In the Old Testament, God traveled with the Israelites in different forms to protect them. The Israelites knew that their God was fighting for them because they could physically see God going before them and behind them.
Each day in life is a blank slate, waiting for us to write new moments and watch our life stories unfold. And even though the newness of each day is fresh and sweet, it also brings uncertainty. No matter how much we plan and prepare, things can change in an instant, redirecting our paths in ways we couldn’t have imagined.
Do you have a memory that reminds you of this fact? Maybe an event that didn’t go as expected? Whether that event turned out better or worse than you planned, it still illustrates the fact that life is often uncertain. The longer we live, the more we realize that the only truths we can stand on with one-hundred percent certainty are God’s promises.
With that in mind, we introduce our next “character of courage,” David!
The Story of David & Goliath
Let’s dive into 1 Samuel. At this time, the Israelites were at war with the Philistines. As both armies prepared for battle, the boasts of a Philistine soldier named Goliath rang through the hills. Goliath was massive, and his sheer presence was frightening. Dressed in the nicest armor, he appeared invincible.
As this giant soldier mocked and taunted his opponents, the Israelites already felt defeated, and the battle had not even begun.
During this war, the Israelites placed all of their hope in King Saul. As it turns out, Saul was just as afraid and unwilling to face Goliath as his army was. 1 Samuel 17:11 tells us, “Saul [the king] and his men heard what Goliath said, but they were so frightened of Goliath that they couldn’t do a thing.”
The Israelites were frozen with fear.
Then, a boy named David enters the story. The youngest of eight boys, David was a shepherd––a humble job compared to his three older brothers who were soldiers in the Israelite army.
One day, David’s father asked him to take his older brothers food in the field. Upon David’s arrival, he heard Goliath’s ridicules toward the Israelite army. This taunting continued for 40 days. Goliath continuously mocked “the army of the living God” (1 Samuel 17:26).
While Goliath raged on, David couldn’t see why anyone would be afraid of a man who did not have God on his side. After all, an enemy of God’s people is an enemy of God.
Instead of falling prey to fear, David chose to find firm footing on the bedrock of his Father’s truth. Nothing is impossible with God. David believed this in His heart, and this trust gave him the strength to face a giant.
Learning this, King Saul warned in 1 Samuel 17:33, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.” Despite this, David stood strong, knowing that as that in the name of the Lord, he could fight Goliath.
David approached Goliath with no armor and only a slingshot with 5 smooth rocks. Goliath saw David as no match for him and ridiculed him relentlessly.
David replied, “This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down… that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” (1 Samuel 17:46-47)
Goliath charged forward, but David launched a rock from his sling, hitting Goliath in the forehead. The rock knocked the giant dead with one shot. In shock, the Philistines then began to run away and the Israelites chased them to defeat.
The battle was won.
Being courageous doesn’t mean you have to fight in battle, but it does mean fighting against the temptations of the world—even the temptation to feel like you’re not strong enough to face a certain challenge. The enemy is the father of lies, working every day to kill, steal and destroy. When you’re faced with a challenge in life, remember that even though you are in a battle against the enemy, you are equipped with a higher, mighty power. The work that you do is in the name of the Lord. Victory is yours, no matter what!
David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail on account of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:32
In David’s boldness, he demonstrated a clear picture of trusting in God’s authority and His word. In his obedience, he positioned himself to be used by the Lord. The result was victory for the Israelites—and a story of bravery that is still told thousands of years later.
Sometimes the smallest actions can cause the most powerful reactions. When we choose to be brave and courageous in the name of the Lord, the opposing doesn’t stand a chance. How will you let God use you by courageously saying, “YES?”