One-on-One

1 Samuel 17:10-11
And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.  When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.

The nation of Israel was stuck.  They had set the battle in array with the Philistines, but no one was charging forward to the fight.  Instead, Goliath was a blockade, and Israel’s fear left them uncertain and unmoving.  Here was this champion—bigger than anyone else, louder, stronger, more confident and brash.  Fearless, really, and kind of a bully.  And Israel is so fearful that they are not able to move beyond where they are right now.  And those times where we are overwhelmed and dismayed often leave us at an impasse.

But this was different than a normal battle.  It wasn’t to be army versus army.  This wasn’t about working together to overcome an obstacle.  What Goliath proposes is a one-on-one match.  He calls on Israel to send out one man who won’t be afraid, one man to fight to the death in a winner-take-all battle.  And no one is willing to step forward.  But isn’t that where we can get stuck, too?  Those moments where we have to face something on our own?  Those moments where a challenge comes and no one can help us, but we just have to go out and deal with it ourselves?

No one really wants to face the giants of life.  No one wants to fight those battles that seem impossible to win.  No one wants to be the one who steps forward and fails.  But in this story of Israel versus Goliath, it seems like God is just waiting for one person to trust Him for the victory instead of trying to figure out how they are going to handle this and, in the meantime, being paralyzed.  All that demonstrates is a lack of faith and trust in God, the one who gives the victories.

What kind of blockade has us feeling stuck right now?  What is it that we just can’t get past?  What battles are we facing where no one can go with us that we must confront on our own?  It’s not easy, and it’s not fun.  But the most important thing to remember is that we aren’t really going out to a one-on-one battle, because God is on our side.  Maybe He’s just waiting for us to trust Him and take that first step.  Maybe He’s waiting for us to recognize we don’t have to be strong enough or smart enough or big enough, but we let Him do the hard part.  May we be willing to trust Him no matter the course our battle takes, even if no one else stands beside us.

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