Friday, January 16, 2009

David and Goliath

I remember hearing the story of David and Goliath even when I was a kid attending other churches. It seemed like the ultimate underdog-defeats-giant-and-comes-out-the-victor story that shows even the smallest of us has a chance.

While that’s true, the real lesson is quite different. The Philistines intended to overtake the Israelites. They’d been at war, as has been the cycle for the children of Israel. The Philistines presented a great warrior who was not only large, he was fierce and determined to subject the Israelites to Philistine rule once and for all. Goliath of Gath declared, “ . . . choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. . . . I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together” (1 Samuel 17:8-10).

Goliath boasted of his own strength and relied upon himself. He was sure that no man could kill him. When he saw a young David, he was even more sure of himself. What he didn’t realize was that what David lacked in physical strength and stature, he more than made up for in his faith in God. David relied solely upon the Lord to help him defeat Goliath. David said, “ . . . who is this uncircumcised Philistine , that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26).

Goliath stood ready with his armor, sword, and spear while David had a slingshot and some stones he’d found. David told Goliath, “ . . . I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand . . .” (1 Samuel 17:45-46). David had faith in the power of the Lord and with one small stone he killed Goliath.

Was it the force of the stone that killed the giant? I doubt it. I believe it was David’s complete faith and obedience to the Lord that destroyed Goliath. Surely, Goliath’s physical strength would’ve overpowered a young boy such as David, but the Lord chose to allow David to slay Goliath. The Lord rarely strikes people down, but rather allows natural events to fulfill his purposes.

What can we learn from this story? We all have goliaths in our own lives. One person’s “goliath” may not be another person’s, but we all have things that seem insurmountable at the time. When my son was diagnosed with Down syndrome, I felt as if it was a goliath in my life. I wasn’t sure how I could deal with it along with raising all of my other children. But, I learned that with the Lord’s help nothing is impossible. Yes, my son still has Down syndrome, but I have no doubt at all that the Lord will bless me to deal with whatever comes from his diagnosis and to be the best mother I can be to him and that he will bless my son to accomplish whatever mission he has to accomplish here on earth.

No matter what we encounter, if we rely on the Lord, he will steady and strengthen us, even when the odds don’t look like they’re in our favor. When my sister-in-law faced lung cancer, she may have seen it as a goliath in her life. Though she didn’t beat the cancer in this life, cancer didn’t beat her in the next. She never lost her testimony and fully relied on the Lord until the day she passed away.

May we all face our own goliaths with the faith of David and make sure that we slay that which stands in our way or eternal exaltation.

Return to the neighborhood.

And while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, our newsletter brings you articles, products, services, resources and interviews from around the world—all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.

Neighborhood Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

No comments: