“Well aren't you just the cutest thing!” Saul said, giving a pat on the head. “You’re pretty brave for a little guy. Gotta admire your spunk, but no. A shepherd boy can’t fight a giant.”
David was serious, though. He cared about God’s name, and no one in the Israelite army would accept Goliath’s challenge. They were happy to enjoy God’s blessings, but not so eager to fight for Him. David, on the other hand, begged for the privilege.
What in the world would make David think he could be successful? Logic and a healthy sense of self-preservation ought to have kept him well behind the front lines. A reasonable person would let the grown-ups handle it. But the grown-ups weren’t handling it, and David had something the others didn't - a healthy sense of God’s power and provision.
David continued, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Sam. 17:37).
This was David’s formula. He remembered what God had done in the past, and that gave him confidence of what God would do in the future. Dead lion + dead bear = dead Goliath.
On another occasion David said, “My enemies pursue me” and “my spirit grows faint within me.” (Psalm 143:3-4). And then he remembers God: “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” (Psalm 143:5).
We should do this too. When we are suffering and tempted to despair, the first thing on our mind should be the way God has cared for us in the past. We need a reminder of God’s power and love, and the reminders are everywhere if we stop and look. Whatever we have gone through, we all have evidence of God’s power and love in our lives. Remember the time that he sent a friend with an encouraging word. Remember when He spoke to you through His word. Remember the strength He gave you to endure a past trial. Remember the resurrection. And remember that because He did all these things, you can know that He loves you, personally, and that He has the power to see you through anything you face today.
Trouble sometimes gives us amnesia, though. When the waves are crashing over the side of the boat, the fear of drowning may overpower our memory of God’s past provision. That’s when it takes an act of will, to stop and reflect on the bear and the lion. That’s the time to say, “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes I will remember your miracles of long ago.” (Psalm 77:11). And then Goliath won’t seem so daunting.
Of course, just because God helped us defeat a bear does not mean that He will defeat every Goliath in our lives. Sometimes, in His perfect wisdom and love, He does not deliver us from a trial. He might not heal us physically. But we know that He can, and we know His love is forever. While He may not have promised to heal every sickness (not before Heaven, anyway), He has promised us eternal life. As we reflect on the resurrection, we know He absolutely has the power to bring us to a home with Him.
So when you are afraid, stop. Remember. When you face a giant, think back on what God has done. Whatever your giant is, God is bigger.
“We will remember, we will remember,
We will remember the works of Your hands.
We will stop and give You praise
For great is Thy faithfulness.”
*Jim Davis just finished his first book, Why Me? (And Why That’s The Wrong Question), which will be published in Fall 2013. He is a Sunday School teacher and attorney who lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife Sonya and 14-year-old son Tully. Jim blogs at TAV Bible Studies, http://tavbiblestudies.wordpress.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @tavbiblestudies.
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