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Jun 4, 2018

A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at Our website

Today we want to talk about another obstacle in the way of overcoming those giants in our lives. Last week we discovered you should never try to tackle Goliath alone, but go into the valley with God by your side. It’s also good to have a mentor, a friend, and a church along with you to conquer those giants that come your way.

There is an old saying that goes something like this, “People are more comfortable with the devil they know than with the angel they don’t know.” What does it mean? People will stay in a bad situation, stick with bad habits, continue down the same destructive path because they are comfortable with it. Even though they see what might be a better way, they still hold on to what they know instead of taking a chance with something they don’t know. It’s pretty amazing just how hard we push against change in our lives.

That was true of those warriors in the Valley of Elah who listen to the Philistine, Goliath, challenge them each day. For forty days, Goliath marched down the hillside and stood in the valley with his armor bearers. He dared anyone to come fight him. The Israeli warrior cowered in their tents. They knew Goliath’s reputation and feared what would happen to them if they went into that valley. It was called “Death Valley” for a reason. They all just knew that if you went into that place, you wouldn’t come out again.

Fear of the unknown or fear trapped in their imagination captured them and froze their feet to the ground. They listened to that giant of a man roar his blasphemies against God and did nothing. They were afraid. They pictured themselves looking up into the eyes of that nine foot monster and couldn’t see their blood turned to ice. Who could possibly fight this guy?

But something happened after 40 days of the same old pattern. Goliath comes out, shouts his challenge, the Israelite warriors hide behind anything they can find, Goliath finally gets tired of waiting, and he climbs back up the hillside to wait until the next morning to do it all over again. The soldiers got used to the ritual and probably got to the point that when they saw the first glimmer of sunlight reflecting off Goliath’s helmet from the top of the hill, they hightailed it to the back forty to wait until he left. Fear.

In some ways you can’t blame them, I guess. I know I wouldn’t want to take on a nine foot monster in a fighting match. He was trained as a warrior. He had the reach, the weapons, every advantage you could think of except one. God was on David’s side.

So Jesse’s youngest son sees what’s going on. He’s too young to join the army. He’s only there to deliver some lunch to his brothers. Get a little news to take back home so his mom and dad will know their kids are still alive and doing well against their lifelong enemies, the Philistines. David went with no intention of joining the fight. He was just a shepherd. All he had was a sling. Coming from Bethlehem, he was pretty good with it, but still… A sling against a spear doesn’t sound like very good odds.

Was David afraid? You know, I want to think he had a few butterflies in his stomach as he reached into that stream and pulled out five stones. David knew God was with him, though. David knew how to use that sling. Elsewhere in God’s word, it tells us that the Benjamites could hit a hair with one of those slings. That’s pretty good. And considering that David could attack Goliath from the length of a football field with his sling and he had to be closer to the 20 yard line for Goliath’s spear to be as effective a weapon, David had a little bit of an edge from a distance. He had to hit Goliath in the space around his eyes, though. Everything else would be covered and the stone would bruise, but not kill on impact.

David marches out onto the field after refusing to take Saul’s armor. We sometimes think David was a puny little kid since the Bible tells us Saul’s armor didn’t fit. That’s not the picture I get of David, though. He killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands. I think the armor didn’t fit because Saul was head and shoulders taller than any of the other men present at his coronation. Saul stood out in a crowd. His armor was too big for everyone there.

The most important part of this story in relation to Goliath and fear, though, is that whatever fear David might have had as he looked at this monster of a man, he set it aside and trusted God. David believed God would help him vindicate his name against the blasphemous outpouring that came from this heathen. David believed God could take his fear and turn it into enough adrenaline to help him conquer this undefeated champion of his enemies. He pushed past the fear of what he knew and dared to launch into the unknown.

That’s exactly what we have to do with the Goliaths we face in our life. I don’t know what your Goliath is, but I expect you are like 99% of everyone else who faces Goliath. I expect there is that little bit of fear that asks what happens when I let go of this and let God have it? What will God ask of me? What will happen? How will my life change? What will other people think? What if God can’t break through the problem? (Yeah, right! Let me tell you, it’s not God that can’t fix it. He’s God! We are the problem, not him!)

The best way to attack those giants in our life is to act just like David. Don’t let those giants taunt you with their blasphemy. You will undoubtedly hear some voice in your head tell you that you can’t win the battle. It’s too hard. You can’t possibly overcome. You will hear the same tired excuses Goliath yelled at the Israelites across that Death Valley. But David refused to listen to Goliath. He refused to give in to his fear. He refused to let the giant dictate his moves, but instead listened to the voice of God.

I think it was God that prompted him to pick up five stones instead of one. He only needed one to defeat Goliath. David knew that and God knew it. So why five? Finish reading the stories of David’s battles and you’ll find Goliath had four brothers. David was ready to take on all of them if necessary. Fear. Sure. Enough to stop him from doing what God told him to do? No way. David knew God was bigger than any problem or any giant he came against. He was ready.

Are there times you will be afraid? You are not human if you don’t experience that emotion every so often. But we don’t have to let it cripple us. We can remember that God is for us, so who can be against us. Nothing can defeat us, because nothing can defeat him. He proved it a couple of millennium ago when he decided he didn’t want to stay dead. We can borrow his strength and his power to push through the fear the world tries to stir up and we can win against our Goliaths. Be like David today.