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Do Not Be Discouraged

“Do not be discouraged” is an easy and simple phrase to say to someone, or even something that is easy to hear. However, it can be one of the most difficult things to practice in our daily lives. Discouragement has taken away the faith from so many that at one point were considered strong. Let us take a moment to examine the example of David and how he was able to combat discouragement.

David is one of the most well-known figures in the Bible. He is recognized for his faith, his love for God, and being a man after God’s own heart. However, he could have turned out significantly different if he would have allowed discouragement to affect him and impact his faith and dedication to God.

Perhaps one of the most recognized and referenced stories from the Bible revolves around the faith of David (1 Samuel 17). It is the story of David and Goliath. David is known for having great faith in God to deliver him from the Philistine giant, but there were several opportunities that David could have allowed himself to be discouraged.

Within the story David is not seen as a challenger or warrior or even an option to battle this great champion. He is just seen as a shepherd and errand boy (1 Samuel 17.15, 17-20).

Once David gets to the battle lines, he quickly recognizes that something must be done about this taunting of God from an uncircumcised Philistine (1 Samuel 17.23, 26). His oldest brother, Eliab, burns with anger that he is there and gives David a piece of his mind (v 28). David could have been discouraged by this detesting behavior from his oldest brother, but he decides that he will be the one to go fight Goliath (v 32).

David comes to Saul and tells him he wants to fight Goliath (1 Samuel 17.32). But Saul also looks down upon David and tells him he is not able to fight (v 33). Saul looks at the outward appearance of David. This could have been devastating to have not only your older brother but also the king tell you that you cannot battle this giant. How does David respond? He is determined to fight and is assured of the Lord’s deliverance (v 34-37). He does not allow words from the king to hinder his resolve to fight.

Saul gives David his armor and weapons to use but David could not wear them for he had not tested them before (1 Samuel 17.38-39). At this point, David could have given up since he had no armor. He could have taken it as a sign that perhaps he might not be the one to fight Goliath. But he was determined and had faith in God’s deliverance. So he goes out with his staff, stones, and sling (v 40).

David finally gets to the battlefield with Goliath. At the sight of Goliath David could have fallen afraid like the rest of the Israelites and King Saul. At the threats and disdain from Goliath he could have become dismayed. But he remained confident in his purpose and God’s deliverance (1 Samuel 17.45-47). The Lord delivered David. It’s interesting to consider the phrase in verse 46 that “all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.” Many who have no spiritual background have heard of the story of David and Goliath. The story is so well known, just as this text said it would be.

There were several moments in this story that David could have given up, felt overwhelmed, or been discouraged. We would have been missing out on this great moment of faith that serves as an example to all.

David was able to not be discouraged because he knew his purpose. He knew that God was more important than himself. Regardless of all these obstacles he was determined to follow God. We should imitate that.

As Christians, we know that this life is not all there is, but that a reward is waiting for us (Philippians 3.14; Hebrews 10.35; 2 John 1.8). Through His grace and mercy we can dwell with God in eternity one day if we remain faithful to Him.

David was not discouraged because he knew God is different from man. All the characters in the story had looked down upon David. All except one, God. God did not look at the outward appearance but looked at the heart, just as He had done in selecting him to be king (1 Samuel 16.7). Despite whatever occurs to us God loves us and knows if we remain obedient to Him. Being pleasing in His sight is the best thing we can ever hope to accomplish in this world.

Do not be discouraged by the things of this world. Like David, look forward, remember your purpose, and be faithful to Him.