Young David did not mince words as he bravely confronted the Philistine’s blasphemous champion, Goliath, who had terrified Israel with his fearsome threats each morning and evening.
45 Then David said to the Philistine (Goliath), “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord 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 air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:45, 47 (NKJV)
At God’s direction, the prophet Samuel had anointed this unlikely young shepherd boy to be the next king of Israel. God approved of David’s faithful heart, as well as his bravery, demonstrated the many times he had protected his family’s flock of sheep against attacking animal predators. That is exactly the type of person that God was looking for to protect His own flock of believers against the attacks of the evil one.
Just as God had emboldened Jonathan against the Philistines’ garrison on an earlier occasion, David was led by the Spirit of the Lord as he took on Goliath, who had been terrorizing the armies of Israel for the previous forty days. David did not say that he would defeat Goliath – he said that the Lord would. The battle was the Lord’s. He was just there to faithfully defend God’s Name, being willing to sling a rock, his usual method of defense, and then using Goliath’s large sword to finish the job.
When we look back over our own lives, we can see the many battles that we have had to take on. Win or lose, the Lord safely brought us through each one of them, never leaving our side, even as we recovered from any wounds. All those many prayers we lifted to Him along the way were answered in God’s perfect will – some at the time, others later, often after we had even forgotten we prayed them. When His answer was “No”, He usually gave us something better than we had asked for.
In his divinely inspired challenge of Goliath, David leaned on his past experience of trusting the Lord. He would treat Goliath just like one of those lions or bears that had attacked his lambs. David picked up five smooth stones from the brook and used his sling to plant the first one right in Goliath’s forehead. The giant man fell on his face, and the young David quickly grabbed Goliath’s sword and decapitated him. Armies on both sides of the battle must have been in complete shock to see this unexpected turn of events.
51 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 champion was dead, they fled. 52 Now the men of Israel and Judah arose and shouted, and pursued the Philistines as far as the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron. 1 Samuel 17:51-52 (NKJV)
Once again, God delivered His people using a person of faith and courage to do it.
We, too, are sometimes faced with challenges that require us to lean on our faith and courage. Nobody enjoys being in this position, but it is a fact of life that most of us must face difficult trials at one time or another.
By looking to our past, we can see the many times that we have prevailed through tough times by the presence and power of Jesus Christ. Jesus has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Even in our toughest of times, He is right by our side, making a way for us to move forward under the protection of His love. He who began a good work in us will see us safely through, right up to and over the finish line of life (Philippians 1:6).
When we are overwhelmed by circumstances around us and within us, it is often helpful to stop to spend some quality time with the Lord. We may choose to read His word, pray, sing praises, or just sit before Him in quiet reflection.
Another tool in our toolkit is to reach out to others. By giving someone else a blessing, we receive a double portion in return. Like David’s sheep, there is safety in numbers, and faithful friends can help us to stay close to the comfort of our loving Good Shepherd when our enemies are near.
Lord God, hold us close when we or our loved ones are going through times of trial. Use this time as a demonstration of Your great love and power, building our faith and granting us the strength and courage to trust You every step of the way. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.