Something funny jumped out at me as I reread the story of David & Goliath in 1 Samuel 17 this week. You’ve heard the story: it ends with a bigger upset than when the Jets trounced the Colts in Super Bowl III.
Not only did David single-handedly defeat his foe armed with only a slingshot, but Goliath wielded a sword and spear AND had a shield-bearer guarding him from the front (v. 41)! That tickled my funny bone – the thought of someone trying to shield a nearly 10’ tall giant (v. 4). That’s like a Pee Wee league player trying to block Terrell Brown. Suffice it to say, the guy failed miserably at his job (spoiler alert: Goliath took a stone between the eyes and died).
So, what were the rest of David’s teammates doing while the redshirt freshman challenged the first-round draft pick to a face-off? Verse 24 tells us that they were hiding behind the water cooler, cowering in fear. It’s not until v. 52, after David cuts off the dead giant’s head, then the Israelites charge out from their hiding places to chase down the fleeing Philistines.
I think we can learn a lot from the players in this story. There were the Philistine armchair quarterbacks, who really had little to offer the battle itself, but they rallied behind their champion … until he died, and then they ran for their lives. They faced fear with a cocky, can’t-touch-this attitude. There were the Israelite water boys, who wanted to suit up for the game but were too timid to go out on the field. They faced fear with a spineless, don’t-pick-me mindset. Then, there was David and Goliath. David was bold, albeit ill-equipped (v. 38-39) for the task, and he faced fear head-on. Goliath was conceited (v. 8-10, 16, 42-44) and had probably never lost a fight in his life, so he had no fear and no Plan B strategy.
Chances are, we all fall somewhere between each of these extremes. The point is that we gain nothing by hiding behind fear. Suit up and stay alert, so that when God calls you, you’ll be ready to get in the game.