Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

10 Facing your Fears – Part 2

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1 Samuel 17:20-39

“20 So David left the sheep with another shepherd and set out early the next morning with the gifts, as Jesse had directed him. He arrived at the camp just as the Israelite army was leaving for the battlefield with shouts and battle cries. 21 Soon the Israelite and Philistine forces stood facing each other, army against army. 22 David left his things with the keeper of supplies and hurried out to the ranks to greet his brothers. 23 As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, came out from the Philistine ranks. Then David heard him shout his usual taunt to the army of Israel. 24 As soon as the Israelite army saw him, they began to run away in fright. 25 “Have you seen the giant?” the men asked. “He comes out each day to defy Israel. The king has offered a huge reward to anyone who kills him. He will give that man one of his daughters for a wife, and the man’s entire family will be exempted from paying taxes!” 26 David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” 27 And these men gave David the same reply. They said, “Yes, that is the reward for killing him.” 28 But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!” 29 “What have I done now?” David replied. “I was only asking a question!” 30 He walked over to some others and asked them the same thing and received the same answer. 31 Then David’s question was reported to King Saul, and the king sent for him. 32 “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” 33 “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.” 34 But David persisted. “I have been taking care of my father’s sheep and goats,” he said. “When a lion or a bear comes to steal a lamb from the flock, 35 I go after it with a club and rescue the lamb from its mouth. If the animal turns on me, I catch it by the jaw and club it to death. 36 I have done this to both lions and bears, and I’ll do it to this pagan Philistine, too, for he has defied the armies of the living God! 37 The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!” 38 Then Saul gave David his own armor—a bronze helmet and a coat of mail. 39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. “I can’t go in these,” he protested to Saul. “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off again.”

Last time as we looked at facing our fears we saw that we needed to define the problem and then be prepared not scared. Now as we continue with the story of David and Goliath we will see that next we need to be:

  • Prepared for people pressure

David arrived on day 40 to hear Goliath challenge the cowering Israelite army for the 80th time. After listening to the giant boast about himself and belittle God David declares, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” It is here that his older brother Eliab became angry with David and accuses him of hanging around the battle for his own benefit. He doesn’t just chastise David he calls his character into question, accusing David of impure motives. Eliab calls David’s integrity into question, and belittles his brother by dismissing his role as a shepherd, seeing it as small and secondary. Eliab sees himself as a soldier while David is just a shepherd who takes care of a few sheep, he is not even a successful shepherd in his brothers eyes. Eliab trivialized David’s tasks in order to knock him down to size. It’s sad but Eliab sees his sibling as an annoyance, even though David has sacrificed and traveled many miles to bring his brothers supplies. Just as David didn’t get any support from his siblings, sometimes it is those who are the closest to you that will be your biggest critics. Sometimes the bigger battle is not with the enemy outside the camp but with those who are supposed to be on your side. When you decide to defeat the giants in your life don’t be surprised when you get criticized by those closest to you. Expect pushback from those who call themselves supporters, sometimes the biggest fight comes from friends and family. Sometimes the very ones you expect to help are the ones who hurt you the most. Look if you want to face your giants you’re going to have to face opposition regardless of whether it comes from outside or inside the camp. Don’t allow negative comments to nullify what God has called you to do. How did David deal with the people pressure, he focused on the cause not the criticism. David didn’t waste his time blaming he put his energy into believing. It’s not that David wasn’t distressed by what his brother said, it’s that he didn’t let it deter him. You have a choice when it comes to the critics you can listen to their negative noise or you can listen to the Lord. David faced constant criticism; the battle of belittling came at him from Goliath as well as God’s people. Yet he wasn’t intimidated by the insults, because David knew that it wasn’t about his name it was about the holy name of God. David didn’t get sidetracked by the scathing sarcasm because he made it about the Messiah not me. Are you going to focus on self and your suffering and get sidetracked, or on the Savior and the real sorrow, when God’s name is dishonored? When you stand up for God’s name you will get nailed. But instead of finding fault with your family, your friends or even your foes put your faith in a faithful God. The truth is that his brother was upset because David’s questions about Goliath dissing God made his brother look like a coward and not a man of courage. Unlike David Eliab focused on his feelings instead of God the Father. Often people will put you down and criticize you because it takes the focus of their failings. Rather than face his own failings it was easier just to find fault with David.  But despite his brothers attempts to bully him into silence, Saul, the King of Israel, still heard about David’s courageous candor and sent for him. In verse 32, David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” At first Saul also tried to dismiss David, but David was unperturbed and pointed to his past as proof of God’s power.  But as Saul tells David to go for it he tries to give him his armor, but David discards it because it doesn’t fit. Be careful you don’t try to fight your giants with someone else’s solution. Both Eliab and Saul tried to dismiss David, but he chose to focus on God’s faithfulness not others failings. In the midst of people pressure don’t lose sight of the real fight. Today what voice are you going to listen to, the critics or Christ?

 

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