David & Goliath
Read: 1 Samuel 17, John 10:11-15, John 16:33
Anxiety, worry and fear — they are everywhere in our culture.
People worry about politics, work, school, friends and family. They worry about health, relationships and the future. You name the subject, somebody probably worries about it.
People are crippled by anxiety, worry and fear. They deal with it in all sorts of ways, but many just clam up, hoping the issue will just go away.
This issue is not unique to our culture, however. The Bible is pretty clear this is an issue people have faced for eons, and for which God has a solution.
The topics is actually central to the story of David and Goliath, found in 1 Samuel 17. In the text, the Israelites, who are at war with the Philistines, are quaking in fear at one man within their enemy’s ranks — Goliath.
Goliath is a big guy; 6 cubits and a span, to be precise. That is about 9 feet and 9 inches.
Everyday, this giant of a man would taunt the Israelites. He’d shout out to them and say “Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.”
The Israelite army did not respond to this well. The text states they were “dismayed and terrified” and “they all fled from him in great fear.” They did this song and dance for about 40 days, without any resolution, 1 Samuel 17 states.
That is until David comes on the scene. David, of Bethlehem, was the youngest of eight brothers. His three oldest brothers were on the front lines, trying to deal with the Goliath problem along with the rest of the Israelites. But, David was not known as a warrior; David was a shepherd, who spent his days tending to sheep.
Yet, as David’s brothers and the entirety of the Israelite army hid at the sound of Goliath’s voice, the young shepherd stood resolute in the face the giant. In fact, he took on the Philistine’s challenge — and succeeded.
David killed Goliath.
Don’t we behave like the Israelites — like all the time? I know I do. I worry about work, I worry about my family and I definitely worry about the future. When I was younger, I worried about school, relationships and, of course, the future. As they did then, my problems today seem like insurmountable giants. My solution more often than not is to run, hide and hope the problems disappear (not actually an effective strategy, if you couldn’t guess).
But the Bible says we do not have to be afraid of anything. Just look at David; in 1 Samuel 17 he knew he had the God Almighty on his side, which is why he could face Goliath and exclaimed “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head.”
We have that same God backing us up in our day to day lives. Whenever we feel like the world is overtaking us, and we want to be passive, we can know God is with us. And that is a big deal.
In John 10:11-15, Jesus said he lays his life down for the sheep, doing anything to keep his sheep safe. Later, in John 16:33, Jesus said he has overcome the world. That is our God and he is with us!
David knew this, that is why he was able to take on Goliath. But, he didn’t just know it because he heard someone tell him one time at church. He lived that truth.
In 1 Samuel 17, David says he is confident he can take on Goliath because of his past experiences of God showing up in his life. He remembered back to his days in the pasture, when while tending his flock a bear or a lion attacked his sheep. He hunted down the predator and attacked it. God was with him, and rescued his sheep.
We have access to those same past experience, too. Whenever we face trials, we can remember all the times that God showed up in our lives and use those to spur us on to bravery.
Identify the areas where life feels too big to handle.
Remember the amazing ways God has showed up in your life and use those memories to remind you of the fact God is bigger than your problems.
Take it a step further and think about how you might be letting fear stop you from having conversations about Jesus with your classmates. Reflect on the bigness of God and remind yourself of how God will be with you in those circumstances, too.
Go share Jesus with people.