The Voice of Intimidation

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? We have already looked at the voices of insinuation and humiliation. Now let’s discuss the most frightening voice of the three, intimidation. 

Critic #3: Goliath, The Voice of Intimidation

When David stepped onto the battlefield, Goliath took it as an insult: “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” (1 Samuel 17:43).

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In the annals of ancient battles, you will discover that before there was fighting, there was talking. It was customary for warriors to brag about their own superiority and strength and to parody their opponent’s weaknesses. Trash talking is an ancient art.

Insults are weapons against your “want to.” Intimidation is an attack on the will. We see this in every area of life from athletics to politics. It’s easier to call someone slow than to chase them. It’s easier to dismiss someone as ignorant than to listen to them. If a person’s will can be stunted with brutal words, it makes the fight that much easier to win.

But rather than paralyze his will, David saw Goliath’s intimidation tactics as an invitation, especially when Goliath began to mock the one true God. In ancient warfare, this was also customary. It was part of the routine of trash talking to mock the gods of your opponent.

Earlier, David had asked some of the soldiers at the battlefield, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Samuel 17:26). Then, as David drew near to Goliath, we read, “The Philistine cursed David by his gods” (v.43).

David understood that the battle with Goliath was not merely for the honor of Israel’s army, but for the honor of God himself. This was the part of Goliath’s taunts that pushed David over the edge. Judging by David’s response, he cared very little about what Goliath thought of his size. But he cared very much about the honor and glory of God, and he cared very much about shutting the mouth of a Philistine who would dare defy Israel’s holy King!

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1 Samuel 17:45-47 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head.”

Intimidation is a distraction from the mission. In response, David could have gone into a diatribe about his amazing talents with the sling, but there was no need. Rather than boast about his talent, he simply used it for the glory of God. Nothing more needed to be said to Goliath. He would discover soon enough how great David was with a sling!

How do you handle the critical voice of intimidation? Stay focused. The mission is too important to get sidetracked by bullies.

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Be sure to check out the previous posts in this series, Insinuation and Humiliation.

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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