The Giant of Fear - 1 Samuel 17 - Skip Heitzig
A special thanks to our worship group. They did such a good job. That was so inspiring and faith-building.
Did you bring one of these? Yeah, hold it up. Let's see them. Let's see those babies. Oh, come on, that's beautiful.
OK, let's turn in our Bibles to 1 Samuel, 1 Samuel, chapter 17. It's in your Old Testament. If you're not quite sure where that is, somebody around you will help you, I'm sure. 1 Samuel, chapter 17.
The Bible says, God has not given us the Spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind. I want to talk to you today about that. I suppose that everybody has a certain amount of what they would call caution, healthy fear. It keeps us alive.
I happen to have a fear of oncoming traffic, so I won't be walking out in that anytime soon. Some people have a fear of heights. That, to a certain degree, can be good for obvious reasons because gravity still works.
But fears can become irrational. They can paralyze us. They can cause us to think and act in a frantic kind of a way. And I suppose that whatever fears that people have, that they have been added to this past year, year and a half, by a number of things.
So now there's a fear of a virus. There's a fear of economic free-fall. There's fear now of terrorism resurfacing because of the events of the last couple of weeks.
Fear starts when we're young. Kids have all sorts of irrational fears from fear of the dark, to fear of monsters under their bed. They might be fearful of crocodiles, even if they live in Rio Rancho. You know, it doesn't make sense, but-- but kids have those fears. We learn them, and we carry them.
One little boy, 12 years old, seventh grader named Quentin, said, my biggest fear is a test. He goes, "I'm afraid of it because it's like you know the material. But when it's in front of you, your brain shuts off."
An 8-year-old girl named Cheyenne said, "My greatest fear is my future. Now that I'm in third grade, I'm afraid my future will start happening. Soon I'll start getting scholarships and free enrollments in college. It's just that life is rolling by way too fast."
Besides fears, there are what mental health experts call phobias, and they call that a type of anxiety disorder. And according to the best literature, 30% of all Americans have a phobia. The number one-- I found this very interesting-- the number one phobia of the American public is called trypanophobia. It's the fear of needles.
And I think that's interesting, especially right now, right? They're trying to roll out vaccines. They should just keep in mind, 30% of people are dealing with phobias. And the number-one phobia people have is they don't like needles.
There are others. There's-- second on the list is called-- I'm going to try to work this out-- pteromerhanophobia, which is the fear of flying. Then claustrophobia, the fear of enclosed spaces; entomophobia, the fear of insects; ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes-- my son and wife do not have that phobia-- cynophobia, the fear of dogs; astraphobia, the fear of storms. There is even something called phobophobia.
The fear of fear.
It is the fear of fear. It's the-- it's the fear of being afraid. I don't want to laugh these off or marginalize it if you have one of these phobias.
It comes at a cost. It comes at a physiological response, typically raised heart rate, shortness of breath, sweating, adrenaline rush. All those things are real things that happen in the body.
We've been looking at Hunting Giants. That's the name of our series. We've sort of looked at giants analogously, metaphorically. But today we consider a real giant named Goliath.
You know the story. You know it so well and this chapter is so long, I'm only going to give you elements of it because I believe you know it that well. Everybody does who has been in church for any length of time.
It is the most famous battle in the Old Testament. It's not between two armies. It's between two individuals. And the people of Israel in this battle-- it has told us twice-- are fearful.
It says they were greatly afraid. Then they're tremendously afraid. And then-- you know the story-- in walks this kid, a teenage kid. David was no more than a young teenager when this happened.
And he comes in almost like he's whistling, and he's, like, what, a giant? So what? And it's that kind of unusual faith in the midst of fear that makes the story so noteworthy. Did you know that 63 times the Bible tells us "fear not," "fear not" or "do not be afraid," 63 times if you count them. If you look at all the derivations of that command, over 300 times we are told not to be controlled by or gripped by fear.
I was reading the other day an article in the Huffington Post that said 85% of all the things we are afraid of never happen. 85% never happen. One man said, my life has been filled with terrible misfortune, most of which never happened. Of the 15% that happens, we discover we can handle it better than we thought we could. That it's not that bad, or there are great lessons to be learned by it.
