-written by Matt Clotfelter
When I revisit stories of the Bible we have heard since we were kids, I like to try to look at them from a different perspective. I like the fresh feeling this gives as I seek the living nature of scripture. The story I have been looking at recently is when David faces Goliath.
I wonder what it would be like if I were one of the Israelite soldiers called up by Saul to face off against our sworn enemy, the Philistines. I have marched off to the battlefield. When we go out for our first day of battle, at the front of the enemy line marches Goliath. This guy is huge! I can imagine how ferocious his voice would sound, as he taunts and shouts obscenities. And then he issues his challenge: “Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves!” (1 Samuel 17:8-9) No one wants to be the one who risks it all only to doom our army to a life of slavery. Even the promise of the king’s gifts to the victor are not enough to cause action.
And so it goes. For 40 days, we continue this pattern. The fear sets in and we become frightened by the very sound of Goliath’s voice.
Then one day, some kid coming to see his brothers gets it in his mind he will fight the giant. Some little shepherd boy, who is sunburned from all his time outdoors. And King Saul has permitted him to fight! How I will let my family know I will spend the rest of my life as a slave? Before I can fully comprehend what is happening, the giant is on the ground. The kid is taking the giant’s sword and killing him with it. The enemy army runs, and with new found bravery we give chase, slaughtering them for miles (see 1 Samuel 17:12-51).
This story feels so different when I put myself in it. We know the outcome, but the soldiers on the field of battle had no clue. All they could see was fear and defeat. But in the moment of victory, cowering soldiers become brave champions. What they see as unbeatable has been defeated. Instead of surrender, they were driven by victory.
How often do we find ourselves in a situation where the outcome seems so unlikely to go in our favor? Where we find ourselves facing the mountain, full of trials and pain, with no clear path in sight? Sometime the fear becomes crippling, and we cower at the mere thought of trying to overcome the challenge. Health. Money. Family. Social justice. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, any of them can leave us faltering. In our own strength, failure is all we can expect.
But when our Savior steps up to face our giant, He will have the victory!
In Isaiah 43:18-19 we read, “But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
You see, the challenge is not the problem; God is already taking care of it. Today, tomorrow, next week or next year-as the challenges come, remember that the Warrior is taking the battlefield for you. He will have the victory! Expect the victory and allow it to change your perspective.
This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15b
Matt Clotfelter is married to Amie and they have 2 children, Tyler and Marcus. Matt serves as a deacon as well as volunteers in the SoHills nursery, preschool ministry, and preteen ministry.