“When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, ‘Why have you come down here? […] I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.’” (1 Samuel 17:28)
“Saul replied, ‘You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth.’” (vs. 33)
“The Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!’”
For David, the voices on the sidelines were loud and clear.
Last week, I wrote about what to do when you feel like an underdog. (Recap here.) This week I’d like to take a closer look at Four Underdog Lessons from the story of David and Goliath.
Underdog Lesson No. 1: David Persisted
Despite the verbal attacks being hurled against him, David refused to take “no” for an answer. Instead, David kept asking, seeking, persisting until Saul agreed to give him a chance.
When we battle against giants in our lives the best way we can be persistent is through prayer and the opportunities God provides.
Sometimes it’s easy to grow weary of seeking God through prayer but God loves for us to drive him crazy with our heartfelt desires. Likewise, when opportunities arise, it’s often easy to shy away in fear, to procrastinate, to talk ourselves out of the battle and into our comfort zone.
This is exactly what the enemy is after.
Don’t waste the weapon of prayer, and don’t waste the opportunities you’re given. Ask. Seek. Persist. When we are faithful in prayer and faithful with our opportunities, God is faithful to us.
Underdog Lesson No. 2: David Relied On His Training and His Past
When David went before Saul to ask permission to fight Goliath he built his case on his experience as a shepherd. On more than one occasion David had willingly fought with lions and bears. With each encounter he skillfully defeated the wild beasts. David felt confident that if God could rescue him from the paws of a lion or the claws of a bear, He could rescue him from Goliath too.
God is always at work in our lives, molding us, preparing us, training us in ways we may not realize. When the time comes to face a giant, God never sends us into battle unprepared.
Even in times when we don’t feel confident in our abilities, God is there, and we can find confidence in our Him. By looking to ways God has rescued us in the past we can find ourselves assured that He will come through for us again.
God is mighty to save. He loves to rescue us. No one fights for underdogs more than He does.
Underdog Lesson No. 3: David Removed That Which Encumbered Him
I think this is my favorite part of the whole story. Saul has just given his consent to let the shepherd boy face the giant. He gives David his armor, his sword. David tries them on. He walks around. “I cannot go in these,” he says to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” (vs. 39)
Taking the armor off, David opts for five smooth stones and sling. By removing that which encumbered, David remained true to himself and the skills God had given him.
Consider the giants in your life. What’s hindering you from the victory you desire? Is there something you need to remove, take off, get free from? Is there someone or something else you’re trying to be?
Follow David’s example. Remove what you can. Be the person God designed you to be. Hold tight to your sling.
Underdog Lesson No. 4: David Spoke Boldly In the Name of God
“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, who you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 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.’” (vs. 45-47)
These words are mighty. These words have the power to move heaven and earth. These words are one hundred percent as potent and powerful for us as they were for David.
The battles we face aren’t about swords and javelins. They aren’t limited to what we can see, hear, and touch. The battles we face are as much spiritual as they are physical…sometimes more so. The power of the spoken word is our weapon against spiritual forces, against the giants we can’t see, against Satan and his lies.
When giants taunt and spew their lies, when Satan attacks, fight back with words, with prayer, with scripture. Claim God’s promises. Speak boldly in His name. Use David’s speech if you have to.
When all was said and done, David ran toward the giant, and so can we.
When giants tower before us…
When Satan lurks around us…
- Be persistent
- Rely on God’s work in your life; Your training and His faithfulness
- Remove all encumbrances and be who you were born to be
- Speak bold words that call on God
- Remember that He is with you
Don’t run away in fear. Run into the battle. Claim your victory. Stand your ground.
And watch the giant fall.