The enemy is huge. It is unlike anything previously faced. It is threating. It looks unbeatable. The nation’s future, it appears, hangs in the balance. Resources have been evaluated and have come up short to address the adversary. People are scared and feel hopeless. Fear has gripped hearts. A type of emotional paralysis has gripped the nation and has been translated into physical inaction. The culture is reaching out to find a solution in terms of some sort of savior that will rescue them from the invincible nemesis they face. So far, they have found none. There has been plenty of discussion about what needs to be done, but no one has come up with a solution. The nation is in a state of desperation and dismay.
This is not the “invisible enemy” of our current history, Coronavirus-19 (COVID-19). This is the visible enemy centuries ago of the nation of Israel named Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Standing 9 feet 9 inches tall, wearing more than 125 pounds of defensive armaments, and displaying an impressive array of offensive weapons. Centuries ago, King Saul, his military, and the nation of Israel faced such an imposing enemy – and he was visible. There was no speculation about what they faced. No one was proposing Goliath was fake news. No one was discussing conspiracy theories about a giant. No one was foolish enough to suppose that the enemy was not as mighty as advertised. No one had an idea or a plan to defeat this “visible enemy.” They stood horrified at the prospect of not only facing but defeating Goliath.
Enter an improbable yet divine solution – a shepherd boy named David. David walks before the “visible enemy” and is not “dismayed and greatly afraid” (17:11) as his family and other contemporaries were. He was disturbed that there was such an enemy and stood before King Saul and declared with boldness and purpose, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight…” (17:32). David saw the same thing everyone else did, but he was determined that such an enemy should be engaged and not drive the nation into fear. He was willing to do the hard thing because he thought it was the right thing.
What motivated such a counter-cultural response? First, he and God had some history. He had seen what the Lord could do by empowering him to overcome former enemies, mainly a lion and a bear (17:34-37). Second, he believed that God was still active and could defeat another imposing enemy. Faith propelled him to act and not fall into emotional paralysis. Third, he believed in the power of the Lord to win the battle because the “battle is the Lord’s” (17:45, 47). He did not rely solely on the weapons at his disposal. He threw the stone, but he relied on the Lord using the stone to slay the giant. Faith trusts: faith works!
In these uncertain days when we face an “invisible enemy,” realize that we have a powerful God who is engaged in the panic and peril of these days. We wash our hands, practice social distancing, and act wisely – not panicky. We must be like David and not focus upon a powerful enemy, but upon an Almighty God. We have a history with Him. We have seen what God can do. We have faith in the power of the Lord. This is not the time to cower in paranoia, but to reach out as we are able to proclaim God’s peace and hope into a world desperately needing to discover that the “battle is the Lord’s.”
How can you step forward in faith in these days of crisis? Perhaps you could encourage a person who is feeling overwhelmed. Maybe you could encourage people around you to not focus on the negative (i.e. 24/7 news, or internet news) – be informed but not consumed. Possibly there could be an act of kindness (like picking up a grocery item for a neighbor, just waving and greeting people at a distance and telling them you are praying for them, maybe even ask for a prayer request). Share a verse with others that has encouraged as you have been reading God’s Word in these days.
Remember the encouragement of our Savior Jesus Christ, the Great Shepherd of the sheep, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).