David vs. ….Eliab?
1 Samuel 17: 1-29
Chances are, if you’ve been in church or Sunday school for any length of time, you’ve heard the story of David and Goliath. I’ve read the story many times. I’ll admit I like the stories where the little guy trusts in the power of God and wins a great victory. I love rooting for the underdog.
But, in all my years of reading this story, I missed some significant details in the events leading up the David vs. Goliath event.
It begins when the Israelites “drew up in battle array against the Philistines” (17:2). They looked like they were going to fight. But, then the challenge became tougher than they expected (17:3-10). Apparently nobody thought they were signing up to take on a giant alone. The end result was that they never engaged in battle at all (17:11).
Nobody actually ran away. The still looked all fancy and brave in their armor up on that mountain facing the enemy. But, they were all quaking in their boots, or sandals, whatever the case may be.
I think we can all be guilty of this. We have our Sunday services, our bible studies and our ministry meetings. We’re all dressed up in our spiritual armor. Let’s not let is be said of us “You can dress ‘em up, but you can’t take ‘em out.” Let’s go out and engage the battle, knowing that whatever challenges arise, none of it is a surprise to God and he owns the battle.
Now enters David, the shepherd boy. David knew the power of his God and he let it be known where he stood on the matter (17:26). He was immediately met with criticism from his own brother, Eliab (17:28). Those who are afraid to engage the battle (many of which know it’s their job to fight) will be critical of those who have the courage to fight. They will attack the motives of those who stand up, most likely to draw attention away from their own inaction.
If you don’t like the way others stand on a biblical concept, analyze your motives. Is it because the problem lies with them? Or is the problem that their action brings conviction to your life and you don’t want to change? Many of us want to be like David confronting Goliath. But first, we must confront Eliab and, many times, Eliab is in our own heart.