As the story goes, young David arrived in the camp of the Israeli army with food supplies for his older brothers. Rather than witnessing an exciting battle, David witnessed a pathetic sight. He saw the army of Israel inactive, paralyzed in fear because of the threatening taunts of the enemy giant Goliath. The challenge of hand-to-hand combat had been issued by the Philistine. But in the camp of the Israeli army there were no takers. It had all the makings of a suicide mission.
At this point, David began to express interest in the challenge. He began asking around, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel?” Upon hearing that his kid-brother was making such inquiries, Eliab entered the picture and delivered a verbal sucker-punch. In 1 Samuel 17:28 Eliab insulted David’s station in life, questioned motives, and attacked his character. David might have expected such treatment from Goliath. I doubt he expected it to come from a brother.
It’s fortunate that David didn’t forget about Goliath and use the sling and stone against Eliab. Though young, David was not weak. Having already killed a lion and a bear, he was more than able to handle Eliab. But David would not be distracted by lesser things. He knew in his heart that the ambush by Eliab was not the real battle. Displaying wisdom beyond his years, David simply turned away (1 Samuel 17:30).
There will always be Eliab’s out there; bitter souls who question your motives and attack your dreams. The dreamless will always target the dreamers. Whether they realize fully what they are doing or not, they attempt to either discourage or distract the faithful from fulfilling their God-given mission. The “Eliab’s” of life are a dime a dozen. Giant killers are rare.
Don’t be surprised when you are faced with a battle before the battle. Keep your wits about you and your heart right. Turn away from the faithless, and look to the Faithful One who, for the joy set before Him, endured and won.
Pastor Todd Weston