“When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the desert? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”
“Now what have I done?” said David. “Can’t I even speak?” He then turned away to someone else and brought up the same matter, and the men answered him as before. What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him.
David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a boy, and he has been a fighting man from his youth. But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
When a man or woman feels the call of God stirring and burning in his or her heart, there are always people who have a special anointing for dousing the flames! Satan used David’s brother in an attempt to discourage and belittle him, and destroy his confidence. He referred to the ‘few’ sheep David had charge of, and called him conceited and wicked. David had been brought there by God to fulfill a divine purpose, but Eliab accused him of just looking for fun! Many others may have been squashed sufficiently to lose sight of the ultimate purpose they had been brought for, but not David; he had lived with his brothers all his life, and knew them well. He was accustomed to their constant discouragement, so he did not take it to heart. He turned away!
David got to meet the king himself, when Saul heard about David’s interest in Goliath and sent for him. Saul was probably taken aback when this fresh faced youth calmly assured him that he would take care of the giant, and told Saul not to worry about it any more! He spoke not from any confidence in his own abilities, but in the power of the anointing upon his life, and through his faith in God. However, Saul only saw the young boy, and how much smaller he was than Goliath. Saul said “you are only a boy”! Friends, there is always someone around who is quick to tell us that we are only small, inexperienced, unqualified, and cannot possibly do the job God is stirring our hearts to do. But we trust not in our own strength. Philippians 4:13 tells us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness, because God says “My grace is sufficient for you”! When He calls us to a mission or ministry, He will perfect every detail, and equip us to do what has to be done. 1 Corinthians 1 verses 27-31 say “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” He does not call any of us because we are ‘smart’ or ‘qualified’; He calls those who are willing to obey, and who trust Him to do what He has promised; those who will boast not in themselves, but in the Lord! David was not discouraged!
Discouragement may often come from the source you least expect – the person you look up to as a leader or mentor, or some other person in authority over your life. Just when you may be trying to build your faith and step out of the boat to walk on water, someone may tell you how crazy you are to do it, or how likely you are to sink! Saul said to David “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him”. This is as good as saying “You will never do it”! Words are powerful and can affect our lives. (Proverbs 18:21 tells us that life and death are in the power of the tongue). Just as positive words spoken by an authority figure can be a blessing, negative and discouraging words can have the opposite effect. Words like these can potentially be a curse, because they are so strongly spoken, and place a limitation and a boundary upon the life of a person. Too many people have been hemmed in all their lives by the words of parents, teachers or spouses who kept telling them that they would never succeed or amount to anything! However, the words Saul spoke would have been effective only if David had believed them and received them into his heart. They could not limit David, because he knew without a doubt that this fight was not about him – it was about the omnipotent Lord he served!
Be like David and allow no room for discouragement. His strength was in God! He was encouraged not by those around him, but by the fact that God had given him a commission, and God would give him the equipping. Young as he was, he knew in his heart that God always completes what He begins! He built his faith by focusing on the times he had needed supernatural strength to fight the lion and the bear, and received it from the Lord. He had the right focus – upward!
Reading David’s description of how he dealt with the lion and the bear, it is clear to see that nothing made him afraid! He actually “went after” the thief who attacked his sheep, and not only did he rescue the animal from the marauder’s mouth, but he made sure that thief would never put its paws on his sheep again, ever.
David’s trust and hope were fixed not on his own finite strength and ability, but on the omnipotent power of God! He knew that he and God were a majority. He knew that if he faced Goliath in the might of Yahweh there was no way he could fail! As far as David was concerned, Goliath had tormented the people of Israel too many times. He said to Saul “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.” In his heart, the enemy was already destroyed because he came against Jehovah; this is faith – to see what you believe for!
Friend, there is so much we can learn from David, but I would like to leave you with a few thoughts for the week:
* Know that discouragement will come from sources you least expect, and do not be shaken. Be like David; refuse to receive those negative words; turn away; resist the enemy’s attempts to engage you in a pointless battle of words. He simply wants to squash you and stop you, as you march towards your destiny and your calling.
* Keep your focus on Jesus and do not be afraid, however fierce the fight may seem to be, or however large the enemy.
* Know that if you face the enemy as ‘you’, there is no way you can win; but as you go forward trusting in the infinite power of God, there is no way that you can lose!
* Friend, you belong to Jesus, and the enemy has mocked and defied you too many times; it is time to go after him and take back what was stolen. It is time to stop him in his tracks forever. The blood of Jesus covers you. The power of God is available to you!
May you keep your eyes on Jesus, and your heart set on His Word. May you shake off every discouraging spirit and rise up to walk into your divine calling. God has great plans for you!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 25 October 2010