I read about a mouse who was terrified of cats until a magician turned it into a cat. That gave the mouse-turned-cat great courage until it was chased by a dog. The magician then turned it into a dog, and the mouse-turned-cat-turned-dog was again filled with courage. But the courage only lasted until the creature was chased by a lion. When it returned to the magician in the expectation of being turned into a lion, the magician said, “Even if I gave you the body of a lion, you would still have the heart of a mouse” and turned it back into a mouse.
The Bible says that Saul stood a head taller than anyone else in Israel (1 Samuel 9:2). By all rights, he should have been the one to accept the Philistine giant Goliath’s offer to engage in a one-on-one showdown with the outcome of the battle between Israel and Philistia at stake. Why, then, didn’t the battle between Israel’s tallest and Philistia’s tallest happen? It didn’t happen because Saul didn’t have the courage for it. As 1 Samuel 17:10-11 says:
And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid. (N.K.J.V.)
By contrast to Saul’s physical size, David was just a youth (1 Samuel 17:33,42) who wasn’t even fully grown yet. What he had, though, that Saul lacked was the heart of a lion. Not only did David volunteer to face Goliath (1 Samuel 17:26-37), he even trash talked the giant (1 Samuel 17:41-47), and ran out to him (1 Samuel 17:48).
We know how that encounter ended, don’t we? But let’s not focus upon that outcome. Let’s focus, instead, upon the courage it took to even go out there and face a man almost ten feet tall. How could a teenage boy have such courage? The answer is: David got it from the Lord. Consider a couple of statements from David (both from the N.K.J.V.):
- Moreover David said, “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.” (1 Samuel 17:37)
- Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, who you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand…”” (1 Samuel 17:45-46
These words show that God was the source of David’s great inner courage. And have you heard that God wants to provide you with that same type of courage? No matter what giant you are facing, God can give you the heart of a lion to face it.
Of course, David lived in the days of the Old Testament, a time before Jesus (God the Son) left heaven and came down to the earth to die as the substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. That simply means, though, that you and I have even more revelation of God to work with than David had. You see, David’s “Lord of Hosts” is Jesus, a fact He will prove one day when He returns to the earth and decisively wins the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:1-21) that will end the seven-year tribulation period that is prophesied to come upon this world.
So, just as Jesus gave David courage in the Old Testament era, He can give you courage in this New Testament era if you will only place saving belief in Him and let Him be your “shepherd” (another one of David’s depictions of the Lord: Psalm 23:1-6; John 10:1-30). Time and time again in the pages of the New Testament we find Jesus saying to His followers, “Fear not” and “Don’t be afraid.” On the one hand, He wouldn’t have had to keep saying that if people weren’t naturally prone to fear. But on the other hand, He wouldn’t have kept saying it if He didn’t mean to supply His followers with the courage to overcome their fear. Keep this in mind, Christian, as you face your Goliath, and go out to meet that giant not in your own strength but in the strength of your Savior. Be like David, do your fighting in the name of the Lord and let the Lord of Hosts make you victorious.