Is there anyone who has not heard how diminutive David killed humongous giant Goliath? It is a story that has been passed down for thousands of years and serves to prove that with God anything is possible. But have you heard of the giant David did not kill?
Years later, still fighting the Philistines, David was not a young buck any longer. He got tired easier, as we all do in the aging process. And he got discouraged more easily. Remember: he lived a roller coaster life that had consequences! When your own son is trying to kill you, life is not serene!
Let’s see how the story is told in 2 Samuel 21:15-17:
“15 Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted.
16 And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels [7.5 lbs] and who was armed with a new sword , said he would kill David.
17 But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, saying, “Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished.”
There are numerous ways to be exhausted. Was David physically exhausted? Was he mentally exhausted? The Bible is not specific. But having been exhausted myself, I know there were times when I lost my hope, or my joy, and my faith was lacking. In short, I was exhausted every way I could be. I was discouraged!
It’s improbable we can slay giants while we are discouraged. Sometimes it’s all we can do to hold on! In David’s case, God provided a young man named Abishai who was as fiery as David used to be. Abishai killed the giant David was unable to kill. But how embarrassing for David’s men to tell him, in essence, “You can’t cut it anymore, King David. We’ll do the fighting from now on.”
Those of us who read the Psalms know how much discouragement and dysfunction David had in his life. He questioned the sovereignty of God over and over. He even committed adultery and arranged the husband’s death! So why is he called A man after God’s heart? Because eventually David always returned to His Source – His God – in repentance. Remember his prayer when he was repenting from his adultery/murder?
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
When I am discouraged, eventually I come back to when I first believed in Christ – that place when I was filled with God’s joy. I come back to basics. I have giants, just like every other Christian, and the only giant-killer I know is Jesus Christ. He said, “It is finished,” and I know what He meant by that. He’s done all the work, now I must manage myself to be in line for His blessing.
Taking care of my spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health is my responsibility. And if I do not act responsibly, I will be vulnerable to the Giant of Discouragement. I have come to believe discouragement is one of most powerful weapons that will ever be formed against me. Just look at David! Once the famous giant-killer, now he was too weak to conquer this giant.
Lord, thank you for the lesson today. I needed it!
(c) 2009 Your Daughter, April
Author of God’s Battered Child: Journey From Abuse to Leader, April Lorier offers her Christian view on domestic abuse, issues of society and of women, politics, divorce recovery, books, and modern-day “Christianity.” The daughter of a pastor, her perspective is sometimes humorous, sometimes thought-provoking, but always a helpful faith-based resource for seekers of emotional and spiritual growth.