You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts . . . I Samuel 17:45
As I was contemplating today’s passage about David and Goliath – imagining some contrived metaphor about giants and addiction – a friend asked me a provocative question. Were you lonely in your addiction? I’m not sure I’d thought about it before, but yes, addiction was a self-imposed isolation.
While using, I could not bear the thought of anyone else knowing, so I hid my deeds in the dark. I couldn’t share with anyone the thing that was killing me for fear of discovery. The worst though, was that I isolated myself from God. It was not that He left me. I chose my own exile.
Saul, in today’s passage, must have felt alone, even though he was surrounded by a kingdom of fellow cowards. As the Israelites and Philistines gathered on opposing sides of a battlefield, Goliath – the Philistine giant – came out daily, to taunt the Israelites. Send out your best, cowards.
King Saul was not about to go out, but neither was anyone else. When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid (I Samuel 17:11). In fear, they abandoned hope and they abandoned their faith in God.
David never forgot whose side he was on and thus, who was on his side. Though the Israelites had each other, they were each, alone in their faithlessness as they hid from God, in fear of Goliath. David though, walking boldly with God, accepted Goliath’s challenge.
We are not guaranteed victory over all of life’s trials when we follow God. In our addictions and destructive behavior, we may face painful consequences. Even while following God, we will certainly encounter agonizing trials.
The lesson of Saul, David, and Goliath, is not that following God guarantees victory in every conflict. The lesson is that when we turn from God, like Saul, we choose loneliness and exile. Through David though, we see that God never leaves us. In God, we are never alone, no matter what we face.