I have been thinking about David and Goliath. About how a young shepherd boy encounters a giant who has Israel’s armies quaking in their sandals.
The Israelites had reason to fear this Philistine. He was nearly 10 feet tall and had been at war since his youth. He was experienced in the ways of warfare. He was intimidating to see and knew how to intimidate with words. And he was confident of his strength and fighting prowess. He was a champion warrior. He has Saul and his troops terrified and feeling hopeless.
And along comes this boy on an errand for his father. He hears Goliath’s taunt. Is he afraid like the men? No, he wants to know just “who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God”? David then tells Saul not to give up hope for he is ready to fight this Philistine.
Saul wants to arm David with helmet, shield and sword. But David goes off to fight the giant with his shepherd’s staff, five smooth stones, a sling and in the name of the Lord, the God of Israel’s armies. And David slays the giant Philistine, Goliath.
It would seem the impossible had been done. However, we also learn in this story that David had lots of practice with stones and his sling. As a shepherd he protected his flock from predators. There were times when he and his sheep were endangered by lions and bears. With his stones and sling he killed the beasts. I imagine David spent many hours slinging those stones to be prepared for the time he would need the skill and precision and confidence that only the dedication and perseverance of practice could accomplish. So David was prepared for Goliath.
Because I had not practiced with patience and perseverance I did not hone my skills to gain victory over the small everyday fights of life. So when the giants came with their weapons and fierceness and confidence I was unprepared for the battle. And because I was not prepared I was not victorious.
How do I know what skills will be needed and what to practice to be ready for the next Goliath? And what will it cost me?
If I look at all the little challenges I face day in and day out and at the battles that have been lost I can see what I need. I need clarity of thought that comes only with a pure and teachable heart. I need wisdom that comes only from spending time with my Lord in prayer and in His Word. I need discernment that comes only from the Holy Spirit. I need friends who love me and hold me accountable to truth. I need to be honest about who and what I am. I need patience to grow into who I am meant to be. I need to be humble and accept correction and discipline. I need strength that is not my own but His. I need to trust in His faithfulness. I need faith to believe what my eyes cannot see. I need the grace of God. I need Jesus.
And what will all this practicing of skills cost me? Nothing. Jesus paid the price for me.
With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies.
In reality I have all I will ever need to be victorious over any Goliath in my life. I wonder why it seems so hard? Is it because too often I, like the armies of Israel, listen to the taunting voice of Goliath? Do I listen to the shouts of the enemy rather than the quiet voice of the Shepherd? When will I stop insisting that I know what to do and do not need help?