1 Samuel 17: 34-37
But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.’
Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the Lord be with you.’”
There’s a story of two elderly couples were enjoying friendly conversation when one of the men asked the other, "Fred, how was the memory clinic you went to last month?"
"Outstanding," Fred replied. "They taught us all the latest psychological techniques for remembering things. It made a huge difference for me."
"That's great!”, said the friend, What was the name of the clinic?"
Fred went blank and he thought and thought, but couldn't remember. Then a smile broke across his face and he asked, "What do you call that flower with the long stem and thorns?"
"You mean a rose?"
"Yes, that's it!" He turned to his wife . . . "Rose, what was the name of that memory clinic?"
What’s your memory like? What are you like at remembering things from your past?
When faced with Goliath and all the criticism that’s coming his way, David reaches into his past, he remembers other giants he has faced - the lion and the bear - maybe smaller giants and less dangerous giants than Goliath, and he remembers how God protected him and helped him face these smaller giants, and he says: 'If God looked after me back then, then I trust the same God to look after me now.'
He points to God’s faithfulness in his past, as evidence of his belief that God will be faithful to him now. He points to small victories from his past, as preparation for a bigger victory now.
Whenever we come up against our giants in life, whatever they are, it’s easy to panic and forget, that maybe a year ago we had a similar problem and God brought us through it. Maybe 5 years ago we faced some situation that we thought we would never get over – but look now, we see how faithful God was, how he helped us and sustained us through it. Maybe some incident that happened 6 months ago that we thought God had failed us and let us down – but now we look back and see that it was the best thing that could have happened us. Maybe we prayed for something we wanted so badly, and it didn’t happen, and it seemed like God hadn’t answered our prayer – but now we look back and thank God that He didn’t answer that prayer because it would have been a disaster if He had.
We all can suffer from selective spiritual amnesia – we forget what we should remember, and we remember the things we need to forget.
When faced with Goliath, David goes into his past, and begins to call to mind examples of God’s faithfulness in similar situations. He sees God’s hand preparing him for this giant, and even though this may be the biggest challenge he has ever faced – it’s not that much bigger than the huge bear or lion he had to fight 3 weeks ago.
Think about your life – has God ever failed you? I’m not asking has everything always went how you want it to go or saying that nothing bad has ever happened to you. Of course it has. That’s just life in a fallen world. But through all of that, has God ever failed you, has he abandoned you – or has He always been faithful?
And if God has been faithful in your past – why can’t you trust him to be faithful with your future?
The circumstances change, the giants are different – but God is the same, His character never changes.
In the Old Testament whenever God helped his people in some special way, or provided for them, they would set up big stones called ‘stones of remembrance’ so that every time they saw them they would remember God’s love and care and faithfulness.
We should do the same. Not literally by setting up huge rocks in our front room. We should remind ourselves of God’s goodness, maybe by writing down somewhere a prayer of thanksgiving to God for how he has helped us. And we should also share our stories with others of how God has come through in times of trial and difficulty. It’s so faith building when God’s people get together and share with each other how God has brought them through dark and difficult times. God is no respecter of persons and what he has done for another he can do for you. And when God does come through, give Him the glory.