THE shepherd boy, David, on a simple errand for his father, came to the valley of Elah where his brothers were serving in the Israelite army. There he saw Goliath, the giant of Gath, fully equipped for battle and backed by the Philistine army, parading arrogantly up and down the opposite side of the valley. Goliath was hurling abuse, shouting threats, ridiculing the Israelite army and challenging any member of the opposition to a duel. The Israelites, by contrast, were in a state of shock, immobilized by the challenge that confronted them. David took stock of the situation. He had proved, in rescuing sheep from both a lion and bear, that the power of God, which he relied on, was superior to the so-called power of the enemy.
He accepted the challenge. Saul offered him traditional war weapons but David declined. He took five smooth stones from a brook, fearlessly faced Goliath, and slew him with a single stone. David had said to Goliath, ``All this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hands.''1
We all have to grapple with ``Goliaths'' from time to time, and they do not always appear in the form of a tyrannical personality. The prospect of loss of employment; fear of recurring sickness; a drug problem; racial prejudice -- such things can present challenges of monumental proportions.
Christ Jesus, the Way-shower, demonstrated dominion over every ``Goliath'' he encountered, no matter what its form. He refused the world's weapons. He embodied the Christ-spirit, the power of God, which is the destroyer of evil and is still here today. Jesus was not impressed by evil. He trusted completely in God and told his followers not to be afraid.
But too often evil can seem to be a powerful and threatening reality and something to be feared. It would claim that man is liable to be a victim at every turn, that he can be overwhelmed by forces beyond his control. But the Bible's inspired, healing message clearly points to the underlying spiritual reality of existence, to the supremacy and omnipresence of the one God, who is Love. It reveals the true nature of man as His spiritual image, governed by divine Love, whose will for man is harmony. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``To infinite, ever-present Love, all is Love, and there is no error, no sin, sickness, nor death.''2
As we acknowledge and come to feel through prayer man's spiritual unity with God, we begin to overcome the fear of evil. The twenty-third Psalm says, ``Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.''3
We need not become mesmerized into believing that threatening situations can overwhelm us. When Jesus and his disciples were in a ship on a storm-tossed sea, the disciples expressed great fear. But Jesus understood that no circumstance could separate man from God. He was conscious of the supreme power of God, and this understanding enabled him to silence the storm.
To the degree that we gain an understanding of the omnipotence of God, of His allness and goodness, we are able to overcome the false sense that evil is an actual force. And we'll express less of the fear, hatred, self-will, and so forth that would seem to give evil power.
It's important to see, too, that evil is not really a person. A bombastic, threatening, violent Goliath is a counterfeit of the real individuality of God's creating. We need through prayer to see beyond the appearance of a malicious or destructive mortal to the spiritual reality of man as God's perfect child.
I met ``Goliath'' one night in a parking lot. Some youths blocked my exit with their car and were amused at my efforts to maneuver my way out. I accidentally hit the bumper of their car. They ceased to be amused. I turned to God, acknowledging the truth of what Mrs. Eddy writes: ``It should be thoroughly understood that all men have one Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love.''4 Almost immediately I realized that these people were my brothers, that the true selfhood of each of them was the image of God, perfect and harmless. Just then another car arrived, from which the driver emerged. The youths disappeared.
The power of God that was with David is just as practical and present today to deliver us from any threatening situations we might encounter.
1I Samuel 17:47. 2Science and Health, p. 567. 3Psalms 23:4. 4Science and Health, p. 467. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. Psalms 62:11