Slaying Giants

Slaying Giants

DAY 1 OF 5

The Discouragement Giant

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:11 (NIV)

To be perfectly candid and honest, I will tell you that I think it is the exception that some people are not going through some personally challenging times at present. You name it, and they will tell you that it is either financial, health, job, relationships, or a feeling of hopelessness. Some are struggling with raising children in such a dangerous and morally deficient time. They live in fear for their children. Some will tell you that the bombardment of negative news and the violence they see threaten their peace. The political environment is, at times, a battlefield. Worldwide events are extremely concerning. This brings a feeling of dread about the future to some. Diseases of many kinds continue to show up, and the little peace that we once felt about being “past something” is shattered as we have to face still more viral and economic threats. Earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, pestilence, disease, economic crisis, violence, and many other threats loom around us. Mmmm? Wonder why so many people feel downcast. Easy to see why. Are you downcast? Are you discouraged?

If you are not downcast, you will likely be one day, and then you will understand why the word is so descriptive. When I think of being downcast, I think of being sad, depressed, and discouraged. But there’s another word that describes it better, for it hits at the heart of it and is appropriately called disheartened.

The word is defined as a loss of hope, enthusiasm, or courage. Think of a battle-weary soldier with battle fatigue going through the motion of an endless battle that seems to never end. Even leaving the battlefield doesn’t end there. They call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We understand it is P.T.S.D. when we see the symptoms in this man or woman, as it is able to be diagnosed. We are seeing disheartened people. In a way, many people would describe what they feel as being disheartened. In a biblical sense, they are downcast and clearly discouraged.

I think it not ironic that David, who wrote this passage in Psalms, knew his way around a battlefield. He would understand P.T.S.D. firsthand. He would understand the threat. He would understand betrayal. He would understand heartbreak, and yes, he would understand the feeling of being disheartened. Scholars feel that David wrote this passage when Absalom was pursuing him to kill him and replace him. Can you imagine how this would have been for the old man David? Only about three years before his death from natural causes, his son tried to kill him. Could there be anything greater to send a man into grief, despair, depression, and a complete sense of being downcast to his lowest point than this? Realizing this makes me look at it in relative terms. I realize that none of my challenges have ever risen to this level of grief. David knew that what he is sharing with us in this Psalm is the way of getting through this downcast condition, and it can also be our help.

As David processes what is going on in this darkest hour of his life, he remembers things that happened before that ended well. He remembered Saul’s efforts to kill him and how they failed. He remembered the countless battles he had fought, beginning with the giant Goliath. All natural and metaphysical rules would tell David and all the men who watched him that the odds of beating this giant were against him.
There was no way that David could prevail against the giant, and yet, at the end of the day, David held Goliath’s head up in his hand after severing it from the giant’s body. David remembered the faithfulness of God during that time, and he knew that this is where he would find his comfort in this current threat.
He begins to speak to himself in the second person to process it with faith, assurance, and hope.

Why, my soul, are you downcast?”
“Why so disturbed within me?”
“Put your hope in God”

Do you see how David, the battlefield veteran, literally reasons himself through his downcast condition and then claims the victory before he receives it? That is what faith is. It is taking ownership of something before we see it, based on the definition in Hebrews 11:1.What did David receive by faith? He says it:

“for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

Indeed. Once again, David would see God’s rescue. For the next several days, I’d like for us to do our own processing with the things that cause you and me to become downcast. I believe there is a victory to be found for the one who is downtrodden, downcast, or disheartened. Let’s approach it like that. Let’s find the courage to not only stand firm in these times but as well to thrive in them. As a follower of Christ, we are told that we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). Let us be just that. Let’s be the conquerors over the giants that have risen their ugly heads to threaten us. God will show us how to battle them, for He has done so many times before.


About this Plan

Slaying Giants

For the next several days, we will do our processing with the things that cause you and me to become downcast. Let’s find the courage to stand firm in these times and thrive in them as well. As followers of Christ, we ar...

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