Champion Warfare


There is an ancient practice in battle know as champion warfare. Instead of the armies engaging in battle with both sides suffering much bloodshed, the generals or kings put forth their champions to fight in single combat with the winner taking all. One of the earliest illustration of champion warfare was from the story of Sinuhe circa 2000 BC. Scholars think that this Egyptian story of Sinuhe was most likely a work of fiction. In literature, Homer’s Iliad contains champion warfare when Achilles battles Hector (circa 760 – 710 BC).

There is a genuine story of champion warfare found in 1 Samuel 17 with the combat between David and Goliath. Many people who have never opened a Bible have heard of this story. The Philistine champion is a giant of a man and seemingly undefeatable. David is a youth (1 Sam. 17:33) and probably under the age of 20, since fighting age in Israel is 20 or above (Numbers 1:20). He is delivering food to his brothers when he hears the war cry and Goliath’s challenge. None in the Israelite army has the courage to take on the challenge. So David volunteers to fight him in champion warfare.

David approaches Goliath with no weapon but a sling, 5 stones, and his staff. Goliath mocks him saying that Israel is sending a boy to fight with sticks. David replies (paraphrased): “You’re not just fighting me. You go up against God Almighty, the Lord of hosts.” David then runs toward Goliath and slings a stone at him. It does not appear that the stone kills Goliath, but it knocks him down on his face. David then runs to Goliath, takes his sword, and kills him. David displays amazing faith to run, not walk, towards the battle against overwhelming might.

We have an even greater story of champion warfare. In this story the enemy is more formidable and is undefeated in the history of all human kind. The enemy is sin and its consequence, death. Now my champion is Jesus of Nazareth, a direct descendant of David. He defeated sin and for that, man nailed him to a cross. And three days later He defeated death and rose from the grave.

Is Jesus your champion? He can be.

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