine.  And Saul said to David, You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.  And David said to Saul, Your servant was grazing his father’s sheep; and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and rescued the lamb out of its mouth; and when it arose against me, I took hold of it by its beard, and struck and killed it.   Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has reproached the ranks of the living God.  Moreover David said, Jehovah, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Go, and Jehovah be with you!  And Saul clothed David with his garments, and he put a bronze helmet on his head, and clothed him with body armor.  And David girded his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul, I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them. And David took them off.  Then he took his staff in his hand; and he chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand. And he drew near to the Philistine.  And the Philistine proceeded to come near to David, with the man carrying the shield before him.  And when the Philistine considered and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and of good appearance.  And the Philistine said to David, Am I a dog, that you are coming to me with sticks? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.  And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field!  Then David said to the Philistine, You are coming to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I am coming to you in the name of Jehovah of Hosts, the God of the ranks of Israel, whom you have reproached.  This day Jehovah will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the heavens and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.  Then all this assembly shall know that Jehovah does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is Jehovah’s, and He has given you into our hands.  So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hastened and ran toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.  And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.  So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David.   Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their strong man was dead, they fled.  And the men of Israel and Judah rose up and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell along the way to Shaaraim, even as far as Gath and Ekron.  And the sons of Israel returned from hotly pursuing the Philistines, and plundered their camps.  And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his weapons in his tent.”  1st Samuel 17:1-54


So much can be learned about the story of David and Goliath!  The amount of lessons in this passage of the Bible is remarkable.  However, for the purpose of this article we are simply going to be looking at David’s response to Goliath in faith in God.


David provides and excellent example, where there are no clues of shying away, he even can not wear the armor.  It is not recorded that he was pleading with God to ensure his faith was genuine, but no rather he simply trusted in his Maker (1 Samuel 17:37)

ADDENDUM:  “If you should think in your heart, These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?
Deu 7:18  you shall not be afraid of them, but you shall call to mind to remember what Jehovah your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt:
Deu 7:19  the great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which Jehovah your God has brought you out. Thus shall Jehovah your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid. ”  Dueteronomy 7:17-19  END ADDENDUM


When the battle actually began, those who observed David, including some of his family members, had a front seat row to see if he would actually fail.  Yet when David engaged in the battle he RAN towards Goliath!


There is no inkling of fear, there is no hint of despair or worry, no, but rather on the firm foundation of the Lord (2 Timothy 2:19), he went for it with all of his might.  Oh…much easier said than done, but very honorable to follow the example of David and strive with all of our being to be pleasing to the Lord in all manner of conversation (1 Peter 1:15).


However, there are times when even the greats mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11, make errors regarding faithful living.  One could consider and study about Abraham and his journey to Egypt, due to the famine in the land (Genesis 12:10)


The definition of faith, which is given in the Bible, is the following:


“Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Hebrews 11:1


Read through Hebrews chapter 11, as a reminder of the great things that have been done for God in faith, through the men and women who were before us.


“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”  2nd Corinthians 5:7


Those you put their trust and faith in Him will not fail.


“Blessed is the man who trusts in Jehovah, and Jehovah is his refuge.”  Jeremiah 17:7