The Fear of Man
Fear or intimidation is a line of resistance that will test you just before your promotion. Goliath’s line is the line of fear and intimidation. Fear has the power to quench ones resolve to act upon a situation. It has the ability to overwhelm us only when we do not possess the inner strength to face it. The story line continues:
Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was only a boy, ruddy and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him. David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the scabbard. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword. (1 Samuel 17:41-51)
How did Goliath try to strangle David with fear before the fight? Goliath tried to intimidate David in three ways.
1. Size – A physical weapon of intimidation.
Size is a physical weapon of intimidation. Size alone is enough to intimidate anyone; however, when it is layered with armor it compounds the intimidation factor. Take a look at Goliath’s biography and you will see what I mean:
A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him. (1 Samuel 17:4-7)
The enemy will use any tactic to intimidate people. Since size is visible I will associate it with the physical world. The enemy will use the physical realm to intimidate us. For instance, Israel was intimidated with size on more than one occasion. Here are some history reports to prove my point.
The people are strong and tall-Anakites! You know about them and have heard it said: “Who can stand up against the Anakites?” (Deuteronomy 9:1-2)
We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large [strength and size]. We even saw descendants of Anak [tall people] there. (Numbers 13:26-29) [Brackets added by author]
These two reports of size and intimidation spread among the Israelites and seized the community with fear. Size has the tendency to create or seize upon our existing fears. For this reason we should activate our faith to counteract the fear factor. Satan uses fear as a weapon to evaluate where our faith is. David was of small stature the day he confronted the giant but his confidence level was huge in comparison. One way to overcome our fears is to remember that if it is God’s assignment for us then it will become His battle as well. God does not give us assignments for us to fail, rather, He allows us to go through the process of confronting our fears so we can learn to grow and prevail over them.
Second, another vehicle that we should use to overcome fear is cultivating courage. Courage does not automatically remove fear; it merely emboldens us to face and defeat it. The way to fight and overcome fear is to engage it. Faith has to be joined with courage at some point. When we engage fear it propels God to join in the battle since our faith moves God to act on our part. Fear does not originate from God rather it is our lack of knowledge and understanding about how faith works. If God did not give us a “spirit of fear” then how is it that we acquire it? Do you allow size to intimidate you? Size is a strategy of smoke and mirrors from the enemy. The enemy always appears bigger than what he projects. Have you not read what Isaiah the prophet says about Satan’s past?
Those who see you stare at you [Satan], they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a desert, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?” (Isaiah 14:16:16-17)
We will see Satan one day and say, “Is this the man who shook the earth…?” It denotes that we will be appalled when we look upon Satan’s stature and think to ourselves, if we knew this all along we would not have been afraid of him. Size is nothing more than your perception and interpretation of the enemy that is before you. Satan will always make himself look bigger and stronger than he actually is to keep you second guessing your ability to overcome. Don’t fall into his trap and so deceive yourself.
2. Stratagem – Three methods of Satan’s attack strategy.
So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David…(1 Samuel 17:48)
The enemy studies his opponents carefully to determine the appropriate time to engage them in the fight. As you can see Goliath’s approach to David was methodical, calculated and cautious. From a distance he roars loud like a lion but then as he approaches his target he encroaches quietly and subtly, carefully studying his prey before striking. Here is what the Scriptures have to say about Goliath:
• Goliath arose – After Goliath devised his strategy he stood up and began his movement toward his target. Common sense would tell me that you do not “rise” to fight unless you have devised a plan of action; a strategy for your approach. In other words, you do not take action without a reasonable and winnable plan. Goliath had devised a plan of action in his mind and he was ready to implement it on David.
• Goliath came – This becomes the tactical stage where Goliath is moving out calculating and examining his target’s movements and weapons. At this point he is deciding which of his many destructive weapons he will use against David. Once he makes his decision he is intent on using it to win the fight.
• Goliath drew near – At this point Goliath approached his target with caution. Goliath started with a strategy but as he came closer to David he probably needed to adjust his plan of attack. This process is called maneuvering; making adjustments to your strategy as you proceed on with your mission.
