It’s always easy to give up isn’t it? When the going gets tough and the tough gets going it’s easier to just throw the towel, raise your hands up in the air and say (with much frustration) “That’s it! I give up!” or “let somebody else ‘with experience’ handle the problem.”
As a Christian I always believe that if the blessing is from God there is no added trouble on what He is going to give you. Until I realize that sometimes what is easy is not always from God. Sometimes we need to experience hardships, and yes, troubles to grow and mature in character for us to enjoy the blessing.
I’m reading first and second Samuel this month and I’m learning a lot from the soon-to-be king named David. The prophet Samuel anointed David king “during” the reign of king Saul. Which means Saul was still the king of Israel, which means David can’t just barge in inside the palace and take over Saul’s place, which means God is still working on David’s character for him to be the greatest king in all of Israel’s history. *Phew!*
Get the point?
The promise was there, he was already an anointed king, but becoming a king is not an easy job, so character needs to be developed because much is expected if you want to be THE GREATEST king.
David’s first test: the catapult to his success
Remember the story of David and Goliath? (If not, you can read 1 Samuel 17:1-58). Goliath is big . . . wait, he’s humongous! Standing over nine feet tall, with an ego larger than the Roman Empire, he is the undefeated champion of the Philistines, who can stand against him? Of course we all know David killed him, but if you put yourself on David’s shoes, or sandals, would you fight that giant? Let’s look at David’s attitude and learn from him as he faced his gargantuan challenge.
Problem number 1: I’m just a shepherd boy, the youngest in my family
Sounds familiar? I’m just a graphic artist, the youngest in my family. I’m the thinnest, the not so brightest. Older people don’t listen to my ideas. I only earn this much. I know nothing about this and that. The list goes on, excuses are made. We are simple not good enough. Agree? I believe most people would say yes.
Funny why it was emphasized in this chapter that David was just a shepherd boy and the youngest. The writer can simply skip that part and proceed to the story, but the writer didn’t. We need to understand where David is coming from.
Jesse, David’s father, had eight sons—David is the youngest. Imagine Jesse’s house with eight men, three of them served as Israel’s military defense officers. David being the youngest dude must have been the neglected one . . . wait, on second thought, he is the neglected one (1 Samuel 16:1-13).
Problem number 2: My brother told me I have a wicked heart 😥
Ouch! If I were David I’ve accepted those harsh words and went home bitter and sad. Here’s what happened, David went to his brothers to bring some food. He heard Goliath taunting the Israelites and their God. Curious about the whole scenario, David asked the soldiers what was happening. Then his brother Eliab came, burning with anger, and this is what he said,
“Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
And this was David’s response,
“Now what have I done? Can’t I even speak?” (uh-oh trouble in the camp)
Reality check folks, people will tell awful things about us. Sometimes even your family will tell things that are not even true about you, and since they are family members it hurts all the more.
“You will never amount to anything!”
“You’re not pretty enough/smart enough/scheming enough to do this or that.”
“Face it, you’re a loser”
It hurts. Words hurt. It’s so painful you just want to give up the fight. We’ve believed and accepted the lies, and we’ve already faced defeat even before the battle starts.
Problem number 3: The king said I am not equipped to fight
In this modern world we’re living in “experience” is required. When you apply for a job it is a requirement. When you do a business, write a book, or enter a sports competition, experience is required. I’m not saying it’s bad, but sometimes it cripples us. King Saul in verse 33 of first Samuel 17 said that David is not an experience fighter, “you’re just a shepherd boy for crying out loud! Goliath is an experience fighter! How on earth will you be able to fight that, that monster!” (My interpretation of the verse)
Then David, with all tenacity, replied . . .
34“Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:34-37)
King Saul trusted David that he can slay the giant, BUT in my opinion, there is still a bit of doubt that lingers in his mind so he ordered his men to “equip” David with proper battle clothes before going to the battle.
“You want to start a business? Go to this seminar. Listen to this podcast. Read this book first.” Like King Saul, they all meant well, people want us to learn first because they know it’s not an easy battle. But sometimes these things will just weigh us down, delay us, and cripple us. Like David we just have to say no. David can’t go to that battle because he is not used to it, he can’t walk properly. How many times have we experienced that? Training and equipping is good, but if it will weigh us down from moving forward those things will just be an excess baggage.
Problem number 4: Man! This Goliath dude is sure is big O_O
Now the battle begins, we meet the enemy and we see that our opponent is big, powerful, rich, and more popular than we are. It is not too late to back out—flee!!!
And you know what’s worse? Your opponent seeing how small you are. Goliath saw David (probably looking through a magnifying glass) and this is what happened,
42He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. 43He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44“Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” (1 Samuel 17:42-44)
David knows who’s bigger. Not himself, not the opponent, he knows God and he knows that his God is bigger than this Goliath dude. In this battle it is not about what you know but whom you know that matters.
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.(1 Samuel 17:45)
We all know the story; David killed Goliath and gained victory over the Philistines and favor in the eyes of king Saul and the Israelites.
There is a promise that God has given us. A promise we’ve been holding on for a very long time. For David it was the throne and for us it may be something else, I may not know what those promises are in your life but I know that that promise is big, that promise requires character development, that promise will require series of challenges that we have to face in order to grow.
Let’s learn from David for he knows who he is in God—he knows his place. He knows God’s promise for him and that is to be a king. He never doubted God for he knows that the One who gave the promise is faithful, true, and will never leave him. No matter what people will say, your current job or status in life, no matter how big the opponent or the problem may be—God is bigger, God is stronger—let’s hold on to Him and let Him be our sword and shield.
Don’t give up.
current mood: Hindi ko ‘to kaya, pero kaya ni LORD.