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This is how to counter life challenges

 This is how to counter life challenges (Photo: iStock)

Most elevations are preceded by tough challenges. The nerve-racking part is that sometimes they come packaged in a way that if you are not careful you can be tempted to draw back. Nevertheless, success demands that you tackle them to reap the benefits. 

The book of 1st Samuel records an account where David faced a serious challenge. Before him and the entire army of Israel was the giant called Goliath. How did it come to pass that a shepherd boy, rather than an Israelite soldier, would be commissioned to fight Goliath? 

The Philistines gathered their armies for battle with the Israelites as the animosity between them had reached a high point. Goliath comes forth taunting and defying the Israelite army. When Saul and all of Israel heard these words they were dismayed and became greatly afraid. He continued to mock and jest them. Terrified, none in the army dared to confront him but had to contend with their shame. 

Jesse, the father of David was now advanced in years and his three eldest sons had been enlisted in King Saul’s army to fight the Philistines. As the youngest of his sons, he is commissioned to be a ‘food delivery boy’ for his brothers. Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 

Eliab, his eldest brother did not take kindly to this inquiry and his anger burned against David and he rebuked him for coming to the battle line. He sarcastically asked, “With whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness?” Those of you who are older brothers can imagine the deriding manner in which Eliab likely raised his voice so that everyone in the vicinity would hear that the young boy in their presence was merely a sheep-herder. Eliab goes on to accuse David of being ill-motivated in wanting to come and ‘see the battle’. 

Every morning for 40 days, the army of Israel had been marching around sounding the war cry. But they never actually mustered enough courage to engage their challenge of the Philistines in battle. Eventually, young David’s boldness in speaking to the soldiers created an opportunity for him to meet with Saul. 

He uses this opportunity to volunteer to go and fight Goliath but Saul has no intention of reasoning with him. In appearance, David was a young, ruddy-faced, shepherd boy who had no business engaging a giant who was an experienced soldier in battle. However, he did not limit his perspective to what is reasonable. 

David did not get discouraged by his argumentative and fault-finding brother, nor allow the hoopla of the war cries to superficially prop up his courage. He was governed by something more substantial - his faith in God. In life, you will face challenges on your road to success. Life has a way of rewarding people who overcome challenges and can be very cruel to wimps who shy away from them. 

There are secrets to success that we can gather from this account in the Bible. First, inquire about the reward before engaging in any battle. That is, what you stand to gain should you win the war. The results must be worth the cause. Reserve your energy and strength for battles that offer good rewards. 

Second, be convincing. David managed to convince the king to put the fate of the entire nation of Israel into his hands. David said to Saul, “Your servant has killed both lion and bear, and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them; seeing that he has defied the armies of the living God” (1st Samuel 17:36). Be capable of convincing others to give you a chance. 

Third, remember your past victories. David’s past victories were not due to his ability, strength or size. With God on his side, he could walk up to the bear or lion, grab it, plunge a knife into its body and snatch back his lamb from its jaws. Then David said, The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1st Samuel 17:37).

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