What I want to do in looking at this chapter is give you four truths about fear, four truths about fear. First of all, fear is intimidating. Now I'm just going to kind of ease you into the story and pick out a few verses.
So on one side of a valley-- I want to set the scene for you in your mind-- on one side of a valley, and the valley is about a mile wide. You can visit it today, the Valley of Elah. On one side is a hill, and the other side is a hill. The army of Israel was on one hill. The army of the Philistines was on the other hill.
They would go down the hills into the valley and choose each other off, until one day a huge guy comes walking onto the scene. The champion, he is called in verse four, a champion from Gath, a Philistine city. His name is Goliath. And chapter 17, verse 4, tells us how high he was, how tall he was.
It says six cubits and a span. Now six cubits and a span is anywhere from 8 and 1/2 feet to 9 and 1/2 feet tall, the envy of every NBA team around. The original Bigfoot was Goliath.
And then-- and here's where we're going to jump into our reading-- verse 8 says, "he stood and he cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, 'Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he's able to fight with me and kill me, then we'll be your servants.
But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you're going to be our servants and serve us.' And the Philistine said, 'I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.' And when Saul and all of Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and"-- here it is-- "greatly afraid," "greatly afraid."
Who wouldn't be looking up at a big old 8 and 1/2 to 9 and 1/2 foot beast? Now some people have problems with this story. They go, oh, come on. You don't really believe that literally, like that actually happened. That's like a myth.
People don't grow that tall. Well, you need to do your history if you think that way. Because back in 1918 in Alton, Illinois, a baby was born named Robert Wadlow. And when he was born, he was eight pounds, five ounces, a little on the big side but not out of normal range.
By the time Robert Wadlow was 13 years old, he was 7 feet, 8 inches. That's a tall 13-year-old, wouldn't you say? He had a certain condition that rendered him that tall. When he was fully grown, he was 8 foot, 11 inches, roughly this size, Goliath's size.
When he died, it took 12 men to carry his casket. The casket was 10 feet, 9 inches. So it happens, even in our modern times, so let's just kind of push that it's a myth-- push that aside.
But to be fair, let me also tell you that there are some translations of the Old Testament that give it a different rendering of height. So if you were to look at the Masoretic text of the Old Testament, if you were to look at the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, if you ever look at the Dead Sea Scrolls or you were to look at the writings of Flavius Josephus, they don't say he's six cubits and a span. They say he's four cubits and a span, which would make him-- if that's the accurate translation-- would make him 6 foot 9".
Now I had a brother that was 6 foot 8". I'm 6' 5". That would make Goliath 6 foot 9". You go, come on, that didn't sound very dramatic. That ruins my whole Sunday School concept.
And that's-- I mean, you'd get a lot of guys in Israel who would fight that guy. No, you wouldn't, especially when you realize that at 1,000 BC-- that's when this takes place-- in 1,000 BC, the average height of the Israeli male was 5 foot 3 inches. So picture in your mind LeBron James. He's 6 foot 9", fully clothed with a coat of mail for a battle, next to Danny Devito.
[LAUGHTER] Right? You've got the picture? You'll never unsee that. So this guy, however tall he was, comes with a coat of mail that is 125 pounds. The head of his spear, we are told is-- and converting it-- 15 pounds. That's the head of his spear, so it's like a sledgehammer with a point.
He comes into the valley, and he has a whole different idea of how to do a battle. He goes, you know, let's not do army to army. Let's do man to man, mano a mano. Let's just do hand-to-hand combat, one on one, winner takes all.
If I win, you're all of our servants. If you win, one guy, one man, we'll be your slaves. Now there was one man in Israel who was taller than everybody else. What was his name?
King Saul, King Saul, we are told was head and shoulders above everyone. He should have been the guy, but he is not the guy. He has got his tail between his legs, and he is hiding somewhere. He is not up for this battle.
By the way, just a thought, maybe that's how nations should do battles. Maybe we should-- leaders are so quick to commit young men and women to the battlefield. Maybe-- maybe these nations who don't get along, the leaders should just fight each other.
