Yesterday, I had the privilege of preaching at North Richland Hills Baptist Church on Fearless: Possessing a Lionhearted Righteousness. It’s based off of Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.
When reflecting on righteous boldness – which is a great definition of true courage – David comes to mind, especially how he found the courage to fight Goliath.
Many know the story, this true story, of David and Goliath, more often than not because of sports. Some don’t even realize that this story is in the Bible. Any time a person – or a team – “overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds” to win, Sportscasters call it David versus Goliath.
When the underdog defeats the overwhelming favorite – when the US Hockey team defeated the Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics, when Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson, when the Jets won Super Bowl 3 over the Colts, or…when I lose at backyard basketball to my boys…these are instances of the Davids of the sports world defeating Goliaths.
But, as one commentator states it, “the biblical narrative is not primarily about human courage and effort; instead, it is about the awesome power of a life build around bold faith in the Lord” (Bergen, NAC, 187[i]).
The traditional interpretation – or at least the one that has seemingly permeated our society – is that we all have the potential to find within ourselves the courage, the strength, the skill, to defeat our Goliaths.
But this is NOT the story of David and Goliath.
In 1 Samuel 17:16, we are told that for 40 days Goliath challenges Israel and mocks God.
This is the same God that delivered the Israelites from Egypt in dramatic fashion. He changed all the water in Egypt to blood. He caused all of Egypt to become enveloped in darkness. He parted the Red sea.
This God made the sun stand still for an entire day. This God made the walls of Jericho fall. What is it to God to defeat one giant?
Yet “at this moment, for whatever reason, despite all the stories and past experiences, Goliath looked bigger than God.”[ii] We know that our God is bigger than any of the Giants in our life – and yet, there are times when we forget.
The Israelite soldiers forgot. They lacked faith. We forget. We lack faith.
David, on the other hand, “saw God as bigger and stronger than the fearful Philistine. So he went out to fight knowing that God would give him victory over Goliath — and when he did, the victory would demonstrate God’s power and faithfulness, not David’s courage.”[ii]
Goliath is outnumbered and outmatched by a simple shepherd boy empowered by the Lord.
How can we gain this courage?
Do you remember the parable of the talents in Matthew 25?
A master leaves giving one servant 5 talents (this is an amount of money…not ability), one servant 2 talents, and the last servant 1 talent. The servant given 5 talents doubles it by the time the master returns. Same for the servant given 2 talents. But the servant given 1 talent did nothing…he buried the money given to him. The master tells his first two servants “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much.”
Curiously – the emphasis is on faithfulness – the first two servants show courageous faith by investing the talents and not shirking their responsibility.
David shows faithfulness in a little (taking care of a flock, killing a bear and a lion) and so God gives him faithfulness over a lot (defending Israel, defeating a Giant). Courageous faith with a little will lead to courage with a lot (From lion & bear to giant warrior).
What is the lion in your life? The bear? What things do you need to show faithfulness over that are (comparatively) little so that God can make you faithful over a lot?
What giants are in your life?
To discover your giants, ask yourself: what are you most afraid of? What do you have difficulty conquering? What giant in your life seems bigger than God?
What causes you to question if God is big enough to conquer?
Is it the Goliath of Sin in your life? Is it the giant of sickness? Does someone you love – or even yourself – have cancer? Have you allowed the Goliath of addiction into your life?
“These giants, who are bigger than we are and very intimidating to our flesh, will be slain just like David’s (Giant) was — by faith. And our courage to face them will not come from our self-confidence. It will only come from confidence in God’s powerful promises.”[ii]
Our God is bigger than the Goliath of Sin. Our God is bigger than the Goliath of addiction.
Do not leave this blog having heard the story of David defeating Goliath, and have the AUDACITY to think you are big enough to slay your giants. YOU ARE NOT.
ONLY God is big enough to conquer the Goliaths in your life.
[i] Bergen, NAC, 187
[ii] http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/where-real-courage-comes-from accessed May 11, 2016