We love the ‘miracle moments’ in a story, don’t we? When the hero finally defeats the villain we cheer. Who does not appreciate a story about a person who, against all odds, gets an education, builds a family, and finds success? When we see success, we tend to forget the hard work – the years of training, the long days invested – that are part of the foundation.
In the Bible, Samuel tells us the story of a young man, probably around the age of 16, who is sent down to the army encampment of Israel to take supplies to his brothers in the army. When David arrives, he hears a man bellowing insults against Israel and the Lord, challenging anyone from Israel to come and fight him. Goliath was a fearsome man, a ‘giant’ as Samuel tells us. He was probably around 7 feet tall in a time when most men were closer to 5.5 feet tall, so he was gigantic by comparison. He was a beast of a man and a seasoned warrior. David heard Goliath’s challenge and wondered why nobody was taking him on! His brothers ridiculed him, telling him to shut his mouth and keep his naïve opinions to himself! But, David kept on talking and soon found himself before Israel’s king, Saul. “Master,” said David, “don’t give up hope. I’m ready to go and fight this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:32, The Message)
When Saul saw he was talking to a skinny kid, just off the farm, he was not impressed. “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” (1 Samuel 17:33, NLT) What king would put the entire destiny of his nation on the shoulders of a kid who still had a downy beard? What reasonable leader would let a kid, no matter his courage, venture onto a field of battle with a man who was Special Forces trained and who had been on missions before this kid was born? So, Saul, realistically assesses the situation and tells David, “You can’t do this!”
Now, read what David answers the king. He was not just a kid with a dream. He wasn’t just hoping for a moment of glory. “But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you.” (1 Samuel 17:34-37, NIV)
It’s such a great story, isn’t it? David had been doing the right things for a long time, learning to be courageous, trusting God in tough moments, experiencing real life. No, he had not taken on a giant, but he had defeated some big predators who were after his sheep. Most telling of all, this man/boy has a faith that is unusually mature. “The Lord will deliver me.” It would sound like an empty boast if he did not have a resume to back it up, wouldn’t it?
Who is telling, “you can’t do that?” Maybe you are sabotaging yourself, letting fear overwhelm you, sitting out the smaller conflicts where faith’s muscles could start to grow. Only a fool tries to take on a giant before he has taken on a bear! The singer of Psalms took time to look up and worship while he followed the flock of sheep around. He saw the beauty of the world in which he walked and praised God, convinced that Somebody bigger than himself was in charge. He tested his faith and was ready to meet the giant.
Let’s not forget that the Goliath episode was not the ultimate victory story in David’s life. It was the moment he was introduced to the nation of Israel, starting a long journey that took about 20 years of struggle through betrayal, lies, palace intrigue, and assassination attempts before he was anointed the king as God had promised. After his spectacular success in the defeat of Goliath, David did not retire to write a book and collect royalties. He started looking for the next assignment from the Lord, adding yet another ‘success’ to his resume.
Are you constantly building a faith story?
Are you meeting today’s challenges with solid trust in the Lord that rests on His promise and your experience of His faithfulness in the past?
Do what you can do, where you can, today! A Goliath moment may be ahead for you and you need to be ready to answer those who say, “You can’t do this!”
Here is a word from the Word. “So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. “For in just a little while, the Coming One will come and not delay. And my righteous ones will live by faith. But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.” But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.” (Hebrews 10:35-39, NLT)
You stood before creation
Eternity in Your hand
You spoke the earth into motion
My soul now to stand
You stood before my failure
And carried the cross for my shame
My sin weighed upon Your shoulders
My soul now to stand
So what can I say
And what can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You
So I’ll walk upon salvation
Your Spirit alive in me
My life to declare Your promise
My soul now to stand
So I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours
Joel Houston © 2005 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055