Now I'm not recommending that during the current leadership that that happen. We would be in big trouble. But it's a thought.
Now what they saw that day overwhelmed them. It intimidated them. Goliath had everything you would need to intimidate people.
I read an article in Psychology Today. It was an article about a man by the name of Bill Stratton. They used him as an example. Bill Stratton is a poet.
He teaches writing. Now how intimidating does that sound? I'm a poet, not very intimidating.
But Bill Stratton is also 6 feet, 5 inches tall, very broad shouldered, a deep powerful voice, and a pretty large beard. So here's the story in Psychology Today. He was like running through a park one day, noticed a couple, an elderly couple who looked like they needed help. They needed first aid.
So he goes over to them to help them, and he said, I could see the fear in their eyes as I approached. I tried to stand at a distance, put my hands in my pockets. But, you know, here's a guy, 6 foot, 5", broad shouldered. Can I help you? No!
So he went on to find somebody less intimidating looking than him to go help them. And the article in Psychology Today simply said that people who are tall or loud or smart or outgoing, type A personalities, often bring intimidation with them, causing others to be afraid. Now David will come on the scene, and he will not be intimidated. He will see the same thing they see, but he is not going to have the level of fear or intimidation that they have, and here's one of the reasons why.
You remember when Samuel came to the house of Jesse-- this is the chapter right before; I know you know this as well-- and Samuel is there to find the next king. He says-- God said, go to the house of Jesse. You're going to find a king.
So Samuel has all of Jesse's sons line up. David is the last. He's out in the field. He finally comes in.
The first guy that's standing before Samuel is the oldest boy named Eliab. He's tall. He's good-looking. Samuel thinks this is the guy.
He's got a horn of oil. He's about to pour it on Eliab, and God stops him and says, stop. I've rejected him. This is not the king.
And then God explains for God does not see as man sees. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart. God looks at the heart. Man looks at the outward appearance. God looks at the heart.
Now there's a lot of truth in that statement. Man does look at the outward appearance. We do look at people, and we size them up. We are impressed or not impressed.
And when we're around them and we meet them, if they outthink us or outsmart us or outdress us or whatever it might be, we might feel a little fearful and intimidated. David comes on the scene, sees what they see, but he doesn't have the same reaction they have. And here's why.
What we see is often a matter of how we see. What we see is often a matter of how we see. You can have two people see the same thing exactly and have two different responses.
Ever been in a movie theater at a 3D movie? Anybody ever see a 3D movie? Raise your hand. Remember, we used to go to movies at one time. There were movie theaters, they were called, in America.
Anyway, 3D movies, you have-- what do you wear? You wear glasses. So when you wear glasses, you see things differently than if you take off your glasses. Or if you're sitting there with glasses next to a guy who is looking at the same thing without the glasses, you're going to look at the same thing, but you're going to see two different things.
One of my favorite stories is about three people at the Grand Canyon. One was an artist. One was a pastor, a minister. One was a cowboy.
They're looking down into the beautiful chasm of the Grand Canyon, and they start telling their impressions of what they see. So the artist looks, and he first says, wow, what a beautiful scene to paint. And the pastor says, wow, what a magnificent display of the glory and majesty of God. The cowboy looks down and says, wow, what a terrible place to lose a cow.
They all saw the same thing, but they saw it differently. So when David arrives, he doesn't see a giant. He sees a big target. He's-- I can't miss that. That'll be easy because that's so big.
Even I can hit that. Anybody can hit that. That's how he sees it. But fear is intimidating.
A second thing to note about fear, not only is fear intimidating, fear can be debilitating. We go on in this story. You have to notice this in verse 16. The Philistine drew near and presented himself 40 days morning and evening.
Now let's do the math. 40 days morning and evening, how many times did he present himself? 80 times, right, that's the right math. So in the morning, he got up, had his breakfast, go down-- goes down to the valley, shouts, chooses people up.
Give me a man. Come on. Let's fight. What are you waiting for, you cowards? Let's go.