In the game of football, encroachment is considered a penalty; it is trying to get the upper hand by guessing what the audible of the quarterback will be so as to get off the line before your opponent does. Some call this cheating but remember that Satan does not play by the rules. He looks for a way to beat you with shortcuts and deceptive strategies. He will take advantage of your weaknesses, a significant breach or an area of vulnerability.
Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. (1 Samuel 17:41)
The enemy makes us think he is impregnable; incapable of being taken by human means. In others words, he is so shielded with armor and armor bearers (those who assist him) that he sends a message of hopelessness; one that says that we cannot get to him. He tries to get you in a hopeless state of mind. If he can take away your hope, your faith is next in line. As you have noticed in the previous passage a shield bearer (a human shield) walked in front of Goliath. Goliath had an extra layer of military protection; a pair of eyes and feet, and a second source of communication through his shield bearer. Wow, what a brave man Goliath was!
Why do you think our enemy inches his way toward you? He is studying your weak spots to determine the best method of attacking you. Once he finds this open door he will use one or a combination of the three strategic levels of attack to defeat you.
Three levels of warfare
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin…” (1 Samuel 17:45a)
These are the three spheres of combat: close, mid-range and distance combat. You cannot afford to give up authority in any of these three spiritual realms. Once you give the enemy an open window he can use any of these three methods of attack against you:
• Javelin – The range of the javelin is for distant combat. With this weapon you are usually unsuspecting because it comes out of nowhere; it is aerial in form, striking from above. In other words, you can get blindsided with a javelin if you are not alert and watchful. At times when something hits you out of nowhere you wonder, “Where did that come from?” A javelin is subtle, quiet and hits you from above at an unsuspecting time. To counter this attack you must adopt the posture of a watchman. A watchman was a person in the Old Testament that was appointed to keep the night or day watch. A spiritual watchman is a person of prayer. A person of prayer has a better chance to detect potential strategies of the enemy before they emerge. To be successful you must keep your spiritual radar active through prayer and intercession, which develops your spiritual sensitivities to the slightest developing strategies and movements of the enemy.
• Spear – The spear is for mid-range combat. In this scenario you are close to the enemy and you become too vulnerable for an attack and defeat. David encountered this form of attack as King Saul almost pinned him to the wall at close range with his spear (1 Samuel 19:9-10).
• Sword – The purpose of the sword is for close toe-to-toe combat. If you have to fight with your sword then you have allowed the enemy to get too close to you. This means that you have been too careless and carefree with your boundaries. Later in David’s life he was almost defeated and killed by this kind of close encounter (2 Samuel 21:16-17).
Size and strategy are two methods the enemy uses to breed fear and intimidate you. However, if we know his methods and measures ahead of time we can be better prepared to stand up against him and fight. It is interesting to note at this point that Goliath never used any of these three methods of warfare on David. David never gave him the chance. This is the posture of a true warrior.
The third strategy to breed fear into your life is-sound. Sound, as a weapon, has been used as a form of warfare throughout history. For instance, Gideon and his army were given instructions to blow trumpets, break jars and light torches to defeat the invading Midianite army. It is a very unconventional way to win a war but if God is in it, who cares about the method? In our modern culture sound is used in sporting events to throw off the opponent’s rhythm. For instance, in a basketball game when a player from the visiting team is on the free-throw line the opposing fans who are in the stands cheer loudly, wave streamers and banners to attempt to confuse and throw off the athlete’s concentration.
3. Sound – A spiritual weapon of intimidation
Goliath said to David, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” (1 Samuel 17:43-44)
One insignia of the enemy is that he is loud and boisterous. His voice at times seems amplified, especially when we give him open air space to speak. As a matter of fact, we are to control the spiritual airwaves with our faith declarations. We have the power to control the spiritual airspace in our own lives. David controlled the spiritual airwaves in his life by sending sound waves of faith into the air when he challenged Goliath to the fight. He did not allow the current atmosphere to dictate his demeanor like so many of us do.
