Fear ruled a man’s life for thirty-two years. Afraid of being caught for his crimes, he hid at his sister’s farmhouse, going nowhere and visiting no one, even missing his mother’s funeral. When he was sixty-four, he learned that no charges had ever been filed against him. The man was free to resume a normal life. Yes, the threat of punishment was real, but he allowed the fear of it to control him.
Likewise, fear ruled the Israelites when the Philistines challenged them at the Valley of Elah. The threat was real. Their enemy Goliath was 9 feet 9 inches tall and his body armor alone weighed 125 pounds (1 Samuel 17:4–5). For forty days, every morning and evening, Goliath challenged the Israelite army to fight him. But no one dared come forward. No one until David visited the battle lines. He heard and saw the taunting, and volunteered to fight Goliath.
While everyone in the Israelite army thought Goliath was too big to fight, David the shepherd boy knew he wasn’t too big for God. He said, “the
When we’re gripped by fear, let’s follow David’s example and fix our eyes on God to gain a right perspective of the problem. The threat may be real, but the One who is with us and for us is bigger than that which is against us.
What giant battle are you facing that’s crippling you in fear? How can you intentionally fix your eyes on the living God?
David defeated Goliath with a sling and a stone. While the sling was an unconventional weapon of warfare, it was common for shepherds to use it to defend against wild animals. Twice in today’s short text it’s mentioned that David defeated Goliath without a sword (1 Samuel 17:47, 50). What we might read past in this familiar story is what the author wants to highlight: David won the day without a sword because it was God who delivered Goliath into his hands.