I once had an opportunity to produce a Spanish language TV show to air on a major TV station in Los Angeles. Producing the show would be a lot of work, cost a lot of money that I didn’t have, and was fraught with risk if it didn’t succeed.
The visionary in me saw it as a great opportunity, but to make it come to life I would have to overcome a number of obstacles. I bet the same thing has happened in your life; a great opportunity came your way, but obstacles threatened to keep you from achieving your vision.
One of my favorite Bible stories is that of David & Goliath as recorded in 1 Samuel 17. In it, we see a great lesson in what to do when opportunities are blocked by obstacles.
As our story unfolds, David’s father Jesse, asks David to deliver some food supplies to David’s brothers who are serving in Saul’s army. David is in Bethlehem and the army is in the Valley of Elah preparing to fight the Philistines. It is a distance of over 80 miles through mountainous terrain. David packs up the supplies and sets off, arriving in Elah just as the army was going out to take up their positions for battle.
Obstacle #1: Fear
As he did every morning, Goliath challenged the Israelites to battle and the Israelites retreated in fear. David was surrounded by experienced warriors, all of whom were afraid of facing Goliath.
Obstacle #2: Intimidation
Goliath was reported to be some 9 feet tall. His physical presence was intimidating. He also taunted the Israelites day after day daring them to send someone out to fight him.
Obstacle #3: Anger
David’s brothers responded to him angrily. They ridiculed him and said that he was conceited and wicked, just there to watch the real “professionals.”
Obstacle #4: Rejection
Saul initially rejected David, saying that he could not fight Goliath because he was only a boy (he was 15-17 years old), and Goliath had been trained as a warrior from his youth.
Obstacle #5: Do it my way
Saul finally accepted David, but told David to use Saul’s tunic, armor, helmet, and sword.
David’s response to these obstacles is a great lesson for us today.
Response #1: Faith
David saw the battle as not between the Israelites and the Philistines, but between God and the Philistines (v. 26).
Response #2: Conviction
David reassured Saul that he could win the battle (v. 32), and explained how he had been tested caring for his father’s flocks (vv. 34-37).
Response #3: Ignore naysayers
David ignored his brothers when they ridiculed him (v. 28), and Saul who said he was too young and ill-prepared (v. 33).
Response #4: True to Himself
David refused to do it Saul’s way with his armor and sword. He left Saul’s armor and sword behind preferring instead to use the weapons he was most familiar with to go into battle (vv. 38-39).
Response #5: Courageous
David approached Goliath with his sling and five stones while Goliath ridiculed him and God. David bravely confronted Goliath and said he came in the name of the Lord Almighty who Goliath had defiled (vv. 45-46).
Response #6: Praise God
Just before he hurled that fateful stone into Goliath’s forehead, David gave praise to God (vv. 46-47).
Amidst those flocks of sheep, David had learned to think independently, to use his resources well, and to defend himself and his sheep. God had used that time to prepare David for this very opportunity serve God by facing Goliath.
Often God will use circumstances in our lives to prepare us for something He knows will come along in our future. What is important for us is to respond to those opportunities in faith, with conviction and courage, ignoring the naysayers, remaining true to ourselves, and importantly, praising God for the opportunity to serve Him.
Join the Conversation
As always questions and comments are welcome. How have you responded to the obstacles in your life? Was it like Saul’s army counting on your own power, or like David, counting on God’s power?
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Category: Personal Development | Courage/Risk-Taking