Since sound is unseen I will categorize it in the spiritual realm. Sound is like wind that you hear but you cannot see. When Goliath spoke his voice carried in the airwaves and landed in the ears of fearful men. Goliath read the amplified version of the Bible whereas David read the New King James Version since he was the “new king” on the block (just a joke).
Satan has the ability to paralyze us with his words or sounds. Have you ever been discouraged? How did you get in that condition? Sometimes it is by hearing and picking up the enemy’s words traveling as sound waves in the spiritual dimension. You see words have:
• Significance – Words like the ones Goliath used against Israel are significant since they carry a meaning that is intended to discourage and immobilize its recipients. Words have negative or positive effects upon people. Words can be used to either build someone up or to intimidate and tear them down. He used his words for the latter. Goliath’s words were significant.
• Sound – Words carry a mighty force that penetrates into the mind of the hearer; its intent is to either mobilize or immobilize opponents. In this case Goliath’s words were intended to create an atmosphere of intimidation; a line of resistance. An atmosphere of fear prevailed among the Israelites until David walked upon the scene and took charge of the atmosphere.
Some countries have military airspace restrictions that allow planes to fly only to certain areas but are not allowed into more sensitive areas. These areas are known as “no fly zones.” We need to have “spiritual no fly zones” when it comes to the sound waves of the enemy. You should be so sensitive to the spiritual realm that once his destructive words attempt to enter into your “spiritual fly zone” you must recognize whose words they are; God’s or Satan’s. If they are Satan’s then you must cut them off before they take root in your life and destroy you. There are two air streams that can either help or hinder you:
• The stream of divine revelation.
• The stream of vain imaginations.
The latter is Satan’s means to destroy you by sending destructive messages your way. If we don’t have our defense mechanisms working properly, like the helmet of salvation, then we fall prey to his words (sound). On the flip side, the stream of revelation is God’s continuous open portal to heaven. In this stream God is sending you messages from His own mouth. It is up to you whether this portal is open or closed. You can open up the heavens by a life of faith through prayer, fasting, worship, reading and meditating on God’s word. Through these disciplines you prepare and sensitize your mind to be open to the Holy Spirit’s voice. This stream of divine revelation is often referred to as “open heavens.” One way to stop the enemy from entering your spiritual fly zone is by discerning his voice and coming against it with God’s written Word. God’s word is described by two Greek words. The first one is:
Logos is the written Word of God, the Holy Scriptures. Jesus used logos to combat Satan’s challenges in Luke 4:4. After Jesus fasted for forty days He became hungry, and Satan came to tempt him by casting doubt about his ability to change a stone into bread. He was challenging Jesus’ humanity (hunger) and His divinity (the ability to change substance). Although Jesus had the ability to do this miracle He chose to honor and complete His fast. Jesus in reply used logos, the written Word of God, to combat temptation. When we use logos we are reminding Satan of what God has already said in the past. There is no compromise.
Rhema is the revealed, uttered or spoken word of God or what is normally called revelation. For instance, the apostle Paul challenged Timothy to fight the good warfare by the prophecies (revelation) made about him (1 Timothy 1:18). Timothy was called to be an evangelist and at times he may have felt discouraged and timid about his calling. At times he needed to remember what God had spoken specifically to him through a prophetic message. This prophetic message was deeply personal and weighty since it affirmed his identity and destiny. He was to use this rhema word from God to fight the good fight of faith and continue in his destiny. The rhema word of God helps us to fight and win our spiritual battles.
You need to believe in what God says about you and allow God’s logos and rhema to penetrate your soul and spirit. Allow the promises that you encounter in His Word to shape and determine your demeanor and destiny. You need to wrap yourself around these two kinds of words; logos and Rhema. You must not abdicate any authority to the enemy in this area.
When I go through a difficult time the following Scripture is a powerful example of logos working for me. It says:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
I then take God’s literal word (logos) and begin to mediate upon it, confess its promises for my life and in time I begin to receive revelation (Rhema) about a particular verse. God then speaks to me through His uttered word. I then take this new word (Rhema) to wage warfare against him.
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