S172P3 – Lost opportunities: seeing the real prize

1Sam. 17:23‭-‬25

Then as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, coming up from the armies of the Philistines; and he spoke according to the same words.  So David heard them.  And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid.  So the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up?  Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel.”

They say that fortune favors the brave, and that was quite literal in this instance.  There was a great beast that had been terrorizing the region for generations, and many children found it hard to sleep at night after hearing tales of its destruction.  Each year, the men from the villages would meet in hopes that a champion would volunteer to take down the creature.  They would pool their resources to determine the prize for the conqueror, but no man ever volunteered.  No matter how great the reward, none thought it worth risking almost certain death for those riches.  It did not occur to them that there were riches beyond gold to consider as well.

The men of Israel were faced with a great challenge.  A literal giant stood before them, and no single man thought that he could take him on successfully.  Even with an incredible prize dangled before their noses, they would not bite.  The fear was too overwhelming and the risk too great.  What David considered, and what these other men failed to realize, was that this challenge was not about pride at being the winner or the recipient of such great spoils.  The challenge to take on Goliath was all about God.  No one thought that the Lord or his people were worth the risk.  No one thought that the reputation of Israel was worth the risk.  They had such a narrow view of the situation that they missed out on an incredible opportunity that only the least of them would dare grab.

David stepped into his fight with Goliath not as a man stepping into danger but as one stepping into privilege.  It was an honor for him to take on this challenge in defense of his Lord and his people.  This was something he actually had to fight to get to do.  There was a battle before the battle.  He convinced the king first with words and then with action.  The rest of his story shows the blessing and favor that resulted from taking that risk.  This is what happens when we look beyond ourselves and see how vast the influence of our actions can be.  Father, give us the heart of David to see the battle as a blessing and a chance to glorify your name.