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The Battle David Did Not Fight

A seventeen-year-old David showed up in a battlefield just when the battle lines were drawn. The future of two nations would be decided in a gruelling duel between champions from both sides. But nobody in Saul's army could match the towering giant the opposing side had put forward.

In the Bible account in 1 Samuel 17, David was just visiting the military camp as instructed by his father. Three of David's older brothers were in the army and their father sent David to see how they were getting on.

Shortly after arrival, David noticed that King Saul's army was retreating from the enemy. He could see they were intimidated by the might of the opposition. David got interested and started asking questions to the soldiers. He wanted to know what the reward would be for taking on the bragging giant on the other side.

Just as David was talking to the men, his oldest brother, Eliab appeared. Eliab is not interested in how his kid brother managed to manoeuvre his way to the front lines safely. Food and provisions are not Eliab's priority. Certainly, little David would not get a pat on the back.

Provocations at the edge of breakthrough

Do you have someone who keeps telling you that you don't deserve to be where you are, talking you down, and seeing you as less than?

Eliab did not see David beyond the little boy running around with sheep. As far as Eliab was concerned, David was not qualified to be discussing military strategies for a major international war.

Sometimes, people can misunderstand your best intentions. Here was a boy risking his life to take food to his brothers in an extremely dangerous situation.

But what his older brother saw was that David left his "few sheep" behind to go watch the battle.

Isn't that ridiculous? Which sane person will leave his business to go be a spectator in a raging war?

This is where David showed pure genius in focusing on bigger things. He proved the wisdom of prioritising battles. As ridiculous as Eliab's tirade was, David was unfazed. He would not be drawn into a small battle that promises no reward.

David was a big-time man. He knew that though many battles may choose us, we must be careful to choose the battle we take on per time.

This is because battles are made different, and the rewards come in different packages.

Choose your giants

David's older brother was a giant in his own right. Eliab was the first son of the family and a member of the armies of Israel. But David would not get any reward or recognition for fighting his own brother when the real giant was out there.

The two great Ukrainian brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko were the most dominant heavyweight boxers of their era. I am sure some ingenious boxing promoters would have toyed with the idea of getting both brothers to square up against each other.

It never happened. Vitali and Wladimir took turns to annihilate all external oppositions throughout their reign as world champions. The Klitschko brothers were always in each other's corners during those boxing contests.

Many relationships, marriages, businesses, and churches would be more successful in overcoming conflicts and crises if people are savvy in identifying and focusing on the real giant.

Many people have stopped attending church or lost their faith completely because of what Eliabs in churches did or said to them. Those people accepted the wrong battles and missed the bigger one.

What can we learn from David?

David rose above wild untrue allegations. When people say things about you that are false, discouragement can set in. But not so with David. What does it matter if Eliab says I am here to catch fun with the battle when I know why I am here?

He ignored those sneering and condescending words so that he could fill his mind with positive information. He kept asking the question despite Eliab's discouraging jabs. He wanted to know what the reward would be for taking on the giant.

David side-stepped small battles. Those small battles delay entrance into the main arena. David did not spend time responding to his older brother. Such distractions would have delayed his exploits.

You can't stop on your way to a world title fight to have a fist fight with a random guy on the street.

When Eliab questioned his competence, David did not stand up for his ego. He let it slide. Turn away and don't spend time trying to prove your value, promote yourself, argue your competence or perhaps respond with an equal amount of negativity.

David had his slings on him all along. It doesn't matter that Eliab did not believe in David's ability; the boy knew he had something that God can use. It was just a sling but that was enough.

The people could be right about you lacking whatever it is that they think is important. But the little you have in you is enough for God to work with.

David would not call off the bigger vision despite the discouragement. Eliab wanted David to just go home and run around with the sheep. But David would not walk away from the giant that would become his promotion. He kept asking the questions until he got a chance to take down the giant.

In conclusion, it pays to carefully weigh your battles, so you don't get yourself entangled in less rewarding duels.

Ask God to give you the wisdom you need to know which battles to ignore at home, school, work, church and everywhere you may find yourself.

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