And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”

Acts 18: 10, 11

 

Paul had experience with opposition. He had faced angry mobs that were out to get his blood, and he had listened to the harsh words of rejection and ridicule. Yet, he was a stubborn and determined sort of person who was not easily driven away from his mission. But it took more than a strong will to stick it out in the major Greek city of Corinth. It took the will and the presence of the Lord, and that is exactly what Paul was promised in the vision that he saw. The truth and the reality of Christ’s promise to be with His people at all times and in all places or circumstances was Paul’s assurance, and it is also ours today.

 

Fear is a great disabler. I know this too well personally, for fears of many types have stopped me from doing and from saying things that would have been right, worthy, and beneficial. Fear can be one of the tools that Satan uses to silence the proclamation of the gospel and to hold back followers of Christ when He calls us into action for the kingdom. Now Paul’s guarantee that no harm would come to him was literal and specific to that place and time. Yet, there is something more to it than just the promise of physical protection as it seems that the Lord was also saying that what mattered most was safe and secure. Paul’s heart and his soul were to be surrounded and secured by God, and no forces of evil could prevail against him.

 

We can enter into service to Christ with this same assurance. So, we can be as bold as was Paul in speaking the truth of the gospel into the darkened world where we all live. There is safety and security to be found even in the middle of the most difficult of conversations. We can know the peace of Christ in our souls while our hearts are racing in anticipation of a discussion of our faith with the most strident of critics of Christian belief. With the confidence that Christ granted to Paul as our strength we no longer need for our national government or its might and will to be our protector in the world. We can speak out for peace, and we can embrace people who others reject or fear as the same beloved children of God who are as in need of the Father as we once were. In Christ, each of us can stop being controlled by our fears and speak Christ throughout all of our days.

Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.”

1 Samuel 17: 45

 

Fortunately it is a rare day in my neighborhood when a sword and spear wielding giant appears in my yard bearing ill intentions and a very bad disposition while seeking to take possession of my home. Although the specifics of this day’s events are not common to us, there is a striking similarity between them and the way that so many events in life do come our way. Just as using the conventional weapons and tactics of his day must have seemed futile to David, so does applying the skill, training, and experience of my past to these contemporary giants seem like a sure road to defeat.

 

Also, just as surely as Goliath stood before David and taunted, sin and the forces of evil stand before us and seek to provoke us to take action that is foolish and ill conceived. Satan wants us to get so caught up with the challenge and in the struggle that we act out of our own wisdom and by using our personal strength and skill. Yet, David turned the tables on his enemy, for he saw the situation that he was facing in the light of truth. Since David knew that his worth, strength, and purpose all came from God; when Goliath expressed his defiant, angry, and hurtful words to David; he knew that the giant was actually attacking the Lord, and David could respond accordingly.

 

Like David, we can face our battles with the confidence that comes from knowing that the Lord is with us. Then we can turn the confrontation into a time of worship, praise, and rejoicing in the promise of victory that God gives to His people. God’s victory is perfected and completed through Jesus, and the giant that is evil in this world is on his death bed. Thus, his weapons may seem sharp and dangerous, but they are, in fact, broken and of no use in the face of the Lord.