What do you do when nobody seems willing to do the right thing? I've slowly been going through a series called Super to show that a lot of cool modern super heroes in one way or another have a lot in common with biblical heroes. More importantly, I've been trying to learn how you and I can be heroes by following these examples. So what do we do when nobody will do the right thing? Let's take a lesson from the original sharp-shooting hero, King David.
The story of David and Goliath is extremely well known. Here are some details that you may not have known. The Israelite army and the Philistine army were camped near each other and ready for war. They each decided to send out their best warrior to settle the battle rather than thousands of people on each side dying. The Philistines send forth Goliath, a giant of a man. He was either six and a half feet tall or nine and a half feet tall. We don't know for sure, but the point is that he was so big compared to the ancient Israelites that every man in the Israelite army was too terrified to face him. For forty days Goliath challenged them and they were too afraid to do anything about it.
Do you think any of the Israelites wondered what the brave, courageous, and right thing to do was? It seems pretty clear. Go face the enemy. As I process this story, I can't help but think that every Israelite soldier knew the right thing to do. They were just too afraid to do it. The same goes for my pimp story. I highly doubt there was a single person who saw that happening that honestly believed the right thing to do was sit back, watch, and ignore. It's pretty obvious that the right thing to do is help that woman. Everyone was just too afraid.
I think 99% of the time in every day life, we know the right thing to do, we are just too scared to do it. The question is not "What should I do when I see someone being bullied at school?" or "What should I do when my job wants me to do something shady?" We already know the answer. The question is "Will I bravely do what I know is right?"
So David, a boy too young to be a soldier, volunteers to fight Goliath. Where does he get his courage?
The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." Saul said to David, "Go, and the LORD be with you." -- 1 Samuel 17:37
He gets his courage from trusting God. He knows the right thing to do and he trusts that God will help him do it. That's hard to do! When our friends, popularity, job, or whatever is on the line, it can be very difficult to trust God. He doesn't promise to always work things out for us nicely and neatly as we know this story ends up. Sometimes doing the right thing will cost us. Will we choose to trust God anyway? David did.
Another part of the story that is often missed is a funny wardrobe malfunction. King Saul and his soldiers take David and give him the best armor and weapons to go and face Goliath (see 1 Samuel 17:38-40). "Here David, a real soldier needs a sword and armor." But the armor is too big and heavy and David can barely walk in it. The sword is made for a grown man and David hasn't been trained with it. Everyone around him ends up over-complicating things.
David could have spent a bunch of time training with that sword before facing Goliath. The guy had already waited forty days, what's another week? He could have tried to have the armor fitted to him better. Instead, he took them off, grabbed his staff and sling, and went to face the giant. He didn't fall into the trap of over-complicating things.
It's easy to fall into that trap. We know we should share the gospel with our co-worker or classmate, but we are scared and nervous. We convince ourselves that we are not fully ready or equipped as an evangelist. So first, we go read a book on sharing our faith and then attend a ten week Sunday school class on evangelism. Those things are nice, but let's not over-complicate things. Those things are ultimately not where victory comes from. David recognized that. He knew that at the end of the day, the battle wasn't won by swords, size, or armor. He knew the battle belongs to the Lord. David trusted that God had already given him everything he needed to do what was right. So should we.
We all know the climax of this story. Shepherd boy David walks right up to the giant, dodges a spear, and fires one shot from his sling. He hits the bullseye and the giant Goliath falls to the ground. The original Hawkeye. God comes through for David. I'll say the hard thing. He doesn't always wrap things up so neatly. Many times doing the right thing will cost us. But you know what else it does? It inspires.
Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. -- 1 Samuel 17:52
When David did what was right, the entire Israelite army saw. They went from a cowering group of wimps to a ferocious fighting force.
So here is what I've learned from David on what it means to be a hero. Don't pretend you don't know what the right thing to do is. Trust that God can totally come through with power if that's His will. Don't over complicate things. Trust that God will provide what you need in the moment. If we started doing those things, we'd inspire the people around us.
If you need closure with the pimp story, here it is. I put the car in park, told Christy to lock the doors and call the police, and I went and put myself between the pimp and that woman. I was pretty scared. She ran off, I tried to talk him down, and I dodged a few swings of the cane. The people around got a lot more startled when that happened and a few of them started calling the police and yelling at the guy to stop. The cops showed up and the guy fled the scene. Best of all, I think I inspired Christy because she ended up marrying me ;-)
Here's some questions to think through:
- When were you scared to do what was right, but did it anyway?
- When were you scared to do what was right, and didn’t do it?
- Do you agree that most of the time you know what the right thing to do is?
- What things do you know God wants you to do that you are overcomplicating instead of just doing?
- What’s the most inspirational thing you’ve ever seen anyone do? Or even just heard about?
- Imagine you inspire people with your life. What would you want them to say about you? Try to sum it up in two sentences.
- What can you do now to be that kind of person?