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Near the end of President Bushís Speech to Congress and the Nation a few days after September 11th he said: ďAfter all that has just passed -- all the lives taken, and all the possibilities and hopes that died with them -- it is natural to wonder if Americaís future is one of fear. Some speak of an age of terror. I know there are struggles ahead, and dangers to face. But this country will define our times, not be defined by them. As long as the United States of America is determined and strong, this will not be an age of terror; this will be an age of liberty, here and across the world.Ē That is a profound and true thought; either we define our times or they define us.
In the familiar story of David and Goliath we see that truth played out. Saul and Israel were allowing the Philistines to define them. David was a different kind of man however. He intended to define his times through the grace and power of God. Consider how David defined his times.
I. HE SIZED UP THE PROBLEM
A. A Fierce Foe
David looked and saw a fierce foe. Goliath was an intimidating figure. He was 9 Ĺ feet tall (v.4). His armor weighed over 200 pounds and his weapons were immense (vv.5-7). Added to his physical appearance was this giantís attitude. He stood in defiance against Israel (vv.8-10). Not only was he defiant but he had complete disdain for Godís people. Put it all together and David faced a fierce foe in Goliath.
B. Friendly Fire
But Goliath was not really the greatest giant David had to face that day. Goliath was a fierce foe but it was friendly fire that David would have to watch for most diligently. In every war there are occasions when soldiers are accidentally killed by their own brothers. David was getting ready to face some friendly fire but it was not all accidental. The real enemies of our life are more subtle than Goliath. Consider four subtle. enemies that David and you and I have to face in life.
The Enemy of Past Carelessness and Failure. Goliath would not have been standing there in defiance against Israel if Israel had not failed to obey God in the past. Israel could and should have driven the Philistines from the land when they first entered it (Joshua 1:2-6; 3:9-10). More recently, Saul had led the people to fear the Philistines rather than God (1 Samuel 13). Saul failed miserably in obeying God and Godís prophet, Samuel. Because of his carelessness and failure, Saulís army quickly dwindled from 3000 to 600.
Like Saul, many of our giants are the results of past carelessness and failure. Things we could have dealt with when they were small become giants that seem nearly impossible to drive out of our lives.
The Enemy of Criticism and Rejection. David also had to face the critical spirit of nearly everyone who claimed to belong to God around him. Saul had already allowed the peopleís critical spirit drive him into rebellion against
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