That's once. Goes back, has lunch, maybe a little siesta. Goes down again before dinner, says the same thing. Goes back up, next day repeat, repeat, and repeat, 80 times, 40 days.
Would that wear on you if you heard that? Absolutely. It would be demoralizing to hear that. So keep going, verse 21. "Israel and the Philistines drew up in battle array, army against army"-- they're in the valley. "David left his supplies in the hand of the supply keeper, ran to the army, came and greeted his brothers."
Now stop there for a minute. Let me give you the back story. David is not in the army. David is a teenager, keeping sheep in Bethlehem.
His brothers, however, his older brothers are all in Saul's army. So his dad sends him-- sends David to the battle with food for the older brothers and to get a report of how the battle is going. That's what David is doing here. He's not in the army. He's too young.
So David leaves the supplies, greets his brothers. Hey, bro, what's up? Verse 23, "as he talked with them, there was the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name"-- now watch this-- "coming up"-- that's very important that you notice that-- "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"-- here it is again-- "dreadfully afraid." "Dreadfully afraid" in Hebrew is [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH], which is to be overcome with fear.
The NSV, the New Skip Version, they were freaked out. They were freaked out. They were crippled with fear. Why? Because they notice this guy coming up.
Now, again, the geography is important. There's a valley here in the middle, a mile wide, a hill and a hill on either side, an army on each hill. Typically, they come down, yell at each other. Nobody's really fought yet. Go back, come down, go back, come down, go back.
Goliath gets into the mix, starts yelling, 80 times, come on, come on, give me a man. Finally, Goliath gets closer, crosses the creek-- the little brook in Elah. Again, if you come to Israel with us, we'll point this out to you. You can see the whole valley scene right there.
And he starts coming up the other side. So now he's not just intimidating. Now he's aggressive. Now he's getting closer and closer. He is coming up.
Goliath is so much like our adversary. I'm talking about the adversary of our soul, the devil. He tries to intimidate and intimidate and intimidate.
And then he-- he'll get closer. He'll come up. He'll move in. He'll take advantage.
Frances Thompson said, "The devil doesn't know how to sing, only how to howl!" But if that howl goes unmet, unchallenged, then he'll come up closer and closer and come after you stronger and stronger. And that's how fear works. Fear works the same way.
It grows. It comes up. It becomes irrational, and it keeps you awake at night. If you don't deal with the howling during the day, it comes to you at night. It wakes you up.
It plagues your thought life. And counselor after counselor will write or say that the typical question that will come at night like this are questions to begin with, "what if," "what if." What if this happens and then what if he does that? And then what if I and-- all that, it just gets closer and bigger and debilitating.
There's a great little poem by Shel Silverstein called, "The Whatifs." It's a children's poem, but it's just fun. I thought you should see it.
"Last night while I lay thinking here, some Whatifs crawled inside my ear." You've all had that. "And pranced and partied all night long, and sang their same old Whatif song. Whatif they've closed the swimming pool? Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif I get beat up? Whatif there's poison in my cup? Whatif I start to cry? Whatif I just get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk the test? Whatif green hair grows on my chest?" That wouldn't be good, would it?
"Whatif nobody likes me? Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me? Whatif I don't grow taller? Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite? Whatif the wind tears up my kite? Whatif they start a war? Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late? Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight? Whatif I tear my pants? Whatif if I never learn to dance?" That'd be OK, but anyway.
"Everything seems swell, and then the nighttime Whatifs strike again!" Every kid has had that experience, and many adults continue to have that experience. What if I lose my job? What if I don't find another job?
What if the disease gets worse? What if the check doesn't come? Fill in the blank. Fear is intimidating. Fear can be debilitating.
Let me give you a third truth about fear. Fear breeds squabbling. When people are afraid, they do something with their fear.
So look at verse 28. Now Eliab, he's in the army. He's part of this whole set-up. "Eliab, his oldest brother, heard when he"-- David-- "spoke to the men."
So David comes. Younger brother, sheep guy comes, talks to everybody. Eliab sees this. Eliab, his oldest brother, "heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab's anger was aroused against David, and he said, 'Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness?'"
