1 Samuel 17 — If you think about it, it’s pretty amazing David even made it to getting to fight Goliath, much less killing the big guy.
I mean, here he is, going along his merry way being pizza delivery boy for his brothers. (Have you ever noticed he brought grain/bread and cheese to his brothers? If that’s not pizza, I don’t know what is.)
And then, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
He leaves his pizzas behind with the supplies guy and runs to meet his brothers. Ooh ohh, a battle! He gets to see a battle!
And then who should appear… Goliath. Badmouthing the Israelites and God, no less. Of course, David wants to take this guy on.
But notice what he faces.
#1. Oldest brother Eliab: What are you doing here anyway? You abandoned your post, man! Go back to your fluffy sheep.
David ignores him (“turned away”) and keeps asking indirectly to fight Goliath. Soon he ends up with his second critic.
#2. King Saul: You are a chick barely out of its shell. Goliath, on the other hand, is a rampaging bull elephant, ready to crush you under his big feet with stubby toes.
(Excuse my paraphrase. I’m sure if there had been a reporter there quoting verbatim that Saul’s words would have been something along those lines.)
This time, David replies and explains how he has singlehandedly killed a lion and a bear. Giant, schmiant.
After kindly turning down Saul’s gift, David goes out to meet Goliath, who is Barrier #3. A big barrier, that is.
#3. Goliath the giant: COME HERE, YOU BIRD FEED!
Pause. Let us a take a little time for reflection during this cliff hanger.
David’s critics have increased in size and difficulty. First, big brother chews him out. Then a king tells him he can’t do it. And then lastly, a guy twice his size who is ready to rip him from limb to limb gives him a not-so-friendly invitation to engage in a battle to the death.
When I think of the critics in my life, they are nothing compared to what David faced. But even so, it is impossible for us to please everyone. Someone or another is going to be unhappy — particularly if we are doing something in obedience to God.
It’s easy to become discouraged.
So what did David do? Push “play” as we continue the story.
David says, “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled… All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s and he will give all of you into our hands.”
David never wavers from his conviction. The reason that he had no problem facing these critics was because David’s identity and purpose was centered on God.
- He knew God’s strength was with him.
- He was not out to get glory for himself. He was out to defend God’s name.
- He knew that God would bring victory through means that was not by human might.
When we face criticism, it’s helpful to ask, “Where is my identity? Is my purpose centered on God? Am I walking in obedience to what He wants?”
If we are, then we have full confidence to stand firm and persevere through the criticism. God will accomplish His purposes through us no matter what criticism, barriers, or challenges we face.