Monday, September 26, 2022

Facing Heights and Focusing on Giants

Suggested Reading: 1 Samuel 17:32-47

In the movies, it is quite common to see people who fear heights put into positions where they must face those fears. Inevitably, they are scooting across the ledge outside of a 40-story building, or climbing the rope on the side of the Cliffs of Insanity, or talking someone out of jumping as they stare down a 300-foot drop. Putting people with a fear of heights into a position where they must confront that fear is more entertaining than someone who is completely confident with heights. We've seen those scenes so many times that we know the advice someone is going to give them: "Don't look down!" Why that advice? Because once they start looking down at the height they fear, the person in question is much more likely to fixate on the height, to focus on the height, rather than actually deal with it.

In 1 Samuel 17, Goliath had been coming out each day for forty days to taunt the Israelite army when David finally appeared on the scene. Goliath sauntered out and bellowed his challenge and David watched in dismay as his fellow Israelites literally ran for the hills and hid in their tents. David listened to the taunts and the insults Goliath hurled at his countrymen and their God, and he choose to respond.  Rejecting the king's armor for the weapons he was accustomed to using, David went out and faced the giant alone.

But though David was facing the giant, David seems to be the only one who was not focused on the giant. Each day when Goliath appeared, the mighty warriors of Israel  whose God had helped them conquer the land and had drowned Pharaoh's chariots in the Red Sea  saw only a nine foot giant and ran for the hills. Even King Saul who had defeated the Philistines on several occasions hid in his tent, frightened by Goliath's enormous size. But David, walking onto the field of battle and standing in the giant's shadow, began trash talking.

"You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel" (1 Samuel 17:43-46, NIV).

Instead of focusing on the problem  the giant  David focused on the One capable of solving that problem. But how often do we get tripped up because we can't take our eyes off of the problem long enough to look toward God? When we focus on the problem, we tend to paralyze ourselves with doubts, fears, and worries. But when we keep our focus on God, on the One capable of solving any problem, no problem seems all that difficult.

Where is your focus today? Are you focused on the giant? Redirect your gaze. Focusing on God always changes the equation. 

Only Casting Out the Annoying Demons

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