Now this is a dig. He's trying to put him down. I'm in the army. All you do is keep sheep.
What did you do with those "'sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.'" Now if I'm David, I'm going to be saying, really, what battle.
I don't see no battle. I don't see any of you getting up and fighting. You're just, ah, scared, crawling, running away. But he didn't say that. "David said, 'What have I done now? Is there not a cause?' Then he turned from him toward another and said the same thing; and these people answered him as the first ones did."
Now keep in mind who Eliab is. Eliab is the oldest brother. He was the guy who stood in line when Samuel came to pick the next king. And so that means Eliab was the first one in the family to be rejected as king.
He never forgot that. And he never forgot when David came in from watching sheep, and Samuel said, that's it. He's the kid. He's the king. He held it against him all that time.
Now in a moment of battle, now in a moment of fear, he lashes out. This is called infighting. He's fighting his brother. Why? Because he's afraid. Fear will do that.
Mental health expert Kristen Fuller said that fear can turn to anger. She said, when you're in a stressful environment combined with a perceived threat, you experience frustration. In that condition, people often lash out at people around them. Keep that in mind if people are unloading on you and getting angry at you, it could be that they're afraid.
During this last year and a half, I have-- I've seen so many freaked-out people, so afraid. And what they do, they get angry at you. How come you're not wearing the mask? Don't get too close to me?
OK, whoa, yeah, so, you know, you can get tempted to lash out back at them. I mean, I think David-- most brothers would have said, like, really you want some of this? I tell-- I'll punch you in the nose, Eliab.
But he doesn't do that. He recognizes that this is coming from fear. In fact, notice what he does. It says, he turned from him.
That's what he did, just turn away, just walk away. David wasn't there to fight his brother. David was there to fight a beast named Goliath. So he turned from him.
He knew who to fight and who not to fight. Now, listen, if you don't watch it, you'll end up spending all your time fighting a Christian brother or sister, while the real enemy of our souls keeps coming up, coming up, coming up. And he wants you to not think of his coming up. He wants you to just have infighting with everybody else around you. Don't let it happen.
Finally, I'm going to take you to a fourth. This is really the best part of the story. This is the crux of the story. Fear requires conquering. Fear requires conquering.
So we go down to verse 45. David comes on the scene. He's there with a few rocks, five stones, and a sling. I mean, not even a slingshot, I hear people say, David, all they had was a slingshot.
No, he did not. That was invented a long time after. He came with just a sling, a little leather strap that you go around your head or off to the side.
He comes, and verse 45, "David said to the Philistine, 'You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied." Wow. I mean, the best part of the story is a teenage kid talking smack back to this warrior.
Why does he do that? And I don't know that he's-- I don't think this is hubris or he's puffed up with pride. Somebody once said, courage is just fear that has said its prayers. I think he probably went out there, mm, gulping, but he realized something.
So he says, I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts. Look at verse 46. "This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth"-- I love verses like this-- "that all the earth may know that there's a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands."
You know that experts will tell you that fear can be unlearned.
You know why that is? Because fear is learned. We learned it when we're young. Some of it's healthy, good fear. But so often, it becomes irrational.
So often it controls us. And what you have learned that has become unhealthy and bad can be unlearned. And the Bible talks about renewing your mind. Don't be conformed to this world.
Romans 12, verse 2, "Don't be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." You need to learn to think differently. You need to unlearn certain things.
So what I want you to do, I want to get specific now. David was victorious because he did three things, three things. We can conquer by doing three things. Number one, by remembering past victories, remembering past victories.
So I want you to see something here. Look at chapter 17, look at verse 33. Now David says, I'll take the giant on. I'll do this. No, everybody's scared. I'll-- I'm ready to fight.
So he stands before King Saul. Look what King Saul says to him. "Saul said to David, 'You're not able to go against this Philistine.'" I mean, this guy is meaner than a junkyard dog.
You're a kid. You're a boy. You can't do this. That's what fear says. You can't do this.
Don't try. Stop. You're not-- you can't do this. "'For you are but a youth, and he is a man of war from his youth.'"
