Hi there. Thanks for following the first and second parts of my narration of the story of David and Goliath; a story I’m sure we are all so familiar with. Before sending the first part in to be posted, I thought the question “why bother telling us a story we already know?” will be raised, but I was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t. From the general response of the readers, it appears the purpose for which I decided to write the story my way is partially achieved.
It is easy for us to read some stories from the Bible and pass them off as, well, stories. But when you pause to think about it; these stories (if you are a believer) are real life stories, everything happened. Most parts of the Bible reads like a Historical account – a documentation of lives of men like you and I, who lived in a totally different age.
Take for example, this story of David and Goliath I just narrated again. It is easy for us to subconsciously switch off our minds to assume it is just a great fable from a fairy tale. I mean, how on earth could a boy (age approximately between 12 and 16) go to war against a giant of 9.75 feet, a proven warrior, and then defeat him with a sling and a stone!? It doesn’t get more incredible than that. But until you mentally accept and visualize the reality of the event, you will never grasp the true awesomeness of it. You would pass it off as a very good story and take nothing away from it.
Okay, away with my preamble and straight to the point. I believe every event in the Bible is recorded for a reason; be it for doctrine, correction, reprove or instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (II Tim 3:16). In other words, there are lessons to be learned from every story recorded in the Bible to help us live better lives. This is not me attempting to preach at you, but indulge me for a few more paragraphs to share some valuable lessons we can learn from David in The Battle of Sochoh.
Obedience: One of the first things we can infer from the story is that David was an obedient teenager, eager to follow his father’s instructions even though he would rather be somewhere else. He was also patient enough to tend to the sheep in the field, waiting for the right time to move on to the next stage in his life. It was more or less like a training phase for him; that was when he learned to follow his instincts (trust in God) and develop courage while he defended the sheep against wild beasts, as was recorded. In any situation you find yourself; make the best of it and don’t waste time grumbling and complaining away. If you are obedient in little things, more will be entrusted to you. Trust me, the next phase is just around the corner and if you are found wanting with what is committed to you, you might miss the opportunity for the next big thing. What if David refused the burden of carrying food supplies to his brothers? What if he had been disobedient and his father didn’t trust him with such a task and sent a servant instead?
Opportunity: He saw an opportunity where others saw a problem, a challenge, an obstacle, a giant. Immediately he saw the giant threatening and challenging the army of Israel, he recognized the potential of a reward and he was told of what the king would do for whoever defeats the giant. He was so interested in the outcome of victory he had no time to focus on defeat. There is no champion without a championship, there is no victor without a fight, there is no conqueror without a quest, there is no winner without a challenge I could go on with this, but you get my point already. Learn to see the formidable challenge you are facing as an opportunity to grow, to step on to the next stage and to prove yourself. Don’t see it as a problem; see it as an opportunity to show you have the solution.
Understanding: David was not ignorant; his acceptance of the challenge was not based on youthful burst of bravado. His words were “…For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” He knew what would work for him in battle; he perfectly understood the pros and cons of the situation. He knew the God of Israel was with him. Before you get yourself into any situation, it is only logical for you to access what you have and whether it is sufficient to overcome what you are getting into. Jesus said in the 31st verse of the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke; “…Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider…” But inasmuch as you want to be pragmatic in your approach to challenges, it is also noteworthy that you’ll never know what you are made of until you go through stuffs. More on faith later.
Resilience: David was severely rebuked by his eldest brother when he heard he (David) was inquiring about the reward of killing the giant. He asked David to leave the army camp and return to the sheep, but David paid no attention to his words until word got to Saul the King of his intention to fight the giant. In life, even your loved ones will come as obstacles to conquering your giant. They would encourage you to go back to your place of comfort; they would tell you maintaining status quo is not that bad, they want you to be safe so they would discourage any form of risk taking on your part. Even King Saul tried to dissuade David and pointed out his shortcoming as a civilian going to battle a trained warrior. David refused to be discouraged.
Experience: As the saying goes: no knowledge gained is wasted, (or did I just cook this up in my mind? I’m sure I must have heard it somewhere) the same goes for experience too. No one can take what you know and what you have gone through from you. David did not hesitate to let King Saul know he had some fighting experience, he told him he had battled and defeated a bear and a lion in the past and that was enough experience to face the giant. He even refused the king’s armor, opting for the sling and stone which worked for him in the past. Endeavor to value and take something from your daily challenges and experiences, you do not know when any of such would have to be recalled to help you in times of adversity.
Courage & Faith: Maybe these should have come earlier, so note that these qualities/characteristics discussed are not in any particular order. A wise man once said and I quote “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the ability to overcome it”, and the Bible defines faith as “…the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” In the context of the story, both go hand in hand. David had everything to fear when he approached the giant but the Bible did not record David showed any fear or doubt. Even when the giant cursed at David and vowed to feed his dead body to the animals, David was not moved. But he did not keep quiet; he countered the giant’s negativity with the affirmation of his belief (in God, in this case). When challenges come, it would come in the most intimidating manner and announce – so to speak – why you won’t be able to overcome. The moment you start focusing on the consequences of defeat, the moment you start failing. Take for example when Jesus walked on water and told Peter to come to him and Peter started walking towards Jesus (on water also); the Bible said Peter started walking on water but when he saw the wind (and sea waves); he was afraid and began to sink. The moment Peter took his eyes of Jesus (the source of his faith) and saw the wind (focused on the problem), fear came in and he started sinking. Again I say to you; fear kicks in when you start paying attention to the magnitude of your problem and you will never succeed when you operate in fear. Focus on your strength; focus on God’s word for you and your situation. The just shall live by faith.
Had David paid attention to the giant’s words and promise to feed his (David’s) dead body to the animals, David’s courage and faith in God’s promise to him as an Israelite would have been affected and we would have been telling another version of the David & Goliath story today. David stood true to what he believed in and asserted his confidence in the face of the problem giant.
That’s all for now, folks. Stay on top.