Tuesday, July 14th 1 Samuel 17:8-11

“He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” And the Philistine said, “Today I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.” 1 Samuel 17:8-11

Athletes call it “trash talking.” I used to think it was great fun. When Yogi Berra said something along the lines of baseball being “110% mental and the other 90% hard work” he was pointing out the power of talking trash. Getting into your opponent’s head.

A famous Knute Rockne story tells of the time that he led his Fighting Irish – virtual unknowns from the sticks – out to California to play football. Before the trip, he rounded up every big guy he could find on the Notre Dame campus and gave them all uniforms. When the day of the game came, the Notre Dame players waited until the last minute to come out of the locker room. When they did – all of the big guys up in front – they circled the field before heading to their bench. An imposing sight! Game over.

Goliath, fully decked out for fighting, stood between the opposing armies and invited a challenger. An over-sized Bluto, he struck fear in the hearts of Saul and his men. But it was just words. It wasn’t a fear based on what was real (actually fighting Goliath) but a fear based on what possibly could be – actually fighting Goliath!

How often are our Goliath-sized problems, fears and challenges just like that? Fear of the unknown. Fear of what could be. Fear generated by the voices of those who have torn us apart in the past or potentially could in the future? How many of our fears exist only in our heads?

That isn’t to say that they aren’t real. Many people are immobilized by past trauma. Their Goliath-sized challenges stem from deep in their past but reach deep into their souls. They hear the voices belittling them yet feel powerless to defend themselves. Game over.

When you take the “could be’s”, “should be’s” and “might be’s” out of our thinking, life is a whole lot easier to live. But when Goliath is roaring in our ears, he is all we can hear.

Unless we take a moment for a deep breath. A moment to remember who we are, who we belong to. A moment to focus – not on ourselves but on the power of God within us. The power of God around us. One halting step follows and if that goes well we take another. One step at a time and God sustains us.

The deeper meaning of this story isn’t the fear generated by a trash talking Goliath. The deeper meaning is the good that God is soon to do despite Goliath’s prideful bluster. God is up to something. God is up to something in our lives.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, when we hear the voices which challenge us and see the obstacles that stand in our way, we can become immobilized by our fears and shrink. We pray, when our going gets hard, for the courage to trust in you and your power within us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

One Response to “Tuesday, July 14th 1 Samuel 17:8-11”

  1. Navatharang Says:

    It is hard at times to take a Biblical stand; But we don\’t know how many people that are wacnhitg us; We have a testimony to uphold; and yet even if know one is looking we have to live with ourselves I work at a Christian Drug and Alcohol Center; I don\’t except a drink that someone else will give me.

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