The most ironic thing happened during the six months I spent wrestling with the Lord over the call to become a blog writer. While struggling to accept the ill-fitting title of “writer,” I was simultaneously writing and teaching a twelve-week Bible study.
Yes, you heard right. I was fussing about being called a writer while I was writing! That irony isn’t lost on me.
My passion burned brightly while crafting each lesson. Words flowed. Stepping up to the podium to teach was a delight. Writing, it would seem, was not the problem. Even still, I would point a big finger at myself and say, “You can’t do this blog. You’re not a writer." I’m sure the Lord was getting a big knee-slap out of that.
Writing the lessons ignited something inside of me. For once, I wasn’t teaching someone else’s lesson; I was teaching mine, one being lived out in real time. The moment class was over on Wednesday nights, the Lord would give me the topic for the next lesson. Then, we would begin again.
We walked through the week together in constant dialogue. The Holy Spirit would reveal a nugget to me and I’d run to scribble it down. I read and reread Scripture passages. I scoured commentaries, dictionaries, and cross-references. My notes were highlighted in 5 different shades of neon. And then, like a skillful artisan, I would sit at my computer amid a sea of Post-It’s and scrap paper and ask the Lord to help me weave it seamlessly together. And, He did. I have never done a more satisfying work.
One night was especially impactful. I felt the Spirit’s presence in the classroom as if the door had opened and a WHOOSH of the Holy Spirit had ripped straight through the room. I was crying. My ladies were crying. It was palpable and unlike anything I have ever felt. Nothing in my meticulously crafted notes told me how to respond. So, I didn’t. I simply closed my book and allowed the Spirit to continue to speak to the hearts of my hearers and to mine as well.
What had happened? What had gripped us with such intensity? What had caused the tears?
The answer is Goliath.
The lesson was entitled “How to Defeat Your Philistine,” and it fell amid a series of lessons highlighting the Israelites’ rescue from captivity. As we followed them through the desert, these verses peaked my curiosity:
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. Exodus 13:17-18
What was Philistine country? What was so fearsome about it? What would make two million people abruptly stop their freedom march and turn right back around into the arms of bondage just to avoid it? Well, that’s a lesson for another blog post. Let’s just say they had a history together. That’s typically how it goes with our giants…there’s always history.
Israel was not able to take the shortcut and pass through enemy land that day because they were not ready. Their hands and hearts, worn down by trowels, were not yet ready to grip swords. In His sovereign protection, the Lord kept the two nations apart for the time being so that His children could learn how to trust in Him during their desert years.
A few hundred years later when David and Goliath, the most notorious Philistine to have ever lived, take the stage in 1 Samuel 17, God is saying, “It’s time. It’s time to face your Philistine.” However, the Israelite army still couldn’t do it. Despite coming out strong every morning, they ran straight back to their tents at the first crack of his booming voice. Goliath just has that effect.
We know how the rest of the story goes. Little shepherd boy David saves the day with his sling and stone. He charges out into the valley proclaiming that victory belongs to the Lord. He whirls his sling and with deadly precision sets the stone assail. Boom! Goliath falls. The crowd goes wild. The enemy army flees. Israel wins!
It is a triumphant story. In fact, it’s probably one of the best in Bible.
So, back to my class. Why the sadness in the room that night? Why the tears? The answer, again, is Goliath. Despite being knocked dead to the ground, the mention of his very name pained us. But why?
The name Goliath means exposer. Yes, I know…I thought it meant “giant,” too. But, that’s not so. It means exposer: to expose, to uncover, to reveal. This braggadocio in the valley with his intimidating scowl, his menacing roar, and his vile taunts uncovered a well-concealed truth tucked inside the hearts of the cowering Israelites on the hillside…They did not trust in the Lord their God.
It was on this same hillside where they wasted forty precious days listening to Goliath’s roars. For forty days they were tested and for forty days they failed.
David did in forty seconds what the entire Israelite army couldn’t do in forty days. How?
He trusted God.
Plain and simple.
The Goliath who exposed a lack of faith in every man in the Israelite army also exposed an unwavering faith in one of their own shepherd boys.
Our lesson that night taught me one of the most important lessons I have ever learned - The fight against our giant exposes either a believing or an unbelieving spirit within us. When facing our giant, we either trust God or we don’t.
Tired of listening to my own giant and cowering in my tent, I decided it was time to fight. But, instead of fighting with my fists, I fought with my pen. Exposing every lie that I had been believing, I sat down and journaled my jumbled-up thoughts about this blog calling. Guided by a book called Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf, I decided to make a thought map. I started with the main thought that had been resounding in my mind. From there, I spun off a series of other thoughts resulting from the original one.
Main Thought: I’m not a writer.
Thought #1: Nobody will read it.
Thought #2: I don’t know where to start.
Thought #3: I don't know what I'm supposed to write about.
Thought #4: I'm too long-winded. I'll lose readers.
Thought #5: I have very little experience and no writing background.
Thought #6: I'm scared of being vulnerable and sharing my life.
Thought #7: I’m so dependent on the Holy Spirit to guide my writing. What if He doesn’t lead?
Do you see it?
This isn’t about whether or not I’m a writer. This is a trust issue.
Much like the Israelite army feared that the Lord would not save them against Goliath, I feared that the Lord would fail me, too.
"Oh Lord!" I cried out. "I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!" Mark 9:24
The fact that you are reading a blog post from me right now is proof that GIANTS DO FALL! Goliath immobilized me for a good while and exposed unbelief in me. But, through the confidence I found in studying David, I took those thoughts captive and made them obedient to the knowledge of Christ 2 Corinthians 10:5. Then, I left my tent and selected my stones.
What is He calling you to do today that finds you in a place of fear rather than a place of faith? Are you among those standing on the hillside giving ear to the enemy who accuses you and cuts down your God? Or, do you have a faith that takes you off the hillside and across the valley?
Friend, it's time to take on your Philistine. It’s time to lock eyes with the menacing giant in your life that exposes a fear in your spirit, a distrust in your God, or an anxiousness in your mind. The only power that Goliath has over you is the power you give him.
Goliath keeps us on the hillside.
Faith moves us forward into the valley.
It’s in the valley where the battle occurs, where the enemy is silenced, where Goliath falls, and where we triumph. Don’t be afraid to go down there! Remember, you are not alone. You have something that your giant will never have…a faithful God. The battle is the Lord’s and He himself goes before you and will be with you. Deuteronomy 31:8
First, I am a child of God. And, like a child, I am always learning and growing. The more I know Him, the more I love Him. Second, I am a wife to a good man. Missions is his thing while teaching women to love God’s Word is mine. Third, I am a mama to three plus a sweet cockapoo who thinks he’s #4. My children are my ongoing sanctification. Fourth, I am a passionate advocate of all things healthy & natural, an even 50/50 split of introvert/extrovert, and a dreamer/designer. Old friends call me Becky, newer ones call me Rebecca, and the most intimate ones call me Beck. You can just call me friend.