1 Samuel 17 shows us the relentless pressure of living with doom and gloom, with the Israelites ‘dismayed and terrified’ by Goliath’s constant taunting and fear-mongering. We live in an age of doom and gloom, with 24/7 news telling us of wars, disasters, catastrophes and injustices all the time. Social media and the ever-present presence of the smartphone add to the picture; there is no wonder that people feel despairing, depressed and defeated most of the time. It’s very hard to be positive when there is a one-sided drip-drip-drip of negativity and hopelessness pounding your brain every day.

What can we do to combat this? David had not lived in a stress-free environment as a shepherd; he had had to deal with lions and bears wanting to decimate his flock. Nor was he universally popular; his brothers were scornful to say the least when he arrived on the scene: instead of protecting him, they simply criticised and ridiculed him. So we cannot say it was easy for him! But he had soaked himself in God and therefore he was not afraid of the enemy or of ridicule and scorn. If we want to avoid living life dismayed and terrified, we must learn to fix our hearts, minds and thoughts on God (see Col 3:1-2, Heb 3:1, Heb 12:1-3) and must learn to take control of our thoughts. (2 Cor 10:5, Phil 4:8) The battle was won long before David launched the stone at Goliath. The battle is always won in our minds first.