We are surrounded with voices. People don’t hold back their opinions, and they certainly don’t waste a minute telling us what they think we should do. Some of these voices are catalysts to reaching our destiny. Most are distractions.
David learned this lesson first hand when he took on Goliath, the great Philistine giant, standing over nine feet tall. Killing Goliath came with three promises from Saul: wealth, a wife, and no taxes for life. Not bad for one act of courage.
Unfortunately, most people didn’t see it that way then, and they still don’t today. The critic’s voice always seems louder than the one who cheers you on. Sideline skeptics often carry the microphone. It’s hard to deal with people-driven distractions or even the invisible crowd. Yet, while they shout, you get to control the power switch. Yes, they may scream the loudest, but you decide how much control they will have over your life.
When David stepped up to face Goliath, he had to silence three voices that shouted their doubts and defiance.
1. David Silenced the Voice of Insignificance
1 Samuel 17:28 says, “But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. ‘What are you doing around here anyway?’ he demanded. ‘What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!’”
David’s brother rubbed insignificance in his face. He demeaned his role as a shepherd and criticized his character. David was unshaken…he simply found another voice to listen to. He walked over to others and asked them what the king would give to the one who defeated Goliath (1 Samuel 17:30).
When the voice of insignificance shouts from the sidelines, do what David did: revisit your vision. Remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Go back to the original dream God planted in your heart, and reset your eyes on the significant vision that outweighs the insignificant voices.
2. David Silenced the Voice of Inadequacy
The second voice David had to silence was that of Saul’s. 1 Samuel 17:32-33 says, “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!” “Don’t be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There’s no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You’re only a boy, and he’s been a man of war since his youth.”
Saul pointed out all of David’s inadequacies compared to the strength of Goliath. He said, “You’re only a boy…” So how did David silence the voice of inadequacy? He remembered his past accomplishments.
David persisted in his response to Saul by telling him of his victory over a lion and a bear. He pointed to his past accomplishments and declared, “The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!” (1 Samuel 17:37). Saul didn’t have a leg to stand on. His voice of inadequacy was silenced by David’s undeniable track record of success.
3. David Silenced the Voice of Insults
There was one more voice David had to silence: the voice of insults. These came directly from his enemy Goliath. 1 Samuel 17:41-44 says, “Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. ‘Am I a dog,’ he roared at David, ‘that you come at me with a stick?’ And he cursed David by the names of his gods. ‘Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!’ Goliath yelled.”
Goliath hurled insults at David, mocked his physical stature, and even criticized his weapon of choice. Once again, David refused to hear any other voice but the Lord’s. He silenced the voice of insults by renewing his faith in God.
1 Samuel 17:45-47 says, “David replied to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!’”
So that raises a question: Whose voice in your life needs to be silenced?
Maybe you need to silence the voice of a family member who is telling you that you’re insignificant, and that you’ll never graduate, never get that job, never reach that goal, and never amount to anything. Maybe you need to silence the voice of a co-worker who’s telling you that your abilities are inadequate for the job. Maybe you need to silence the voice of a supposed friend who insults you with constant put downs because that’s the only way they can feel good about their own messed up life.
Or, maybe you need to silence the biggest voice of them all: the ones that shouts behind your eyes and between your ears. If you’re going to silence the voices in you, and around you, do what David did:
- Revisit your vision (1 Samuel 17:30)
- Remember your past accomplishments (1 Samuel 17:34-37)
- Renew your faith in God (1 Samuel 17:45-47)
The voices around you, and the voices inside your head, only have as much power as you choose to give them. You can silence them today.