I was reading a familiar bible passage the other day, but was able to read it with new eyes to see the lessons God had in it for me. And hopefully not just for me, but for all of us. The story is that of David and Goliath. David had an unwavering confidence from the Lord that allowed him to do something impossible by human standards. And, perhaps most importantly, David ignored the enemy’s lies, designed to keep him from this destiny. Are you aware of the enemy’s lies in your life right now, that are holding you back from accomplishing God’s plan for you?
The background of the story is that Israel and the Philistines were at war. A Philistine soldier and giant, Goliath–who was 9 feet, 9 inches tall–daily taunted the Israelite soldiers.
“All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid.” (I Sam. 17:24) This went on for forty days, and no one would dare fight him! (I Sam. 17:16)
Rather than cowering in fear, David recognized that Goliath wasn’t just challenging Israel—he was defying God. David said: “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (I Sam. 17:26) David knew that the Israelites weren’t merely an army of men, but that they were GOD’S ARMY on earth, divinely empowered to accomplish God’s plans.
The Enemy’s Lies
The enemy tried to discourage David from his grand destiny, through the voice of other men around him. (And this is the same thing he does to us today.) The first lie the enemy told David: You don’t belong here. (Has the enemy ever made you feel that way? My answer is yes…)
David’s older brother said to him: “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” (I Sam. 17:28)
David did not engage his brother and the enemy’s lie. He proceeded with God-given confidence and courage, saying to the king of Israel: “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” (I Sam. 17:32)
Say what?! Let’s back up a minute. David was but a young man who tended sheep! He was not an experienced warrior. What could this shepherd boy do to defeat a 9’9” giant covered in heavy armor and bearing weapons of iron? But David had heard God’s call to do this impossible thing.
So the enemy came in to discourage David with lie number two: You are not capable; you will fail. The king responded to David’s offer to fight Goliath: “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” (I Sam. 17:33)
Are you able to recognize the enemy’s lies in your own life?
The enemy is a thief who “comes to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10), and he is “a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) The same lies that the enemy presented to David are used against us daily, to discourage us and rob us of our God-given destiny:
“Who do you think you are?”
“You don’t belong here.”
“You should be doing something else.”
“Your motives are all wrong.”
“You are not capable.”
“You are not good enough.”
“You will fail.”
“You are too young or inexperienced.”
“You are not smart enough.”
“You are weak.”
“You are not a leader.”
“You are a victim.”
“Your past sin is too great.”
“You don’t deserve good things.”
“God can’t use you.”
How do these words make you feel? These words break my heart. I have heard them echoing in my own head. I have heard them in my friends’ mouths, and even in my own children’s mouths at times. When it comes to the enemy’s lies, there is truly nothing new under the sun. He uses the same lies against all of us, over and over again throughout our lives.
We should be able to recognize the enemy’s lies because they tear us down. They leave us feeling weak and inadequate; like damaged goods. But God never speaks to us in this way! Even when he speaks to correct us, it is done in His love. He tells us the truth in love and BUILDS US UP to be used for His glory. The enemy, on the other hand, tears us down to keep us cowering in fear and/or shame and to keep us from moving forward and walking in our God-given destiny!
The Source of David’s Courage & Confidence
David responded to the king (and the enemy’s lies) by recounting the times in the past when God had helped him prevail by giving him physical strength and wisdom in deadly circumstances:
Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God… The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.I Sam. 17:34-37
This is the key to David’s confidence. He knew that God had helped him in the past, and therefore would help him NOW. I would encourage you to stop everything right this moment and take some time in prayer and reflection to reflect on your past and find the times that God helped you to overcome hard obstacles. Write them down and thank the Lord for the ways he has worked in your life! It is this remembrance that gives us confidence for our current and future assignments and trials. God helped us then, and he WILL help us now. God is our source of strength! He is our confidence.
On many occasions, David reflected on this God-given strength and protection in the Psalms, such as here:
I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.Psalm 18:1-3
You Don’t Have to Pretend to be Something You’re Not
When David told King Saul that he would fight Goliath, the king attempted to clothe David with his own armor. (I Sam. 17:38) This is actually a laughable sight, given that Saul was “head and shoulders” taller than ALL of the men of Israel. (I Sam. 9:2) Saul’s armor would have been humongous on David, weighed him down, and maybe even tripped him up and gotten in the way.
