Over the next three weeks, we will be taking a deeper look into one of the most famous stories from the Christian Bible. Ever had a problem so big you didn’t know how you were going to get out of it? Imagine being the leader of a vast army and being challenged by this:
1 Samuel 17:1-11 (New Living Translation)
Goliath Challenges the Israelites
1 The Philistines now mustered their army for battle and camped between Socoh in Judah and Azekah at Ephes-dammim. 2 Saul countered by gathering his Israelite troops near the valley of Elah. 3 So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them.
4 Then Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was over nine feet tall! 5 He wore a bronze helmet, and his bronze coat of mail weighed 125 pounds. 6 He also wore bronze leg armor, and he carried a bronze javelin on his shoulder. 7 The shaft of his spear was as heavy and thick as a weaver’s beam, tipped with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 pounds. His armor bearer walked ahead of him carrying a shield.
8 Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! 9 If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! 10 I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” 11 When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.
Most of us would have been shaking in our boots if this mammoth of a man was challenging us to come and fight him. Even the bravest of soldiers would not be able to muster the courage to face him in hand-to-hand combat. Not only was the Philistine army larger than Israel’s, but they had this wall of a man standing at the front preventing any passage to them. Most of Saul’s best soldiers fled in terror from the thought of having to fight Goliath.
In our day-to-day struggles, we have our own Goliaths. Many of us face an armored wall in some form or fashion that we do not know how to conquer. Or what resource we could use to overcome it. How many times have we been like Saul shaking in our boots as to the outcome of what we have to face? Goliaths come in many forms in our lives. Sometimes as a bully at school that everyone is afraid to face because the thought of being torn apart is more terrifying than anything. Sometimes it is the boss at work who just doesn’t seem to understand us. And we just continue to take the disrespectful treatment we get from them because we fear losing our job.
Sometimes it is the monthly bills because we just don’t have enough income coming in after we’ve lived beyond our means. It can be finding a job because no one is hiring or we are under qualified for the position. Or maybe it is letting go of a chemical addiction because we fear not having that next fix. Maybe the Goliath in our lives is as simple as letting our kids live their lives and be there to pick them up should they fall.
Whatever the Goliath is in our life, we are faced with the fear that we are going to fail, fall, or be hurt. As Saul was contemplating what to do, he was frozen in terror to face this mountain of a problem. The Everest that he couldn’t climb over because it was too shielded. Even with his army to back him, he felt that there was no possible way that this man could be taken down. Couldn’t he just have ignored the deal? Why couldn’t he have just attacked? Could’ve been because he was afraid of how many men he would lose in the fight that would’ve continued after Goliath had been defeated. At what cost would it be for him to make that decision? So he stood there frozen, not knowing what to do.
And how many times do we do that? What is your Goliath? Do you have one? Are you even aware of the army standing behind you? Knowing that you are the sole ruler of your own kingdom and can protect it with the strength from within that we’ve all been graced with, why would you allow fear to keep you from conquering your battle?
The simplest answer is that the easiest response is fear. Remaining afraid, trying to extend the inevitable outcome as long as possible. Our Goliaths aren’t going to just go away. We eventually have to face them. And as long as we have the strength of the Love of the Universe in our hearts the battle is more easily won.
But how do we fight it? That’s the next step. One that many people find themselves struggling to take. What’s the answer to our dilemma? It’s usually the simplest...but that’s another journal.
Blessings as you begin to face your Goliaths.