The sun rises over the mountains, bathing the camp in a golden glow. The army has pitched their tents on a ridge in the foothills. Below them, a creek bed winds through the valley. For part of the year, it is overflowing. But today, there is not a trickle of water to be seen.
The camp should be stirring with men. But instead, it appears deserted. The soldiers are nervously hiding in their tents, the enemy’s taunts striking fear deep in the core of their being.
Across the valley, on the opposing ridge, the Philistines are camped at Ephes-dammin—“boundary of blood” or “blood has ceased”. Other battles have been fought here. Other lives lost.
The camp of the enemy is anything but quiet. Men move around, loudly talking and laughing with the ease of those who know that the victory is theirs. They have some of the best metal-smiths in the world at their disposal, and it shows. And they have a not-so-secret weapon—a man named Goliath.
Goliath is big. Over nine feet tall. He is virtually indestructible. His armour is thick and heavy, and his sword can easily pierce through even the strongest metal breastplate, let alone the flimsy armour of the Israelites. He is a formidable opponent.
But the Israelites have an even bigger not-so-secret weapon—God. And yet, they cower. Why?
Usually, when we read the story of David and Goliath, we focus on the part where David picks up those stones and kills Goliath. Today, when I read it, however, it was this first portion that caught my attention. We’ve all experienced fear. We all know how paralyzing it can be. So I read this story with one question in mind: What causes fear and how do we overcome it?