1 Samuel 17, 19-24
Something to read
Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, took the provisions, and went as Jesse had commanded him. He came to the encampment as the army was going forth to the battle line, shouting the war cry.
Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army.
David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage, ran to the ranks, and went and greeted his brothers.
As he talked with them, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines, and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.
All the Israelites, when they saw the man, fled from him and were very much afraid.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
The Israelites and the Philistines are fighting. Or if we read more carefully, they are preparing to fight. The battle lines are drawn up. The armies are shouting cries of war. The Philistines are flexing their muscles. Goliath, huge and intimidating, speaks. And the Israelites are so terrified that they can do nothing but run away.
Of course not everyone has the luxury of being able to run away from objects of terror. But this story of being immobilised by fear is one that we see being played out again and again. Goliath may take different forms.
But whether it be natural disaster, or being tested for HIV, or violence from rebel forces, or the prospect of failing crops, fear can be a paralysing force.
Christian Aid speaks out against the systems and structures that make people poor. But we're committed to working on the ground with people who too often are living in fear.
Through educating communities about the early-warning signs of natural disasters, homes and livelihoods can often be protected.
Through challenging stigma, and supporting people to get tested for HIV, some of the fear surrounding the virus can be broken down.
Through training farmers to adapt to increasingly erratic weather patterns, food production can be maintained.
Christian Aid believes that poverty can be ended. But while it's still a reality, we're working with poor communities so that some of the most insurmountable challenges they face can be addressed, and they don't have to live in fear.
Something to do
We all have things we are afraid of, 'Goliaths' that can seem huge and intimidating. Is there an object of fear that you can help to break down on behalf of someone else? This could be something very small – a word of reassurance to a friend, an offer of help to a colleague.
It could be campaigning against an issue that affects millions of people. Or it could simply be offering a person or situation in prayer. The story of David and Goliath tells us that the things we are most afraid of can be overcome. How can you be a part of that in the world?
Something to pray
God of power, we hold before you all who fear. Come into our fear, and come into the fear of the world, so that together we can build your kingdom where all can live in safety, and the fears that paralyse us can be broken down.
Today's contributor is the Rev Kate Tuckett, former Church Resources Manager for Christian Aid, now Curate at Holy Trinity, South Wimbledon