Posted this on Jehoshaphat v The Virus this morning…..
Thinking this morning (as I do now and then 😄) about the world situation, and what the way forward is. It all looks pretty bleak, if you’re looking in the wrong direction. In my last post, I talked about “looking up”, keeping our focus on God and His power, and not on the circumstances surrounding us. Today, I want to briefly look at a Bible account of someone who did just that, and overcame the obstacle facing himself and his entire nation.
1 Samuel 17 gives us the story of David and Goliath, and how a young shepherd boy, who wasn’t even part of Israel’s army, fought and killed the towering champion of the invading Philistines.
I want to make some observations about what I see in this account that we can apply in our lives.
v 3-7 The APPEARANCE of Goliath was overwhelming – he was so much bigger than anyone the Israelites had ever seen before, and they assumed that his sheer size indicated invincibility.
v 8-10 Goliath spelled out the conditions of the encounter that would decide who won. Think about it – who said that HE could make the rules? But again, his size and arrogant, bullying manner made the Israelites believe what he said.
v 11 The result of the initial encounter – the entire nation, including their king, was scared out of their wits.
v 12-22 Describes how David came to get involved – he was going about his usual daily work, and his father sent him to take food to his brothers, who were all in the army.
v 23-24 David heard first hand what Goliath was bellowing out across the valley, and saw the terrified response of his countrymen.
v 25-31 David talked with some of the soldiers about the situation, upon which his oldest brother rebuked him. He probably resented David, who had shown courage in other situations in the past. The text seems to indicate that David was saying “It’s nothing but words” – all hot air, in reference to Goliath’s threatenings.
v 31-34 Word got back to Saul, the king, and he sent for David, wanting to hear for himself what the boy had to say. Saul was also looking only at the visible circumstances: when David said, “Don’t let anyone be afraid – I’ll go and fight with the Philistine!”, Saul said something like, “What? What can you do? You’re just a boy, and he’s been a warrior all his life!”
v 35-36 David put things in perspective – he told of how he’d killed wild animal predators when they attacked his father’s flock of sheep, and declared that Goliath was just another predator that needed taking down.
v 37 The key verse in the whole story: David said, “And the LORD, who delivered me from the lion and the bear, HE will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” It must have struck a chord somewhere in Saul, because he said, “Go, and the Lord be with you.”
v 38-40 Saul was still looking at the natural order of things, however, and he insisted on covering David in armour, and a brass helmet, and a huge sword. David, however, clanked about and then took it all off, saying, “I can’t wear this, because I HAVEN’T PROVEN IT.” David needed to work with tools that he understood and was skillful in using.
v 40-44 David went down to the place where Goliath was bellowing out his empty threats – and Goliath was more than a little put out that a mere boy had been sent to oppose him. Like everybody else in the valley, he couldn’t see things the way David saw them, because he took into consideration only what his eyes told him. He “cursed David by his gods” and told him what he intended to do with him.
v 45-47 Whereas Goliath’s assessment of things was based only on his own natural strength and past conquests, David gave ALL the glory for what was about to happen to God alone. Look at some of the things he says to Goliath:
“I come to you IN THE NAME OF THE LORD OF HOSTS, whom you have defied”
“Today THE LORD WILL DELIVER YOU into my hand”
“That all the earth may know that THERE IS A GOD IN ISRAEL”
“And everyone will know that the Lord doesn’t need a sword and spear, BECAUSE THE BATTLE IS THE LORD’S, and He will give you into our hands.”
v 48 David’s goading made Goliath stride toward him – he was going to get this upstart out of his hair! Didn’t worry David – he RAN TOWARD Goliath! He knew what was going to happen.
Of course, we know that David’s accuracy, powered by God, killed Goliath, and that, true to character, the Philistine army fled. No loyalty among the enemies of God – they’ll turn on each other at the drop of a hat.
How does all of this apply to us?
- Don’t be deterred by the empty threats and lies that the enemy is so good at propagating.
- Be encouraged by past victories that God has won for you.
- Don’t let the fear of those around you affect your thinking and your faith.
- Don’t let people put you down and tell you that you can’t do anything about what’s happening.
- Use your God-given abilities to achieve what you need to do; don’t try unfamiliar ways (unless God says otherwise, of course).
- Give God the credit for the victory – without Him we can do nothing.
We are most certainly facing a massive Goliath today – but it’s just another obstacle that needs to be cleared out of the way. Don’t think for a minute that it’s insurmountable and that we must comply with the enemy’s conditions. Have faith in the power of God to overcome it, and make yourself available to play whatever part He has for you.