“When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.” 1 Samuel 17:11
Words that defy God and treat Scripture with contempt bombard us every day. We often allow this barrage of words to intimidate us into silence and inaction. Like Saul and his army, we may find ourselves too disheartened to engage the God-defying giants in our culture. Overcoming discouragement when you’re intimidated is a matter of faith and focus.
King Saul and the armies of Israel stood on one mountaintop, while the Philistine army stood on another. Goliath, the Philistine champion, challenged any man in Israel to a winner-take-all fight. He was big, he was loud, and he was well-equipped for battle. The words, “I defy the ranks of Israel” froze Saul and his men in fear and discouragement. But why?
First, Saul’s faith was hindered by disobedience and pride (1 Samuel 15:10-12). He didn’t carry out God’s instructions completely, then erected a monument in his own honor. Too often, we partially obey God in a matter, then pat ourselves on the back for at least doing that. No wonder we’re susceptible to fear and discouragement when the next spiritual battle comes along.Remember, partial obedience is disobedience; and it hinders our faith.
Secondly, Israel was focusing on the giant in front of them rather than the God standing with them. The power of Israel’s God was well-known among other nations, “Our hearts melted in fear and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below” (Joshua 2:11). And God was still showing His power in their present conflict (1 Samuel 14:1-23). But Israel seemed to forget all that when the Philistines regrouped. We, too, need to focus on the size of our God – not the size of the God-defying giants.
The giants of our culture can also be big, loud, and well-equipped. Our anti-God and anti-Bible culture often discourages believers. Take inventory of a few things when you’re intimidated into silence or inaction. Start by asking God to reveal any area of disobedience or pride and determine to obey Him in that matter from this moment forward.
Next, examine how much time you spend listening to words that defy God versus time spent with Him in prayer and Bible study. Saturating your mind with the promises and character of God will fortify your faith and set your focus. It may even bolster your courage to step out in faith like David, the shepherd boy, and face a God-defying giant.