David recognized that he didn’t have to dress himself as a king-warrior in order to answer God’s call—because he was not a warrior at this time, but a shepherd boy. So David rejected Saul’s armor. (I Sam. 17:39) Instead, “he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.” (I Sam. 17:40)
If God wanted a mighty warrior to fight Goliath—he would have called Saul or another warrior to do the job. But God wanted a shepherd boy to defeat Goliath. So God called David to do it. When God calls YOU to a task (or allows you to face a trial), it is because YOU are YOU, not someone else. He didn’t call someone else–he called you, just as you are. We must reject the enemy’s lies that we are inadequate!
If God Has Called You, He Has Already Equipped You
David recognized that God had already equipped him with what he needed to defeat Goliath—the regular tools of a shepherd. And the same applies to us. If God is calling us now, then NOW we already have what we need to accomplish his will; with his help.
Side note: Moses also faced the lie that he was not adequately equipped for God’s call. When God called him to save the Israelites, his initial response was: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex. 3:11) God’s answer: “But I will be with you…” (Ex. 3:12) Moses also feared that he would fail, because Pharaoh wouldn’t listen to him. So God equipped him with the ability to do signs and wonders. (Ex. 4:1-9). And when Moses complained that he was not the right guy for this mission, because he was not eloquent, God provided his brother Aaron to do the talking, and then promised: “I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do.” (Ex. 4:10-15) So basically, God said: “it’s not you Moses, it’s ME who will do it. I just need you to show up so I can work through you.”
In the Face of the Enemy… STAND YOUR GROUND
Now, back to David:
And when the Philistine [Goliath] looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.”I Samuel 17:42-44
I don’t know about you, but when I imagine myself in David’s shoes, I believe I would wet my pants and run, or simply faint in fear. Literally. Thankfully, we don’t face giants in our own strength. If God calls us to fight a giant, HE strengthens us to do what we can’t do by our own human power. THIS is faith that slays giants—faith that when God calls us to a task, HE will give us supernatural strength to accomplish it.
In the face of the enemy, David reminds us (in one of his Psalms) not to fear:
The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid? …
Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.Psalm 27:1, 3
Confidence and Humility Go Hand-In-Hand
David responded to Goliath’s taunts with confidence that can only come from God:
You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head… that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s and he will give you into our hand.”I Samuel 17:45-47
Confidence that is rooted solely in our OWN power and strength is pride; but David’s confidence was in the Lord. David knew that he wouldn’t defeat Goliath… The Lord would defeat Goliath through him. Through his obedience. David gives all glory for the victory to God—which ultimately is humility. Confidence in God alone = humility in our human strength.
The Battle Belongs to the LORD
Most importantly—David’s motivation for fighting Goliath was not for himself, but to glorify God… because he knew the battle belonged to the Lord. God does not call us to do mighty things to glorify us, but to glorify himself.
God chose David and divinely used him to defeat Goliath, in order to show the earth that he is GOD.
The Time is NOW
Fear leaves us seeking excuses from acting right away. We take time to second-guess ourselves and second-guess God. The enemy’s first and original lie to humanity was: “Did God really say …?” (Gen. 3:1) Once God has called us to a purpose, the enemy wants us to waste time wondering, does God really want me to do this thing? Or to spend time procrastinating because we are afraid to do it.
David, however, acted against Goliath immediately. His faith did not waver.
When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him.
There was no sword in the hand of David. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it.I Samuel 17:48-51
The Victory is the Lord’s
David prevailed when he obeyed God’s call. And the victory belonged to the Lord:
“For he [David] took his life in his hand and he struck down the Philistine, and the Lord worked a great salvation for all Israel.” (I Sam. 19:5)
David rightly gives all the glory to God throughout the Psalms, for God’s great mercy and help during many times of trouble.
Blessed be the Lord!
For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.
The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is the saving refuge of his anointed.Psalm 28:6-8
I hope you are encouraged through David’s story, as I was. This battle against Goliath was only the beginning of David’s lifelong destiny of doing great things for the Lord. David inspires me because he was not perfect; he ended up committing some major sins and messing things up pretty badly. But his ultimate defining characteristic was being “a man after God’s own heart.” (I Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22) In his wisdom, God uses obedient [flawed] people to accomplish his plans on the earth.
If God is calling you to something, you will know it. And will you answer his call with faith like David’s? As for me, I am working on it!
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.Deuteronomy 31:8