So David hears that, thinks about it. "David said to Saul," well, "'your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it'"-- you're picturing a little kid chasing a bear. Your servant, he said, "'I went out after it and struck it and delivered the lamb from its mouth.'"
You've got to get pretty close to a bear to deliver it out of its mouth. "'I caught it by the beard, struck it, and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing that he's defied the armies of the living God.'"
So he remembered something that happened in the past. He said, look, King, with all due respect, I've seen God vanquish lesser enemies, lions and bears, top of the food chain animals, right, lions and bears, top of the food chain animals. I chased them down. I clubbed them to death, and I took my lamb home.
So here's the point. Fear in the present is conquered by recalling victories in the past. Fear in the present is conquered by recalling victories in the past.
I want you to remember this. Look up here. I want you to remember this. If you have a good memory and a sound theology, you're ready to fight right now, right now.
If you have a good memory and a sound theology, you're ready to fight right now. Because the good memory will remind you of what God has already done in your life, and the sound theology will remind you that the battle belongs to God. And what He's done in the past, He can do it again.
So if you have those two things, you are ready to fight. If you can handle lions and bears, lesser trials, you're ready for Giants 101. You're ready. You're in the club. So by remembering past victories, that's number one.
Number two, you conquer fear by realizing your personal assets. See, God made you different than He made me. He made us very unique. And you have a certain makeup and certain advantages and certain gifts that enable you to do what nobody else can do. So it is with David.
So David-- finally, Saul says, OK, go ahead. God be with you. Go to battle. But look at verse 38.
"Saul clothed David with his armor, he put on a bronze helmet on his head; he clothed him with a coat of mail." Now keep in mind how tall is Saul, head and shoulders above everybody else. David's a little teenager. It's like putting 52 long on 38 regular, you know. It's like a little 12-year-old wearing his dad's suit.
It's, like, this really looks ridiculous, and it was. "David fastened his sword to his armor, and he tried to walk,"-- couldn't even walk. "For he hadn't tested them. David said to Saul, 'I can't walk with these, for I have not tested them.' So David took them off."
Here's King Saul trying to turn David into an armadillo. It's, like, man, you need protection. So he clothes him. David said, I can't do this. I'm much better with a sling and these stones than with your sword and coat of mail.
So the principle is this. Never do what God has not called you to do. Never try to be somebody else. Never fight like somebody else fights.
Don't try to use a sword if you're better with a sling. What works for one may not work for another. Find your own gifts, your own personal abilities, and go in that strength that God has given you.
See, David had certain assets. Yeah, he was unprotected, but he was fast. He was young and agile.
Yeah, Goliath was pretty big, but he was also slow and lumbering. So David just figured out that pretty quickly and goes, don't need that. I'm going to realize my personal assets.
And then the third thing he did and the third key to our victory over fear is by relying on a powerful God. And that's verse 45. That's the king verse. "'You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.'"
Now I want you to compare something. Remember what I said. What you see is determined by how you see. It's really a matter of how you see it.
So with that in mind, I want you to compare two verses. Look at verse 25. Now this is the army, the Israelite army. "The men of Israel said, 'Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel.'"
Now compare that with verse 45, where David said, "'the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.'" Here's the point. David realizes Goliath isn't just attacking an army. He's attacking God's army.
He's attacking God's people. Do you know that when God's people are attacked, that God takes it very personally? He does. God said of Israel-- the Lord said of Israel in the Old Testament, "whoever touches you touches the apple of My eye."
I will get hot and bothered when you mess with My people. Want to see that in action? Saul of Tarsus in the New Testament was out to persecute Christians, hunt Christians, kill Christians. He gets knocked off his horse on the road to Damascus.
Jesus says, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" He's thinking, You? I don't even know who You are. I don't even know who's talking to me.
That's why he said, who are You, Lord? I'm not after whoever You are. I'm after them. No, you're persecuting Me.
I'm taking what you're doing to them very personally. You're messing with them? You are messing with Me. Something else.
David compares weapons. It's sort of interesting. He goes, you come to me with-- and he starts rattling off what Goliath has. He's got a sword.
