What Is Your Goliath?
“…there is a God in Israel.” 1 Samuel 17:46
The story of David and Goliath is well known. It’s one of the first stories you learn as a child attending Sunday school. People who’ve never even attended church know the story of David and Goliath. It’s a great story! I mean it has everything you want in a story…good vs. evil, the underdog, the prideful undefeated foe, action, a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, and a hero. It’s like the movie Rocky IV or The Karate Kid. We love stories like this because they give us hope. They spark something in us that refuses to surrender to our circumstances no matter how dire they seem.
1 Samuel 17 starts off with the armies of the Philistines and the Israelites about to face off in battle. They have both positioned themselves on a hill with a valley between them. Goliath steps forward and begins taunting the Israelites to find a man to fight him. It’s worth noting that during ancient times, some battles would be fought just by one man on each side fighting and the winner would determine the outcome of the entire battle. So Goliath tells the Israelites that if they can find a man to fight and kill him, then the Philistines would become their servants. But if he kills the man they present, then the Israelites will become servants of the Philistines. It was quite obvious to everyone who heard this what the outcome would likely be, which is why the Israelites didn’t send anyone forward for 40 days. And each morning and evening, Goliath would come out and taunt the Israelites.
The Israelites were terrified. Can you even imagine? Here is this giant of a man, boldly coming forward twice a day for forty days, proclaiming that he will kill anyone who dares step up to fight him. In verse 8, he shouts, “Why do you come out and line up for battle?” He’s basically saying what’s the point. You should already surrender. There’s no way that you guys are going to defeat our guys. There’s no way that you can win here.
Even though you’ve probably never faced a moment exactly like this, we’ve all had Goliath moments. Times when the odds were stacked against us. When our problem was taunting us and causing fear to come barreling in like a thunderstorm. Moments when panic sets in and we are stripped down to the reality of who we are….flesh and bone, imperfect, weak-willed, and struggling beings. Fear grips us and pushes us to the lowest form of ourselves.
We become incapable of moving or acting and this happened to the Israelites. No one stepped up to fight this giant, and so Goliath taunted them for forty days. Word had gotten around camp that the king would give the man who kills Goliath great wealth but no promise of riches stirred an Israelite man to take on the challenge.
Even though the chapter doesn’t say it, I think we can all imagine the types of conversations the Israelite army was having with each other. Fear of our problem or circumstances can cause our minds to scramble about and lead us deeper into despair. I’m sure the days seemed longer by the week, as King Saul waited to hear from any soldier that would be up for the challenge. Often times, when we are faced with a “giant” in our lives, we worry ourselves to no end and let the problem consume us from the inside out. Self-doubt and inadequacies to deal with the problem make our circumstances feel insurmountable. Other times, we try to avoid the problem and hope it goes away, all the while having this unsettled feeling that secretly gnaws at us daily.
Too many times we, like King Saul and the Israelite army, being caught up in our fear and circumstances, forget about the One we know as our Lord and Savior. But not David! And this is where the story takes a glorious turning point. David, small and unassuming, makes a bold declaration in verse 37, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” The turning point for the Israelite army was when faithshowed up in the person David, and the turning point in your circumstances is when your faith shows up too!
David had intimate knowledge of God. He had a relationship with him that extended back many years from him being in the field as a shepherd. It was a cultivated relationship that was built on years of David trusting God and seeing His faithfulness time and time again. When David heard Goliath taunting the Israelites, he was not fearful…he was emboldened. Why? Because he had no doubts about the God he served. He knew the character of God. He knew the faithfulness of God. He could recount the times that God saved him from the lion and the bear. What about you? Can you remember the times that God came through for you? When we are facing giants, we need to encourage ourselves in the Lord and remember who we call our Lord and Savior. No one or no thing is more giant than he.
David knew that it didn’t matter how small he looked on the outside, he served a big God on the inside.
And David cannot stand by and let the name of the Lord be defiled. He loves the Lord. He knows God is bigger than any problem that the Israelites are facing, even Goliath and the Philistine army. When Goliath saw David approaching he said, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And David responds, “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, who you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beast of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.”
Wow! Now, those are some fightin’ words. I can only imagine how those words stung the great Philistine giant who probably had never heard a word of agitation from anyone ever because of his great size and strength. There is no doubt where David stands here in his faith of God. What a lesson for us to learn here. Stop looking at what stands before you and start looking to the One who goes before you.
What is your giant?
What is that problem or that circumstance that is taunting you?
Claim the battle won in the Lord’s name! Just like David, boldly claim victory over your “Goliath” because “there is a God in Israel.” He is beside you and goes before you.
Let your faith arise. Have bold faith. Don’t succumb to the Goliaths in your life, when you serve the God of David.