Been thinking about facing Goliath-like challenges as I enter this week (the story of David and Goliath is found primarily in I Samuel 17). Goliath was over 9 feet tall and used a spear that would have weighed nearly 30 pounds in battle. No one wanted to mess with him. In fact, the Philistine army depended on it. In a face-off with the recently established Jewish nation, there was no one who wanted to meet and battle with Goliath. He had effectively intimidated the whole Jewish army into inaction by his words.
Maybe you are facing a battle right now that has got you thinking you are overmatched and underprepared. Maybe your challenge taunts you and calls you out pointing to the obvious deficiencies standing between you and achievement of your goal. I had to realize my Goliath-like challenges are causing me to miss opportunities to advance because my vision is out of focus. Since I have a commitment to learn from my difficulties and mistakes, I have assumed an attitude that resembles making lemonade out of my lemons. I will present seven tools, or questions, designed to improve my response to challenges as I commit to move forward.
(1) Am I aware when my Goliath-like challenges call out to me and taunt me to respond in human strength? Goliath, in I Samuel 17:8 and 9, taunted God’s people with, “Am I not the Philistine and you the servants of Saul?“Goliath laid the gauntlet down in human terms. What held back the Jewish army was that Saul and his soldiers were not focused on God’s view of the circumstances. They were seeing the challenge from a limited perspective and the result was dismay and great fear in the matter (v. 11).
(2) Am I responding by focusing on removal of the reproach against God? Or, is my response limited by my perceptions of others conditioned upon my belief that somehow God cannot take care of me? Am I able, and willing, to take a step back and let my response be guided by God’s work in my life? Admittedly, I am usually more focused on me. I do not see the forrest through the trees (as they say) when I am not grounded in my relationship with God.
(3) Am I allowing the misdirected views of others to distract and detract me? For instance, in the story of David and Goliath, Eliab, Jesse’s oldest son and David’s oldest brother, burned with anger when David stood up for God. Do I allow others to accuse me of insolent pride and selfish ambitions when I am living my life in my best attempt to honor the message of Christ?
(4) Am I prone to try to use tools not familiar to me to fight my battles, or will I trust the gifts that God has given me? David was given the armor of the king, but it proved useless. Fortunately David recognized this and did not take it into battle with him in facing the enemy. Do I remain confident in the familiar tools God uses to help me navigate life?
(5) Am I advancing into battle in the strength of “the name of the LORD of hostst”? David was sure the LORD GOD would prevail; because, He always had for David. Do I lose sight of what God has already done when going to meet Goliath-like challenges? I must retain the strength that is the result of God’s previous action in my life.
(6) Am I advancing in full confidence that the LORD GOD will prevail in this matter? Am I keeping my focus on the battle belonging to the LORD, or am I making it about me? Will others say of my effort, “the Lord gave the enemy into the hand of His servant“? I must decrease, that He may increase, as John the Baptist said (John 3:30).
(7) When the battle is over will honor come to God or have I set it up to be all about me? The honor of God was upon David when the day was over. He had defeated the Philistine, but really it was all about the defense of the honor of God. I must keep this clear and in the front of everything I do.
The story of David and Goliath is more than a good children’s story. Applications to life’s challenges can be found in combat, conflict, natural disasters, human carnage and many other difficulties faced in life. Taking the time to review each challenge based on these seven tools can help one find the most productive way to respond to life’s circumstances.We do not just survive. Victory goes to those who advance through difficulty receiving the lessons, and the scars, that circumstances create. May this week be an example of your strength to grow in all the challenges you face.