I think my good intentioned Sunday School teacher lied to me. While noshing on animal crackers and making the juice box puff in and out, we would listen to her talk about David. She had a picture of Goliath—all six cubits and a span or in English, over nine feet tall. Beside him, she had a short Jewish boy (David). She told us how he was so afraid of the big giant, but in a classic underdog situation, he used a small stone and the Lord prevailed. The Lord prevailing part isn’t the lie. (That’s 100% truth.) It’s the part of David quaking in his sandals…
I’m not sure she got it right.
Go back and read ALL of 1 Samuel 17 and you come across this little gem:
But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Sam 17:34-37
Fear is an interesting thing. Biologically, it is designed to keep us alive. Practically, it keeps us in the status quo. Fear freezes us into staying exactly where we are. Satan uses it as an incredible tool to keep us in the quagmire or to prevent us from walking in the goodness the Lord has planned for us. Perhaps it even causes us to regress like the army of Saul who twice a day for forty days, “all fled from him (Goliath) in great fear.” 1 Samuel 17:24.
So, what was the difference? Why did David not cower and run like everyone else? I believe the answer is simply he could see past Goliath and focus on the Lord. He didn’t just write about the Lord’s provision in his gratitude journal, he shouted it out for all to hear.
“The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”
Fear activates a part of our brain that is in direct conflict with rational thoughts. More here. The best way to short circuit that is to start applying logic or remind our body of all the past times where the Lord did provide. It’s a strategy we see over and over again in the Bible.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you;He will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6
It’s then repeated again by Moses to the people in Deuteronomy 31:7-8
We hear the same words from David to Solomon
“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” 1 Chronicles 28:20
Do.the.work. DO THE WORK and again “do the work.” David didn’t just pray for the Lord to protect the flocks; at some level he understood that the Lord would be flowing His power through him to get the job done. For Joshua and then Solomon, they had to set their sights on something greater than the fear so they could do.the.work.
My mother likes to say that God has multiple Plan As for our life. I wonder how many I’ve missed out on because I allowed fear to keep me in the status quo and I did not do the work. The beautiful thing is that I don’t have to stay here. The next Plan A is before me and the Lord is just waiting for me to quit focusing on Goliath and instead focus on Him and His power. That’s incredible.
Each week I give my fantasy football team a pep talk. I pull up my ESPN app and tell them how amazing they are and how each of them will stay healthy and perform beyond their best that week. They can’t hear me, but I still do it. I mean, I have to keep up my two year championship streak.
God does that for you on a moment by moment basis, and it’s real. He WANTS that Plan A for you. You really are His favorite and He needs you to be on His team to show His power and glory here on earth. He has even given you the script to shout out loud—like David.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31
or how about
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline 2 Tim 1:7
and He ends your team talk with a verbal hug:
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Matthew 28:20
It’s straight forward. Recognize fear for what it is—game plan for that here. Redirect your focus to the Lord and His past provisions and current promises. End it with a Scripture (pep) talk and then do.the.work.
So, are you ready to kick fear? Do you need to channel your inner David this week and take out some lions, bears and nine foot giants? Please tell us about the victories so we can all celebrate the goodness of the Lord together. Go team!