The Hero’s Heart

‘Self Esteem’ is all about one’s own evaluation of oneself, the extent of which determines one’s attitude, reactions and levels of confidence while interacting with fellow beings.

Now isn’t that a lot of theory that sounds intense? So, let us turn to the Bible to learn from the lives of two personalities with strong self-esteem and yet, there were striking differences.

The heroes of 1 Samuel 17:

One, who was well built and huge. His head would have touched the ceilings of our rooms; he had a huge outfit to cover his large physique and he literally wore a coat that weighed more than most people in the prime of their youth! You look at him, and he would be shining with all the metal equipment he was carrying and he even needed a bearer to carry his shield – his means of protection. Such was his deafening attitude that he shouted out challenging his onlookers because he was so sure that he was born to defeat, born to baffle people and born to stay a champion. Or that was what he thought of himself!

He was a one-man army standing up for his nation. And his self-esteem led to arrogance and there was simply no sign of cowardice. His dominating language day after day simply brought terror to the spectators and news about him had spread like wildfire.

And then there’s the second person – the one who was in the king’s service; not as a soldier, but as a musician! He might have been younger to me, considering the fact that he was the youngest of his brothers and 20 was the age at which an Israelite man was subject to military duty (Numbers 1:3). All that was expected of him was to take the supplies to his brothers and get good news from them back home! Obedient as he was, he didn’t for once feel offended or odd in doing that duty and so he set off early to see his siblings. On reaching there, even as the army was going out to its battle positions, fear had not gripped his heart and he ran to greet his dear ones. That’s when he was exposed to the challenge posed by the hero from the enemy, the hero who stepped out from his position just to taunt and humiliate with words.

All Israel sought after a person who would stand up and fight this hero. They tried propagating the rewards that he would be entitled to if he succeeded in killing this giant, and so save Israel from disgrace. And there was David, ruddy and handsome and yet with a sense of righteous anger that someone dare insult the army of his Living God! He didn’t speak up just to show his anger, like how we all usually show sympathy, instead he meant every word that he said. he went all the way to the king to re- assure him and even offers himself. He convinced the king with examples from his own life and his convictions and trust in the living God resonates through his speech so much so that the king himself is encouraged to bless him and send him for the fight.

David’s only weapons were his staff, 5 smooth stones from the stream, a shepherd’s bag and a sling. David’s only confidence was in the Living God who saved him from the lion and the bear. To him, Goliath was just another animal that tried to attack God’s sheep. What he must have thought would have been, “This giant is so huge; my stone is sure to not miss its mark!” Despised and even cursed by his opponent, maybe even ridiculed by his fellow army men, David approached Goliath with such courage for he knew the God he served and he had experienced the Lord’s great providence. What did he intend? Not to win a battle, for the battle was the Lord’s; not to be famous, for he yearns that the world may know of God; and never for the rewards; for his reward, he knew, was in heaven.

David’s traits – agility by making use of the terrain as a resource, unwavering focus, perfect synchronisation, and steadfast hope and there in lay his biggest achievement.

David’s self-esteem lay not in popularising his family, but making his God known. For that was his only source of support and emotional strength.
Both heroes were bold characters. Both were indeed famous. And yet, there was a striking difference, an obvious distinctiveness of conviction and contrasting outcomes. Whose side are you on?

-Eva Thomas

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