Overcoming Critical Voices – Voice #2, Humiliation

This week I am sharing some excerpts from my new book, Pulse. These excerpts are taken from chapter 2, Courage in which David is making his way to fighting Goliath. Before Goliath draws a sword, David is assaulted with words. Personally, I know no one who has ever been attacked by a sword, but all of us are well acquainted with the cutting sting of words. How do we overcome those inevitable, critical voices? In the next few posts, I want to share with you how to overcome three critical voices that will try to crush your vision, Insinuation, Humiliation, and Intimidation. 

Critic #2: Saul, the Voice of Humiliation

Upon learning that David was ready to fight Goliath, King Saul immediately called David’s lack of size and experience into question.

1 Samuel 17:33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.”

How humiliating was that? Basically, the king told David that he was too small and too young and that Goliath was an experienced champion of war who’d been fighting longer than David had been alive. Goliath was too big for a kid like David.

When people humiliate us, it’s often tempting to belittle them and magnify ourselves. But David did neither. Instead, he magnified his God. His response is instructive for us when we hear the voice of humiliation.

1 Samuel 17:34-37 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”

When we are humiliated by others, it provokes our pride. When belittled, our natural reaction is to take it personally. But David’s heart was in a different place. He was concerned primarily about the honor and glory of God. Saul’s words were directed at him, but he knew well that this situation was not ultimately about him. The battle with Goliath belonged to the Lord. David’s size was not his problem or Saul’s problem. David’s size was God’s problem, and David trusted that God could overcome it.

In fact, David rightly discerned that Saul’s statement revealed more about what Saul thought about the Lord than what Saul thought about him; it revealed a lack of faith in Saul’s heart more than a concern about the relative sizes of David and Goliath.

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But David had not been the king in waiting; he had been the king out working. Out in the fields protecting the sheep, David had already encountered many life-threatening beasts, namely, lions and bears. Goliath wasn’t the first giant he’d faced; he was merely the next one. David had already seen what God could do in bringing brutal foes to nothing. As a result of seeing God’s power, he knew God’s power. He wasn’t concerned with being short when his God was the mightiest of all warriors.

Too many people wait to be named the starter before they decide to get started. Too many people stall and hold out until what they think should happen actually happens. But waiting leads to watching—watching your best opportunities pass by. You can’t wait to be named the starter before you start getting better!

No matter what anyone may say, champions aren’t lucky; they’re good. If you can tangle with bears and grab lions by the beard, then nine-foot giants are much less intimidating. David became “big” because of his experiences, not because of his entitlements. He knew from experience that if God wanted him in the fight, he couldn’t lose. He knew he had a purpose and a calling, so he fearlessly trusted God whether he was fighting a bear, a lion, or a giant.

Don’t wait around for someone to give you some entitlement you might feel you deserve. That’s a waste of time. Instead, step out and experience the power of God in your life. Get started now.

But keep in mind, when you get started, you will likely face the critic of humiliation. Some may humiliate you as a way of making sure you always seem smaller than them. Saul surely wanted to keep David in his place by calling his size into question. But isn’t it ironic that even though Saul was the tallest man in Israel (1 Samuel 9:2), when he was confronted by Goliath, he was too small to fight?

The best way to deal with critics who humiliate you is to keep moving on. Recognize that they are most likely humiliating you because of some issue with their own heart and let it go. You’ve got more important issues to deal with.


Be sure to check out tomorrow’s post, voice #2, Humiliation. For more information about Pulse or how to get your copy, click here.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pulse, subscribe to my website and I will immediately give you access to a digital copy of Chapter 1, Commitment.


How do you deal with critical voices in your life?

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