Fear. It’s that feeling deep inside that seeks to devour you. It stands in front of you like Goliath in 1 Samuel 17; towering above you; stopping you from moving forward. Even though an army of support surrounds you, fear has immobilized everyone.
How is one person able to generate so much fear? You’ve been there before. The critic with corrosive words about your work that causes fear of failure. The bully who threatens you. A group of people who mock you. The list goes on. Actions by others that paralyze you into inaction and make you afraid to move forward.
In 1 Samuel 17:4 we read that Goliath “was six cubits and a span (NASB).” That’s around nine feet tall or about 3 meters. Saul, the King of Israel at that time, “was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward (1 Samuel 9:2 & 10:23). Even though Saul stood taller than everyone, he and his army “were dismayed and greatly afraid (17:11).”
But it isn’t just the size of the fear that can scare you. Sometimes we stand before our fear and study it point by point, weighing our own strength against our adversary. 1 Samuel 17:5-7 gives a detailed account of Goliath’s armor from his bronze helmet, scale armor, bronze greaves on his legs, and a “bronze javelin slung between his shoulders.” The passage adds that “the shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and the head of his spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron.” The shaft of his spear alone weighed around 15 pounds or about 7 kilograms.
When you size up the fear standing before you in detail it’s easy to conclude that you are no match against the size and strength of you opponent. Your adversary in full armor is well-equipped to defeat you. You hear their mocking, challenging you: “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together (17:10).” When you use your own assessment of yourself, you lose sight of how God sees you. When you weigh yourself against a stronger adversary, you only see your weakness. “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).’”
God has prepared you for this moment in your life. He has prepared you in the wilderness. You have conquered fear before like David tending the flocks: “When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth (17:34).” Now the biggest challenge of your life stands before you. Look at it not as others see you, but as God sees you.
© 2022, Chris G Thelen
Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and 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 taunted. – 1 Samuel 17:45 (NASB)
And that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.” 1 Samuel 17:47
Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. – 1 Samuel 17:50
For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God, The God who girds me with strength And makes my way blameless? He makes my feet like hinds’ feet,And sets me upon my high places. He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great. You enlarge my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped. – Psalm 18:31-36