When difficulties come your way, do you rely on your family, friends, money, career or health? Or is there something else? These things are not inherently bad. However, if we look to these God Substitutes to support us in the only way God can, then these things could be detrimental to us spiritually. If we look to these God Substitutes to fulfill His role in our lives, we can have a false sense of hope and security. Only God can meet all our needs (Philippians 4:19).
I have used my career as a God Substitute. When the loneliness of singleness cast a giant-size shadow on areas of my life, I looked to my career to fill the void. I threw myself into my job, working long hours as well as yearning for the approval of supervisors and peers to feed the hungry giant of isolation. Those feeble attempts to satisfy the giant craving of my hungry soul fell short in the end. I needed God instead of the God Substitute.
When David was just a shepherd boy, he faced his own giant. Instead of trying to fight Goliath by using God Substitutes, He chose to fight the giant with God on his side (1 Samuel Chapter 17). “David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty…’” (1 Samuel 17:45). We know the rest of the story, with David’s God, David slew the giant with one stone flung from his sling.
When David wrote Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God”, I wonder if David was thinking of that day on the battlefield when, with God, he defeated Goliath instead of using the God Substitutes of a sword and armor?
Sometimes we chose to face our giant-size issues by substituting other things and people for God. It is a quick fix but with no long term benefits. Only God can help us face our giants, whatever they may be: a troubled teenager, a bad report from the doctor, another lonely night. If God can defeat David’s giant with just one stone, God can take care of whatever overwhelming issue you may have. Go to Him instead of your God Substitutes.