If you have even a passing interest in sports, you are aware of the expression ‘trash talking’. The expression has certainly come to prominence in recent years. Athletes have elevated the infamous practice to a verbal art form. Trash talking consists of belittling an opponent and extolling one’s own prowess. It is an attempt to intimidate a rival by words rather than actual physical superiority. This practice may also referred to as talking ‘smack’.
The concept of trash talking is not new. Across human history, people have engaged in this nefarious practice under various names. Two well known Biblical events exemplify this practice.
- During the time that Nehemiah was leading the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem’s tumbled down walls, his detractors engaged in trash talking him and his effort. In Nehemiah 4, disparagers mocked Nehemiah and called the people weak Jews. With derision, they taunted the people saying that if a little fox jumped up on the wall it would collapse.
- The account of David and Goliath offers a second look at Biblical trash talkers. Two statements in the account catch my attention. First, “Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel” (1 Samuel 17:8). Next, “On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified” (1 Samuel 17:11). There is no record of Goliath winning a single battle or killing another solider. He may well have been nothing more than a big, clumsy klutz, a trash-talking big mouth.
Often Satan, the father of lies and trash talk, succeeds in demoralizing and defeating people without much resistance. He is a master of pointing out our weaknesses and reciting our past failures. He points out what appears to be overwhelming circumstances against us. Many people yield without a fight. Like the Israelites, when “Goliath …of Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance … they all fled from him in great fear” (1 Samuel 17:23-24).
Thankfully, God has not left us powerless to Satan’s attacks. The book of Revelation reveals the three sure-fire weapons God has given us to silence Satan’s threats: “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Revelation 12:10-11).
In addition, scripture gives us this promise: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (1 Timothy 1:7). We are also told in the Book of James, “Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you. Come near to God, and God will come near to you” (James 4:7-8, NCV).
A Final Word: “There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love” (1 John 4:18, MSG).
~ Brother Roy