So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them. 1 Samuel 17:3
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to remember hard moments from your life and how easy it is to forget the good moments? I am not sure why this is the case, but I find in my life that I remember disappointments much more quickly than the miracles that God has done in my life. I do not have to work to remember my disappointments and difficult times; I have to work to remember God's miracles and provisions. Maybe you can relate. Lately, because of this, I have been thinking about the importance of choosing positivity. I am reminded to actively remember God's goodness in my life and hope, with confident expectation for His goodness in whatever I am facing. The truth is, our attitude is directly affected by what we focus on.
We learn quickly in 1 Samuel 17 that the people of Israel were in a battle against the Philistines. This intimidating army included a man named Goliath, a giant who was taunting the Israelites and their God, our God, the one true God. As he taunted the Israelite army, including the king at the time, Saul, they cowered in fear. No soldier in Israel was willing to go into battle against Goliath. No one in the entire Israelite army held on to optimism and believed that the Israelite army would be able to defeat Goliath and the Philistine army. One reason why this was the case is that the Israelites focused on the Philistine army and their giants instead of God. 1 Samuel 17:3 tells us that "the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them." Don't miss this. These two camps of the Israelite and Philistine army were literally facing each other.
I cannot prove this, but with their opposing locations, it stands to reason that the Israelite army spent a lot of time staring in the direction of the Philistines, waiting for their next threat and taunt. Perhaps, Israel spent so much time focusing on the army and giants ahead of them that they stopped focusing on God and His promises to them. I am convinced this is the reason the army was consumed by pessimism and negativity. They were focusing on the wrong thing. They were so consumed by the size and scope of the Philistine army that they forgot God was infinitely larger and more powerful.
The things we choose to focus on directly impact our attitudes. They influence whether we will choose positivity and optimism or negativity and pessimism. We must decide. Will we focus today on the seeming "giants" that surround us, or will we focus on God and His promises? I assure you that God is the only One worth every single ounce of our attention and affection, and when we shift our gaze on Him, we cannot help but live with optimism that defies any situation that we may face.
Spend some time journaling to remember God's goodness in your life. Write about a time that God worked miraculously this past year. As you write, thank God for His goodness to you and ask Him to help you maintain a positive attitude of hope for your current situations and your future.
Read 1 Samuel 17:1-11 (NLT)
The Philistines now mustered their army for battle and camped between Socoh in Judah and Azekah at Ephes-dammim. Saul countered by gathering his Israelite troops near the valley of Elah. So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them.
Then Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was over nine feet tall! He wore a bronze helmet, and his bronze coat of mail weighed 125 pounds. He also wore bronze leg armor, and he carried a bronze javelin on his shoulder. The shaft of his spear was as heavy and thick as a weaver’s beam, tipped with an iron spearhead that weighed 15 pounds. His armor bearer walked ahead of him carrying a shield.
Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me! If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.