(David says to Goliath) “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, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” 1 Samuel 17:46
Big words from a little shepherd boy! God uniquely designed us men with a strong desire to achieve. It is in our DNA to do more, to do greater, and to accomplish something far more spectacular. Over time we experience setbacks, disappointments, failures, and shattered plans and dreams that can stifle this natural propensity for success. Right before David said this bold declaration to a 9 foot, 6 inch giant, his big brother condescendingly questioned why he was even there (v. 28). David looked past the insult and saw the true prize – to take away this reproach from Israel (and the king’s bounty wasn’t bad, either!).
I realized about three years ago that my body had become a bit lethargic, slothful, and soft. I had not really pressed myself to do anything athletic throughout my entire 40’s and it had taken its toll physically. My son-in-law, a former PT (physical trainer) for the Air Force, “provoked” me to do something about it. He recommended a workout video that he had been using and I agreed that I would do it. For the first three weeks I really did think I was going to die. No, I mean it! I could not think of one nice thing to say about my son-in-law. I couldn’t walk right, sit right, nor could I get up naturally from a prone position! I felt sick to my stomach every time I worked out. There were times when I really felt I was near certain death if I didn’t stop, and I actually would have welcomed it! I regretted having asked him to help me. I thought of every excuse to quit, to not thoroughly dread another workout, to stop the madness!
Gutting it out did eventually pay off. I remember starting to count my push-ups. When I first began I was proud to get to 27. Months later I was doing 50, then 70, then 100. Though improvement was ever so gradual, noticing that I was getting fit was quite an adrenaline rush, a male source of personal accomplishment and progress. It also helped that my wife took notice and expressed her approval. It was taking all of 35 – 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week of gruelingly painful exercise to reach these goals, though the 45 minutes seemed much longer! I had an experiential revelation during this era of “self-flagellation;” men were made for challenges and we are at our best when we have and pursue goals that are against-all-odds, a “David vs. Goliath” scenario. The discipline in my physical life has bled into my spiritual disciplines making everything else have greater perspective and clarity.
My diversion this week is to encourage all men to see that they have been specifically programmed to be more than the sum of their parts. We have mind-numbing lostness in our current culture and in all of our neighborhoods. This Goliath is real. It is big, smelly, and wants you to just shut up and go away. Go find the stones that fit your sling and take his head off! We were made for such a time as this.