Influencers Devotionals

Slaying Giants by Rocky Fleming- Day One

July 25, 2022

Slaying Giants

by Rocky Fleming

 Five Day Reading Plan

 Day One:  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)


Being 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 with fear for their children.  Some will tell you that the bombardment of negative news and the violence they see threatens their peace.  The political environment is a battlefield and many of the outspoken public servants who were elected to serve this country and protect it are in fact tearing it apart and dividing it.   We live in a world where a ruthless, worthless thug is killing innocent people in Ukraine, and nobody seems to be able to stop him, for he has his hand on a nuclear trigger.  This brings a feeling of dread about the future to some.  Disease of many kinds continues 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 so 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 it there.  They call it P.T.S.D.  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 there are many people who 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 threat.  He would understand betrayal.  He would understand heartbreak, and yes, he would understand a 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 of natural causes, his son was trying 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, as I realize that none of my challenges have ever risen to this level of grief.  David knew what he is sharing with us in this Psalm is the way of getting through this downcast condition, and it can be our help as well.

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 fought, beginning with the giant Goliath.  All natural and physical 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 a second person to process through 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. 

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 victory to be found for the one who is downtrodden, downcast or disheartened.  Let’s approach it like that.  Let’s find our 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 do battle with them, for He has done so many times before.