The Fear Factor

Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 1 Samuel 17:4

Fear cannot be permitted to occupy our hearts. If it does, the confidence of God cannot have free reign to embolden and encourage us. There will always be that looming threat in the background, or in the forefront, that paralyzes us. Every moment spent in fear’s grip distracts us from fulfilling God’s calling for our lives.

Worse, we must not allow fear to set up camp, as the Israelites did with the Philistines. On ground they had already conquered in the days of Joshua, between Socoh, belonging to Judah, and Azekah, in a place called Ephes-dammim, the Philistines encamped. Consequently, day after day, the prospect of being overrun in the valley of Elah loomed larger.

For forty days the Israelites dressed themselves in battle array and stood on the opposing mountain to face off with their enemy. They looked imposing, but they and their king were quaking in their collective boots. The Philistines thought they had the upper hand in a nine-foot plus giant from Gath, whose armor alone weighed 125 pounds. Why fight an army when one man can efficiently drop a nation to its knees with a proposed “contest of champions?” From King Saul on down, no one was willing or able to bravely step forth to take him on.

As the days went on, fear became incapacitating, and the nemesis grew even more loathsome. Imagine this daily taunt on cue, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.” 1 Samuel 17:10 The word “defy” is in no way descriptive enough. Better to say, “I defy, annoy, taunt, treat with contempt, ridicule, and reproach” the ranks of Israel.

As we will see, this bullying was not only an affront to king and country, but to God himself. David saw it that way. Fear unabated causes us to lose sight of our source of continuing strength and courage, our faith. To battle the Philistines, the Israelites had to conquer its fear first.

Particularly in Ephesians 6:13, we are exhorted to stand firm, having done everything, i.e. replacing our fear with faith and hoisting on the armor of God, that we might stand firm against all manifestations of evil in the shoes of our Champion.

If we understand that battles are fought, even against giants, by the Lord, not us, with one smooth stone, we realize it is the fear itself that is our enemy. Uproot it and the battle is ours. It is also interesting to note that the eventual champion (David) had been filled with the Holy Spirit upon his anointing by Samuel (1 Samuel 16:13). Last I checked, that same Spirit resides in our hearts.

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. I defy more categorization than that. Been studying the Word for 40 years and counting.
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