Joan of Arc was a young peasant girl, born in France during the Hundred Years War. At the age of fourteen, Joan described hearing voices telling her to lead the country to victory against England. This divine appointment emboldened a girl of common ancestry, a girl who obviously lacked formal training as a solider. Joan of Arc rallied a listless French army to victory.
Joan was a young French heroine of the fifteenth century. David was a hero of much earlier times in Israelite history, but he was also a teenager and just as unlikely a hero as Joan. The youngest of his family, David endured the scorn of his older brothers. By all appearances a simple shepherd boy, David didn’t immediately win King Saul’s confidence when he offered to fight Goliath.
When David agreed to fight Goliath, he wasn’t motivated by reward. He didn’t set out to make a name for himself and earn respect. But unlike every other Israelite man at the battlefront—including his own brothers—he was unafraid. What was the source of courage for this adolescent boy, unarmed and inexperienced? Belief in who God said He was.
If courage gains strength from trust in an invisible God, fear takes root in believing the visible enemy. The Israelites cowered, Saul included, because all they saw on the landscape was a giant towering above the Israelite army. Goliath jeered at their powerlessness. He was dressed from head to foot in armor, with a collection of immense and frightening weapons. How could anyone face him in battle and hope to win?
David’s courage came from the God who guarantees victory. David had known the protection of Yahweh. While tending his sheep, he had faced lions and bears, and the Lord has rescued him. He believed (rightly) that God would rescue him again from the hands of Goliath. Goliath was big, but God was infinitely bigger.
With one shot, David sank a stone into the forehead of Goliath, and victory was the Lord’s.
Apply the Word
Facing our fears is so much about perspective. What will we choose to see? Do we have faith to see what can’t be seen? Elisha and his servant faced enemy forces in 2 Kings 6. When the servant realized they had been surrounded, he feared for their lives. Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” The servant then saw the angelic forces fighting for them. When you’re afraid, ask the Lord to see rightly, with the lens of faith.