1 Samuel 17:1-9 NKJV
1 Now the Philistines gathered their armies together to battle, and were gathered at Sochoh, which belongs to Judah; they encamped between Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and they encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array against the Philistines. 3 The Philistines stood on a mountain on one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4 And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs and a bronze javelin between his shoulders. 7 Now the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his iron spearhead weighed six hundred shekels; and a shield-bearer went before him. 8 Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.”
It was a nice sunny day and I was in a jovial mood while on my way to church. Upon arriving and finding my seat I was asked by a cherub faced young man to read a scripture in front of the congregation. My gloom immediately turned into doom! My heart started palpitating, mind racing, and sweat beads began to drip slowly down my face. I took a deep breath as I gave myself a moment to gather my thoughts “wait a minute, I said, God has not given me the spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and a Sound mind!” So I started standing on the word…going back and forth between fear and the word rather. Then I heard a quaint voice that said,“ Just talk to me.” Immediately I felt a quickening in my spirit. At that moment it gave me confidence and boldness, so much so that when I got up to speak I forgot I was even scared!
In opposition, the same week I had to attend training for my job. Sitting front row, it seemed as if I was the one most appointed to give an analysis and articulate my understanding to the group of what we were concurrently learning. A sinking feeling began to knot up in my stomach and dread engrossed me. “It’s happening all over again,” I say to myself. I couldn’t believe it. I thought I had just defeated this area! Each time I was called upon I began to stumble over my words, lose my train of thought, and I started panting very heavily. It was quite draining—oh and did I mention EMBARRASSING. At its conclusion, there I sat yet again withdrawn and in anger.
That was my battle at Gath. The Bible records Gath as being a Philistine city that was infamous for its lineage of giants. I was always an ambitious and courageous person so when I started experiencing panic and anxiety attacks at the height of my career I was taken aback. Public speaking was a dominant part of my profession. It came about all of a sudden; one day I found myself in a room full of people, palms sweaty, heart palpitating and panting for air. It was the beginning of years of anguish, frustration and disappointment. It has brought me before the Lord many nights, with bitter weeping and deep prayers. Because of this fear I pondered deeply about how I would be able to sustain a living, take care of myself, and my future. Before I knew it worry began to set in and I was slowly succumbing to depression.
It’s inevitable; we will all have to face giants in this life. Your Goliath may be a drug addiction, alcohol dependency, struggles with weight, pornography, a physical or mental handicap or some other debilitating strong hold. I implore you to hold on, keep fighting; until you throw in the towel the enemy hasn’t won. Don’t let the devil lie to you and tell you you’re defeated. When you get knocked down don’t stay down for the count, you have to get back up, sometimes it will take all the strength we have. But unfortunately, this is when many of us falter and give in, considering ourselves as failed. Proverbs 3:5 admonish us to “Trust the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” Even though you may be experiencing great hardships, God is allowing this situation to build your character. He’s strengthening your spiritual muscles and teaching you to depend on Him only, not in your flesh.
On the way home from training that day, God was speaking to me. He told me I would never be victorious if I am so concerned about what people think about me. He revealed to me that I had a problem with trying to please people and that I put too much emphasis on what people thought about me. Psalm 118:8 clearly warn us, “it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Also the Lord was building up my faith in Him. I was so used to the safe, the familiar. Everything had to be comfortable, and in order before I made a move. When I started experiencing panic attacks I had to learn how to function outside of my job security, family, and friends. God had to isolate me and bring me to my lowest point in order for me to humble myself and acknowledge that without Him I can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Furthermore, God asked me, “Did you ever believe I could deliver you?” Wooah! That was a wake up call. Actually I hadn’t. In the back, tiny corner of my mind I had succumbed to defeat; that this is how I’m going to have to live the rest of my life. Although I was diligently praying, in my heart I had not really believed that God could free me from this. He had allowed this situation in my life until I made up my mind to believe that He could heal me.
Moreover, when we pray for healing in areas we may be struggling in, God doesn’t just drop deliverance in our laps like, “Here is the patience you asked for!” No, often we will have to go through a trial or test before deliverance comes. But how many of us are willing to go through? I admit, not me! I want it to be over as fast as possible. It hurts to face our shortcomings, fears, and limitations. But in our darkest hour we have to truly believe that God loves us and that He is standing right there with us in the midst of the war. “For He Himself has said ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,’” Hebrews 13:5. If we don’t press in and go through, how can we ever know we can be victorious?
The area in your life where you are being attacked the most is the area where God is going to use you! The devil is doing everything he can to get you to not believe in yourself, break your confidence, and run you down. He knows your ministry is going to be powerful that‘s why he’s viciously attacking you! Beloved, heed Paul’s words to Timothy,“ Fight the good fight of faith…”1 Timothy 6:12. Face Goliath! Don’t give up! When the enemy comes in like a flood, ride on the tides of the word. After an attack it’s ok to give yourself some time to regroup, but then go back into your prayer closet and stand courageously against your foe. Look him squarely in the eye and boldly proclaim as David did, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine [your trial].” (1 Samuel 17:37)
In conclusion, our enemy isn’t our circumstances, but opposing spirits sent from the master deceiver to thwart God’s kingdom. It’s a spiritual battle! Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. We must remember that no matter what weapons and tactics the enemy uses to intimidate us, God is commander in chief. 1 Samuel 17:47 “ ….the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hands.” Amen!