Socialism (a political and economic theory of social organisation which advocates that the means of production, distribution and exchange should be owned or regulated by the government as a whole) had taken over Egypt and its environs. Joseph as a slave had found himself in an unbelievable place (prison) and was called upon by Pharaoh to interpret a dream that not even his magicians could interpret. Consequent on interpreting the dream, he was made second in command to the King and was also to oversee the equitable distribution and success of the country going through socialism.
Joseph’s brothers and parents were caught in a famine and the situation forced them to look for food in the only place where food was available, Egypt. On getting to Egypt, they discovered Joseph their brother was in charge and immediately something changed in them; their hunger disappeared. The information they discovered made them go back home and return to Egypt without eating and no one died or fainted as a result of hunger. Their perception had changed.
On their return from sighting the Promised Land, Caleb and Joshua gave a different report to that which the other ten spies that were sent had given. Truly, there were giants in the land but both sides gave different reports. Majority did not carry the vote, as is evident from the report of the ten spies on one side and Caleb and Joshua on the other side. The first ten spies said “there is truly a land that flowed with milk and honey in existence, there were giants there and in OUR OWN eyes WE looked like grasshoppers before the giants”, meaning it’s a no-go area.
Caleb and Joshua on the other hand, came back from viewing the same land and reported that “there is truly a land that flowed with milk and honey in existence, there were giants there and in OUR OWN eyes the GIANTS looked like grasshoppers before US”, meaning lets go and possess the land. We know the rest of the story!
The difference in their reports lies not in what they saw but in their perception.
Perception is a powerful thing. How we perceive a situation is fundamentally vital and important. Perception is the organisation, identification and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sensory organs. Our perceptions are shaped by learning, memory and expectation. In other words, it is the way in which something is regarded, understood or interpreted.
A person’s concept and expectations (knowledge) would influence their perception. Perception therefore depends on complex functions of the nervous system, but subjectively seems mostly effortless because this processing happens outside conscious awareness.
Viewing impossible situations from God’s point of view helps to put problems that seem so great in perspective and once we see clearly we can fight more effectively.
Let us look closely at the conquest at the valley of Elah. A “champion” called Goliath, who hailed from Gath; there was a quest by five enemy nations (Gath, Ekron, Askelon, Gaza and Ashdod) to take over the whole of Israel and all they represent. These were Philistines and were Israel’s worst enemy.
Goliath was Nine Feet tall in today’s measurement, had a headdress of brass on his head, and dressed in a coat of metal. His legs were covered with plates of brass and hanging on his back was a javelin of brass, the stem of his spear was as long as a cloth-workers rod and its head was made of iron. He took up his position and in a loud voice said to the armies of Israel, “why have you come out to make war? Am I not a Philistine and you servants of Saul? Send out a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to have a fight with me and overcome me, then we will be your servants; but if I am able to overcome him, then you will be our servants and do work for us. I have put to shame the armies of Israel this day; give me a man so that we may fight together”.
When Saul who was then the King of Israel and the whole of Israel heard the anger, ranting and the enraged way and manner with which Goliath spoke, they were all afraid and greatly dismayed, discouraged, disheartened and demoralised. Something must have informed this attitude. It was based on what they heard from Goliath coupled with his appearance. Not only were they greatly dismayed, they were greatly afraid. What they heard, what they saw formed their perception which was followed by their attitudinal response. All they heard and saw told them one thing; DON’T EVEN TRY or RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!
First thing in the morning Goliath appeared and repeated his lines again and again, waking the Israelites from sleep and before they go to sleep at night, he did the same thing. The Israelites would sleep and dream about him and during the day they would talk about him. It was Goliath, morning afternoon and night. He succeeded in controlling them through their senses. The negativity of the situation had been embedded in their minds.
In the mind and thoughts of the Israelites, there was a new gospel of Goliath. They spoke and preached about him to all who cared to listen. They said, “Have you seen this man? Clearly he has come out to put shame on Israel: and it is certain that if any man overcomes him, the King will give that man great wealth, will give him his daughter and make his father’s family free in Israel.
What was mind-blowing about Goliath is that he had no pedigree or records of fights won and victories achieved. The Israelites made postulations about him based on what they assumed. Human viewpoint can never assist divine plans; it complicates matters even more. When you don’t erase negative torments from the mind, it will lead to mental and emotional disorders.
David appeared at the scene by what I call the divine plan and decided to take on Goliath. Looking at his age and stature Saul told David that he could not fight Goliath; but David told Saul about the conquests such as killing the lion and the bear, which God had helped him to achieve,. He told Saul to allow him fight the UNCIRCUMCISED Philistine. Uncircumcision implied Goliath did not have a covenant with the living God of Israel.
Saul told David to go and said the Lord will be with him. I don’t know if Saul meant it or not but the Lord was indeed with David. Saul called David again as he was set to go and tried to give him his armoury but David refused because he had not tested it; knowing he had tested and approved of the workings of God. David had a different perception; informed by the things he had learnt from God.
Goliath had a very high centre of gravity due to his height; he would be very sluggish in his movements and the added weight of brass armoury he wore will further make him so slow and not agile especially in battle. He tried to intimidate David by the things he said to change David’s perception but David knew in whom he placed his trust. It took one stone to bring Goliath down. What was in the stone? Was the stone that powerful? Was the stone a bomb?
The battle was won because David saw things from a different perception. The battle was the Lord’s who had carved out the nation of Israel to be His people through the covenant of circumcision.
The significant thing is how we think about God. Focussing properly on God, we can overcome the wiles/stratagems of the enemy. If Satan can get your mind, then it does not matter what the outside presentation is, it is what you perceive that matters.
Your understanding of God’s position in relationship to your faith is crucial to how you think, because when you are in right relationship with God, your mind feeds on the Word and Spirit of Christ. Like the Ethiopian eunuch said, “how do I understand except someone guides me”.
Luther was spot on when he said, “Your thoughts of God are too human”.