It’s easy to define comfort by what it’s not, or what it lacks. In the textbook definition, comfort is the absence of fear, pain, or constraint. In other words, to be comfortable means that you’re not scared, you’re not hurting, and there’s nothing that you need or need to do.
In his book Goliath Must Fall, Louie Giglio writes about the giant of comfort. The usual suspects are oppressive ogres like fear and rejection. But the enemy will use anything in his arsenal to bluster you back from the battlefield… or to lure you to lounge in the comforts of camp.
The unnamed giant in 1 Samuel 17 is the giant of comfort. Goliath was the scary giant that pushed soldiers to shrink back from battle. Comfort was the subtle giant that whispered to them to stay in the security of the camp.
Jesse’s three oldest sons were in uniform for the army of Israel. He sent his youngest son David to deliver provisions for his brothers and bring back word on their condition. David had been feeding the sheep back on the farm, but dutifully headed to the battlefield. David’s mission was clear: leave the groceries and pick up the news. But David was diverted by an overriding concern.
There was a status quo when David arrived in camp that day.
For at least 40 days, the three oldest brothers had been camped out against the Philistines, but it seems that there had been no battle. Twice a day for six weeks, Goliath had come out to curse and challenge the Israelites to send somebody to fight him. But nobody wanted to go out and face him.
Here’s what we know:
1) David was taking care of things back home (v. 15).
2) David was bringing groceries from home (v. 17).
I’m not downplaying the facts that Goliath was huge, or that the brothers had taken up arms for their country. But the brothers didn’t have to worry about the sheep, because David had been shepherding in their absence. They didn’t have to worry about hunger, because David arrived with groceries. Nor had they been fighting the giant, but David is about to handle that.
There’s a really good, accurate term to describe what the older brothers are doing when David arrives: it’s called camping. They are in uniform, exempted from the drudgery of the farm, but they aren’t actually fighting. Goliath was the scary giant keeping the status quo, but comfort was the subtle giant helping the scary giant.
This status quo could have gone on indefinitely, as long as David kept feeding the sheep at home and feeding the brothers on the battlefield. The problem was the blasphemous giant, and David didn’t have the same reasons as the brothers to avoid the fight.
David wasn’t intimidated, because he had a proven record of killing scary stuff.
David wasn’t enticed by the comfortable status quo, because he had been working overtime to feed the sheep and his sheepish brothers. Most importantly, David sensed a divine mandate to face the giant.
This scary giant didn’t scare him, and this subtle giant didn’t seduce him.
As Giglio points out, we want to be David in this narrative. But in reality, we are the scared, complacent brothers. It’s fun to be on the team when you get to wear the jersey, eat the pregame meal, and go to the pep rally… especially if you’re not worried about getting hurt in the actual game. The brothers could camp for another day or another month, as long as their little brother showed up with more groceries.
In four minutes, David handled what they hadn’t handled in 40 days. Jesus is the liberating hero depicted in the bravery of David. His divine mandate freed the cowardly, complacent brothers to live in victory over the taunts of the giant. Jesus conquered sin and the grave, satisfying God’s requirements and stifling the taunts of our enemy.
When was the last time that you embraced the power of that divine victory and left the comfort of the status quo?