Decide Your Endgame NOW

 
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Most of you— if not all of you, dear readers— are familiar with the story of David and Goliath. We’ve seen the theme of the unassuming fellow surmounting the seemingly immoveable, insurmountable giant in his life time and again. It’s a heartening theme. It’s encouraging, especially for the little guy. (And, let’s be honest, we’ve all felt like the little guy before.)

But let’s take a different look at another insurmountable obstacle David faced. This giant loomed in his life before he ever stepped foot on the battlefield to challenge Goliath. 

What obstacle would that be?

Well, first, let’s get context. Context is always a good thing. 

David is the youngest of eight brothers. Some biblical scholars theorize that David was illegitimate, Jesse’s bar sinister. If that’s the case, David was even more behind the eight ball— which is kind of ironic as he is the 8th son. 

His three eldest brothers- men who have reached their majority and were incontestably MEN- are soldiers in Israel’s army. They are men trained to fight and ready for battle. 

By comparison, David has accomplished very little. Sure, he’s just a youth, but still, compared to these manly men, he pales. All he’s ever done is take care of his father’s sheep. Big deal, right?

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Well, at his father’s behest, David leaves his flock and takes supplies to his brothers, who are encamped with the army against the Philistines. Coming in cold turkey, unaware of military tactics or diplomatic protocol, David arrives on the scene just in time to hear Goliath- the Philistine’s champion- taunt the entire Israeli army. Remember his taunt?

BRING ME A MAN, THAT WE MAY FIGHT!

Sure, there was more. The typical enemy threats— If you win, we’ll be your slaves, but, if we win (which we will because I’m a massive giant who has never been defeated), then you and all your people will be our slaves.

I imagine David viewing this unfolding with glee, like a kid today gets excited for WWE’s Wrestlemania. He was probably thinking, Oh, yeah, I got here just in time to see my totally righteous big brothers give this oversized blowhard the People’s Elbow… (My brother loves WWE; oh, and my good friend, Geeta…)

So, imagine David’s surprise when not only his brothers, but the ENTIRE Israelite army cowers in fear at this giant’s words. (Not actions, mind you. Words.)

Their response was the last thing David expected. In fact, it angered him. Righteously. 

So, as any young dude would do, he seeks out his older brother, Eliab, and says— This buffoon is insulting us. It’s like he doesn’t even know who we are. He needs to be shown a lesson. What will I get if I fight him and win? I’ll show him and all his cohorts who they’re messing with here.

Already we’re seeing a glimpse into the character of this unassuming shepherd boy. He looks at Goliath— the giant who has terrified men trained to fight him— and he knows he can take him. How does David know this?

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Because when no one knew it, he was taking on giants. He was a shepherd. He protected his sheep. When a foe came against his flock, he dealt with it. He had killed lions and bears. Ever see the size of a bear? To a lad of 13-15 years, a bear is the equivalent of a 9 ft. giant. AND there’s not reasoning with a bear, either. 

When no one was looking, when there was no one to impress, David was preparing. (Sort of reminds me of Daniel in this post.) 

To him, Goliath was just another foe in the field. And, worse, that foe had the gall to insult and offend. Regardless, a roar is a roar, whether it comes from a lion, a bear, or a 9 ft giant. 

The moment David addresses his brother, he’s making a bold statement. But, one must not confuse boldness for arrogance. David was bold because he was confident he could take down Goliath. Not only did he believe whole heartedly that God had his back, he had also taken time when he was shepherding to train himself to stand up to the enemies who would steal his sheep away. 

David knew his fighting stance (see post here). He understood the tactic of his enemy (see post here). He refused fear (see post here). He trusted his core (see post here). And he got aggressive (see post here). 

Now, Eliab was not so thrilled by David’s stance. While David was righteously angry over Goliath’s taunting, his brother was furious with him for wanting to fight. Worse. Eliab was offended by David’s boldness.

 I imagine Eliab looking like this little lamb... cute, but ineffectual in battle. 

I imagine Eliab looking like this little lamb... cute, but ineffectual in battle. 

This must have been confusing for David. I mean, he’s a shepherd. He’s not the one who fights. That’s what Eliab is supposed to do. He’s the soldier. Yet, here stands David, ready to do battle. And Eliab is ready to run for the hills with his tail between his legs like one of David’s sheep.

Now, I’ll stop there for a moment because we’ve encountered the other obstacle of which I spoke. 

So, what’s the obstacle? 

Any takers? Well, if you guessed Eliab and his ilk, then you hit the nail on the head. 

How were they obstacles? 

Well, let me put it to you this way. David had a vision. He saw the endgame and it was Goliath dead by his hand and decapitated with his own sword. David knew he could do it. He knew who had his back. And, he’d stoked his umbrage with righteous indignation. David was going to defend all of Israel from the slanderous Philistine. The shepherd would protect his sheep. 

But Eliab didn’t see that. Nor did the other men. Nor did King Saul, even though he reluctantly let David go out to battle anyway. They couldn't see how David would succeed. They already saw him as a failure. So they tried to talk him out of his convictions. How? They ridiculed him. They berated him. They laughed at him. They doubted him. To. His. Face. 

Why is this an obstacle? Well, because if David had given any headspace to his brother’s negativity or to what others thought of him and his boldness, he would never have stepped foot on that battlefield.  

David's battle was WHO he was going to decide to believe.

David decided before he uttered a single word that he would be successful. He set his mind firmly on it. And then he only spoke the words that lined up with those thoughts. He won his battle before war was even declared. 

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The words people speak over you have power. They can tear you down or they can build you up. But, they only have that power if you align yourself with them. 

Today, be like David. Decide who and what you are. And if people in your life- be they friends, family, or foes- don’t understand the strength of your convictions, then tune them out!

And once you’ve decided your endgame, you can be bold like Caleb and say:

BRING ME MY MOUNTAIN!

What is an area in your life where you’ve allowed the opinions and words of others to dissuade you from a course you know you’re meant to be on? What giants have taunted and intimidated you out of your convictions?