“The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
-1 Samuel 17:37 (NIV)
In 1 Samuel 17, we are told of Israel’s encounter with Goliath, the great warrior of the Philistines. He challenged the Israelites to a single combat to decide the battle. The Israelites ran in fear from this warrior who stood over 9 feet tall and was strong as an ox. Shaquille O’Neal, who stands over 7 feet tall, would have been about 18 inches shorter than Goliath. But that gives us an illustration of the massive size of this man. Little David, though, is undeterred and proclaims that his God will deliver the Philistine giant into his hands.
Where did David get such confidence?
First, his HOPE was in the Lord. Hope is not simply a personal desire, or wishful thinking, as many define it today. As one commentator stated, “Real hope is a condition of the Christian’s heart built on the joy and peace that comes from believing the Word of God — confidence that God is real and that what He has in store for us is better than all we can ask or imagine.”
David also had a history with God. God had delivered the lion and the bear to him, so David could trust God. Because of his history, David had tremendous optimism that God would deliver Goliath. His optimism was built upon the eternal promise from the Promise-Keeper, which gave David an eager expectation for the great things God would do.
As a coach, I believe my most important role is to instill hope in my team — hope that we can achieve our goals and hope that we can overcome our obstacles. We use the David/Goliath story any time we know the odds are stacked against our team. It gives them a sense that “if it has happened before, maybe today it will happen again.” As Christians, though, we rely on more than just wishful thinking. As Romans 5:5 says, “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
Do you live your life in confidence? Are you optimistic about your future because of what God has done in your past? Do you look forward with an eager expectation to your future with Him? As Christians, we should. Only then can we truly live life with the joy that Christ said will make us complete in Him.
1. What is your history with God?
2. How has God shown His power in your life?
3. How can your hope in God directly affect your life on a daily basis?
1 Samuel 17:32-50
Leo Sayles is the head women’s volleyball coach at Bryan College and a longtime FCA volunteer.