Moving From Fear to Faith
1 Samuel 17 records the story of David’s momentous victory over Goliath. When King Saul and his army drew up in battle against the Philistines (v. 2), Goliath threw a direct challenge for a face-off.
“Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he can fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.”
Goliath had an intimidating physique and impressive military gear (vv. 3 -5). Naturally, fear spread throughout the Israelite camp. Even King Saul was dismayed and terrified (vv. 9-11).
Fear is no stranger to us. Fear can be described “as a strong emotion caused by an awareness of something threatening or dangerous.” We have all experienced fear and uncertainty through the COVID-19 pandemic (which only seems to be getting worse).
David trusted in God. He was full of faith ( and not fear). So, he went to fight Goliath alone. Humanly speaking, David had no hope against Goliath, the Champion of Gath.
Yet, David knew, “It is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s (v. 47b). Note, David saw Goliath’s challenge very differently. He seems to have viewed it from an entirely different perspective - God’s perspective!
Amidst growing fear and uncertainty in the wake of the second wave, we need to draw faith from God’s Word. Let’s focus on David’s courageous fight against Goliath to learn lessons for us today.
When we have faith, we need not fear. I would like to highlight three-pointers from this familiar story that will help us turn away from fear and move us towards faith.
Firstly, when we have faith, we need not listen to the voice of fear.
Goliath would bellow daily and challenge the Israelites for a one-on-one fight. When the entire Israelite camp listened to Goliath every day, they heard their inner voices of fear.
Goliath scared them to death. But David chose to ignore Goliath’s insults and taunts, and so he was not intimidated by Goliath. David had faith, so he did not listen to the voices of fear around him.
Paul reminds us, “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7). And so, when we have faith, we will not listen to the voice of fear.
Secondly, when we rely on the faithfulness of God, we need not fear.
David could easily recollect God’s help and presence with him in the past (vv. 32 – 37). He dramatically narrates how as a shepherd boy, he guarded his flock against the lion and the bear, and how he struck them to deliver his sheep - all of this with God’s help!
Psalm 23, perhaps, is reminiscent of David’s early experiences on being a shepherd boy: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need…I will fear no evil…your rod and your staff, they comfort me…Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life…”
Today the Psalm carries a depth of meaning and insight when you begin to read it in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. God remains faithful forever. Sometimes, even if we are faithless. When we remember God’s faithfulness in our lives, all our fears will decrease.
Thirdly, when we have God in the fight, we need not fear.
As Goliath’s challenger, David may have looked foolish with no military gear. Nevertheless, David had enough confidence in God. After all, this was the Lord’s battle. He emphatically tells Goliath:
“…the Lord rescues His people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and He will give you to us!” (vv. 46-47).
While fear focuses on what we do see, faith focuses on what we do not see. Faith chooses to see and believe God is in every situation. Faith honestly believes that the battle belongs to the Lord. As we stand in Faith, God fights on our behalf.
Finally, a quick question! What voices are you listening to - Faith or Fear? We need not let fear overpower us. When God is in the equation, faith overcomes fear. Let us continue to trust in God and read His Word. Let us move from fear to faith. Amen!
Lanusenla Longchar-Samuel is presently a doctoral candidate at the United Theological College, Bangalore.
Photo by Matan Levanon on Unsplash