“The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:17 NIV)
Sand particles are tiny and easily slips through our hands. Combined though, they can become quite powerful. Take, for example, glass, which is made out of sand particles. It protects us from the elements, it gives us light, and helps us to see the unknown universe and the unseen tiny world of the living.
A glass lens is nothing more than a bent piece of glass, but that curved piece of glass changes the way we perceive the world. It all started in 1608, when a Dutch spectacle maker named Hans Lippershey put two lenses behind one another and was astonished to see a close-up view of a distant steeple. Wow!
Soon, people all over Europe were putting lenses into all kinds of devices. Spy glasses became a fad. An Italian scientist named Galilelo went a step further and created what we now know as the telescope, which is a more elaborate version of a spy glass, and helps us study of the stars.
In 1764 a Dutch naturalist named Antonj van Leeuwenhoek built the most powerful microscope of his time. He discovered that a simple drop of water could teem with abundant microscopic life, unseen to the naked eye. Our universe is filled with wonders that are unseen!
David, a man after God’s own heart, also believed in the unseen. Sadly, most people in his time preferred to believe in the visible rather than in what they could not see. Take, for example, the time when a giant named Goliath defied the armies of Israel and challenged one of their rank to a duel to the death. Who in his right man would face a man measuring 2.9 meters (9 feet, 6 inches)? It’s no wonder that no one in the army of Saul took the challenge. Instead “all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.” (1Sam 17:11b)
A bunch of chickens we may think, but would we have done any better? That giant was more than half again my height, and he was solidly muscled!
Still, aren’t those of us who are in God’s army supposed to be fearless? What happened here? Sadly the soldiers of Saul’s army became distracted by what they saw instead of relying on the invisible.
One day, young David came to visit his brothers in the army. He came just as Goliath was defying the Lord’s army. David was completely shocked when Saul’s soldiers “all fled from him in great fear.” (1Sam 17:24b)
But David didn’t flee. No way! Instead he stood firm and cried out: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1Sam 17:26b) I can imagine the soldiers around him all telling him to be quiet.
But he didn’t stop here. Despite the fact that he wasn’t even of army age, he went directly to King Saul and convinced him that he would take Goliath’s challenge.
Why? Because he put his faith in the unseen and discarded the visible threat. To him, Goliath was only a tiny annoyance, and this was nothing more than an opportunity to show that God is way bigger than a 2.9 meter giant! He declared: “The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (1Sam 17:37a)
David took his staff and picked up five smooth stones from the stream, and with them in his pouch and his sling in his hand, he confronted his enemy. Wasn’t God’s enemy his enemy as well?
The giant was astonished that the one taking this challenge “was little more than a boy . . .” (1Sam 17:42b) He mocked David, seeing him as easy prey, nothing more than a tiny mosquito that could be squashed easily. He wondered out loud: “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” (1Sam 17:43b)
Unfazed, young David spoke boldly forth the following words: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head.” (1Sam 17:45b-46a)
The rest is history. Goliath was struck by one of David’s stones. The mighty was vanquished by what seemed to be a weakling: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2Cor 12:10b) The seen was conquered by the unseen!
We, too, can face anything when we don’t focus on appearances. It’s all a question of perspective. After all, the unseen is far more powerful than the seen!
This devotional all started with tiny particles of sand, which eventually turned the world upside down! We may be weak, but when we rely on the Unseen One, the One who is beyond power, we, too, can become powerful!
Would you like to try a match with Muhammad Ali?
(To access the entire “Facing Unimaginable Odds” devotional series, please click here.)