Sometimes we face really challenging stretches of life. Lingering problems persist; they don’t ever seem to go away.
This was the situation David and the people of Israel were facing in I Samuel 17. David came from an established family where he had a job tending sheep (vv. 12-15). But one day his father dispatched him to check on his brothers who were stationed at the battlefront (vv. 17-22). There he saw Goliath, the armed giant in front of the Philistine army. Goliath taunted the Israelites with his challenges in a way that was both a national and a religious insult. This had been going on for some time, and the people were paralyzed with fear (vv. 11,16,23-24).
Sometimes a major part of these problems are bad responses. You can get into a cycle where the same problems repeat themselves because the same failed solutions aren’t working.
It was well-known that King Saul had offered rewards for defeating Goliath (vv. 25,27), but no one was willing to act on them. It wasn’t going to solve the problem. The Israelites needed a different person with a different solution.
Doing something different means asking hard questions.
David was not afraid to ask the tough questions (v. 26). This can make people feel uncomfortable, but it’s still important to ask them. That’s the gist of the famous children’s story about the emperor that had no clothes on.
When you’re not afraid to do this, there are two things you’re sure to encounter…
These kinds of opposition come with the territory. Expect them. Don’t be surprised or upset when they happen. What matters most is not the critics or the skeptics, but those who are willing to do something.
Ultimately the challenges and taunts from Goliath yielded these responses…
God has a way of bringing in the right person at the right time.
Often this can come through unlikely sources. I would’ve looked to the most experienced military-man, not to the shepherd-boy who was doing errands as a courier. But God had other plans. Similarly, many people would’ve looked to a royal messiah born in a golden crib, not a manger. Many would’ve looked for a conquering messiah, not one who died on the cross. But God worked things out differently.
And God can use you to make a difference too – perhaps when it’s least expected.
God bless you… Andrew McHenry, Pastor
First Congregational Church
The blog of Andrew McHenry, Pastor of First Congregational Church of Emporia, Kansas.