A note from Kelly King: Are you a leader facing a Goliath? Are you running toward the thing you fear and depending on the Lord to fight the battle? In today’s article, Whitley encourages us to lead in the strength of the Lord. If you’re looking for a great resource on this topic, check out Goliath Must Fall: Winning the Battle Against Your Giants by Louie Giglio or purchase the accompanying devotional CD featuring excerpts from the book.
I heard a really great sermon the other day on the story of David and Goliath. Now, before you skip down to the bottom of this page or go check your Instagram, let me tell you that even common stories we all know can surprise us sometimes. What I mean by this is that this sermon pointed out two small details that I had missed all these years. Isn’t it funny that sometimes the smallest of details make all the difference in the world?
David ran toward fear.
In 1 Samuel 17, we find David, a shepherd boy whose dad didn’t even think he should be called in from the field when told one of his sons would be the next king. He is about to enter a fight with a giant, and all David was armed with was five smooth stones, a slingshot, and his shepherd’s staff.
Scripture says, in verse 48: “When the Philistine started forward to attack him, David ran quickly to the battle line to meet the Philistine” (emphasis mine).
Let’s stop here for a moment. I don’t know about you, but I usually don’t run toward scary things. For example, for about a year now, my co-workers have been playing this game called “let’s jump out from around the corner and scare Whitley.” If this were a test of the fight or flight response, I am definitely flight with a very small side of fight. My usual response is some kind of loud scream/screech/laugh, an occasional punch into the air as I do some incredibly high knees heading in the opposite direction as fast as I can. I have never run in the direction of something that’s scared me, and I would bet that you haven’t either. But that’s what we see David doing—running into the face of danger, the opposite of what everyone else was doing.
Think about what faith that took. David ran quickly into something that he knew God had called him to because he had enough faith and trust in the Lord. Now let’s think about this in the context of leading in ministry. Is there something you are fearful of even though you know God has called you to it? Maybe you feel led to restart the women’s ministry at your church or reach out to that younger woman about meeting for discipleship. Or it might even be that you’re called to have a difficult conversation with a ministry partner. All of these things can be very scary. Our natural reaction might be fear, but can I encourage you, friend, to run quickly? The reason, you ask? Keep reading.
Jesus triumphs over the very thing that seeks to defeat us.
“David put his hand in the bag, took out a stone, slung it, and hit the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown to the ground. David defeated the Philistine with a sling and a stone. David overpowered the Philistine and killed him without having a sword. David ran and stood over him. He grabbed the Philistine’s sword, pulled it from its sheath, and used it to kill him. Then he cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they fled.” (1 Sam. 17:49-51).
Literally from Genesis 1, we can see the scarlet thread of redemption running throughout the Bible. This story is no different, but we often miss it.
We just read how David defeated Goliath with Goliath’s own weapon. But there is a greater story within this one. This points directly to what Jesus did on the cross. The enemy’s only weapon is death, and Jesus defeated death when He rose again on the third day. Let us remember this when we are faced with fear. Let’s also remember that He continues to triumph over the things that seek to destroy us.
Why were these two details so impactful? Because it’s not our natural reaction, and it’s a reminder that it’s not by our strength, wisdom, or power that we lead. It’s only by God’s grace, mercy, and love that we get to be used by Him. So the next time that you’re faced with something that scares you, when you feel like running away from fear and away from what God has called you to because it just seems impossible, too hard, or just plain scary, remember David. Remember that David ran into fear, with the impossible in front of him, but he let that empower him. May we let it empower us as well because we stand behind the power of the cross. So run.
Whitley Tracy is a small-town farm girl from Oklahoma who is thankful for God’s plan being better than her own. Whitley has been the Girls Minister at Trinity Baptist in Ada, Oklahoma for the past five years where she has a heart for girls to find their true identity in Christ, discipleship, and to help young women to grow in their relationships with the Lord. She graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and is now continuing her education at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in Girls & Women’s Ministry. In her spare time, she loves living life with her two roommates, DIY projects, flowers, laughing, spending time with family, drinking coffee, and eating ice cream.