Psalm 27:1, 13, 14
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? …….I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage. And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord.
Psalm 27 was written by King David, who will be on my Faith radar for this week. Besides talking about the salvation we have in Christ, my next favorite Bible gist is Faith. I love the topic. The faith stories in the Bible always give me joy. When a preacher does justice to the topic, I can barely sit through the sermon. It excites me again and again.
So it is not surprising that David is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. I love his shepherd boy to king story. I can identify with his process in my Christian walk. I chose David’s story because fear was something he had to deal with in his peculiar walk with God. Remember in Psalm 23, He said, ‘even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for thou art with me….’. I zero in on his fight against Goliath 1 Samuel 17, for this week’s piece.
In our text, David called God His light, salvation and strength. Because this was how he saw God, he asks, ‘Of whom shall I be afraid’. He was fearless. They say ‘action speaks louder that words’. James challenged us to ‘show him our faith by our works’, what we do to back up what we say. In David’s case, his complete trust in God saw him through several dark and fearful places. Goliath was one of them.
The Bible introduces Goliath in such fearful detail. From the Message Bible, 4-7 A giant nearly ten feet tall stepped out from the Philistine line into the open, Goliath from Gath. He had a bronze helmet on his head and was dressed in armor—126 pounds of it! He wore bronze shin guards and carried a bronze sword. His spear was like a fence rail—the spear tip alone weighed over fifteen pounds. His shield bearer walked ahead of him. He actually needed someone to carry part of his armory. How intimidating. The entire Israeli army was in trepidation. Saul had offered a huge reward to anyone who could kill Goliath and no one was willing to face this frightening persona.
Then David strolls into the picture, just delivering an errand from his father, Jesse. Then he hears Goliath daring anyone who had the guts to come fight with him. He was just a teenager, a little older than my son is now. But he was no ordinary teenager. He was a teenager that had experienced God over and over again- with the bear, with the lion. If God saw him through those, ‘this one is a piece of cake’ he must have thought.
I cannot even begin to imagine the level of bravado that rose up in his heart for him to think he could take care of Goliath. His only claim is that God is his light, salvation and strength, therefore he cannot be afraid of anyone, Goliath not being an exception. Sometimes when the challenge is bigger than what we have experienced before, we get intimidated. I hear people say things like, ‘this one pass me’. But for David, it was not so. He was filled with the knowledge of who God is that it crammed his thoughts and galvanized his action.
One would expect that he had some kind of formidable weapon which was his confidence, but instead he picked up stones. A sling and a couple of pebbles. What kind of confidence is this? He did not even act quietly. He was very loud about what he was about to do. He talked to his brothers, their colleagues and even the king. Sometimes we are told to stoop to conquer. But in this case he was not stooping. He was standing and speaking loud and clear as he approached this formidable enemy.
Finally, he brought Goliath down by his first sling shot. He came tumbling down from his heights. David cut off his head and took it to the king. Just like he said he would. Faith that was fearless. Faith must be fearless. Faith must be courageous. Faith must be brave, even in the face of the formidable.
What the enemy does is raise situations that breed fear. Once fear sets in, faith flies out of the window. And you can never get past God without faith. David had several reasons to back off. But he stood fearless. We must stand fearless. When we are fearless God steps in for us. How do you explain a pebble killing Goliath? Just a shot on his forehead and it was all over. That was no ordinary pebble. That pebble was powered by the finger of God to defend David’s bravado that day. That pebble was powered by God’s stamp of approval of David’s courage in facing Goliath. It was powered by God’s need to come through for David who had boasted so ‘childlikely’ in His faithfulness. God had to show up.
Why would He not do the same for us? We have a better covenant than David did. He has proved His love for us and commitment to us, by sending His Son to die for us. Is there anything He would not do for us? He does not need to prove any point to us anymore, He already did. What we need to do is plug ourselves fearlessly into what He has done for us. There is no need to fear.
Faith must be fearless. Faith and fear are two parallel lines, they can never meet. There can never be agreement between them. Once one is in operation, the other cannot operate. Note my words, one must be in operation to neutralize the other. Fear can be present, yet not in operation. Fear can be present but as long as it is not in operation, not the galvanizing force, then faith is still in operation. What determines which is in operation is what we do. We must keep going despite our fear. Fear should not stop us. Fear should not neutralise us. We must just keep our faith in focus and keep running to the finish line. That is where the victory lies.
What more can I say? Faith or fear depends on how you perceive God. Who and what is He to you? How do you view Him today? Is He the Lord of the universe? Is He the One that upholds it all in the palm of His hand? Is He the One who owns the earth and all its fullness? Is He the One who gave His Son to propitiate Himself? Is He the ONE? I have more questions, but I will stop there. If you can say yes to any of these questions because you know in your heart, then there is no need to fear. He remains the same- the Alpha, the Omega, the beginning and the end. He does not change. If He met David, He will meet you. Rise up and fight the fight of faith that God has set before you, knowing He has given you victory. Do not fear. Ma beru. Atu la ujo. Be not afraid. CK