You got a spear. You got a javelin. Most people go, that's a lot. I got nothing.
No, he says, you got all that, but I've got something you don't have. I have a name. I come to you in the name of the Lord. The word the "name" means the reputation, the authority of the Lord.
You don't have that, Goliath. You just got a sword and a spear and a javelin. I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel.
So you've got size. You've got strength. You've got a sword, but I have the name of the Lord. Listen, if you're going to slay giants, you need a healthy respect for the size of your God.
If you remember nothing but this from this sermon, I was going to say I'd be happy. I wouldn't be happy, but I'll settle for it. If you just remember this, when God is magnified, fears go away.
Whenever God is magnified, fears go. You've heard that before. Let's magnify the Lord. Paul said, I magnify Him in my body.
What does it mean to magnify the Lord? You know what a magnifying glass does. Does a magnifying glass make anything bigger? No, it makes it appear bigger, makes it look bigger.
When God is magnified, when you remind yourself Whose side you're on and Who God is, when God is magnified, fears can't live there. You can't live a fearful existence if you understand that. And that is why Israel was scared.
Israel was scared when they saw Goliath because they compared Goliath's size to their size. LeBron James, Danny Devito. LeBron James, Danny Devito, eh. Fear, if I'm Danny Devito, I'm scared if that guy's my enemy.
David comes on. He is unafraid because he compares Goliath's size not to his size but to God's size. So Israel is going, poor us. David's going, poor Goliath. He's been doing this 40 days.
This is day 41. This is his last day to breathe on the planet, and he goes after him. Martin Luther said, "With God, one is always a majority, always a majority.
I want to close with a fun little story, true story. This happened in a philosophy class at USC, University of Southern California. For 20 years, a professor of philosophy at USC, a devoted atheist, used every opportunity to scorn the existence of God.
All of his students, every year for 20 years, they were always afraid of this guy. So every semester on the last day of class, the professor would stand before like 300 students in the lecture hall. And he said, if anyone here still believes in God, stand up.
In 20 years, nobody dared stand up. They were all afraid. And then he said, if you believe in God, you're a fool. If God did exist, He could keep this piece of chalk from hitting the floor and breaking in pieces, a very simple task for Almighty God.
Yet He can't do it. The professor would then drop the chalk. It would hit the hard tile floor and smatter into pieces.
Well, surely, there were Christians over 20 years that were in that class, but none of them dared speak up or stand up because they were afraid. But one year, a freshman took the class. He had to take it to complete his major. He was a Christian student.
And the professor stood up on the last day, said, is there anybody here who believes in God, stand up. So he stood up, stood up, faced off the professor. The professor looked at that lone student and said, you are a fool. If God is real, then He could keep this piece of chalk from shattering when it hits the floor, but He can't. Just then, as he said those words, the chalk slipped out of his hand, hit his sleeve, bounced on his shoe, rolled onto the floor across the room unbroken.
And all the students predictably snickered. It was just so funny. It was just perfect. Well, the professor got so red and angry, he just stomped out of the classroom. And when he did, that one student who stood up walked to the front of the room and began to share his testimony with 300 students that were now a captive audience.
Fear is the greatest barrier to you fulfilling God's plan in your life, fear. God hasn't given us the spirit of fear. Perfect love casts out all fear, the Bible says, because fear has torment, and some of you know that torment. But perfect love casts it out. I'm praying that not only would we be a bold church, we would be a church of sound mind and thinking clearly, but we would be fearless, unafraid, unafraid.
Father, I pray that for Your people. We know what fear can do to us, Lord, what it can do to the best of us. It is intimidating. It can be demoralizing and debilitating, and it can hurt relationships when it turns into an argument.
Lord, I pray that we would remember what You've done in the past, that we would realize how You made us and who we are uniquely crafted by You. We're not a mistake. Who we are and what we have and how we think is not a mistake.
But we have to think Biblically. We have to be conformed-- we have to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. And I pray that we would realize that the name of God, the reputation and the authority of God, is so much bigger and so much grander and so much more powerful than any system of thought.
And I pray that we would not be quiet, that we would not be intimidated. We would stand strong. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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