Do you remember way back in Sunday School when you learned the story of David and Goliath? If you didn’t go to Sunday School, or you’ve never heard the story, let’s do a quick overview, so we’re all on the same page.
Goliath was a Philistine. He was also a giant who towered over the Children of Israel at a whopping 9 feet tall! He was the Philistine’s best warrior – fearless and brave and proud. Goliath possessed a remarkable suit of armor and I Samuel 17 tells us that his shield-bearer always walked before him. Pretty intimidating. So the Philistines were on a mountain and the Israelites were on another mountain with a valley between them and Goliath calls them out.
Verses 8-10 say: 8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.” 10 Again the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together.”
So it wasn’t to be one army against the other. In throwing down his gauntlet, Goliath changed the rules. Both armies were to depend on one man to save them. The Israelites had to produce a man to fight this scary giant.
The Bible tells us: 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
Heck, yeah! Who wouldn’t be? I mean, a mighty giant, strong and rippling with muscle under his massive suit of armor…challenging the Children of Israel who had no gargantuan warrior to defend them. I would have been gearing up to become a servant for life.
Enter David, the youngest of Jesse’s 8 sons. He was a shepherd boy – tended the family flock. He wasn’t even meant to be at the battle – he was just delivering a meal for his kin. In doing this, he was reprimanded by one of his brothers for leaving the flock to view the battle. David’s response was kind of, “Sheesh! What have I done now?” Then he went to Saul and said he would fight the giant because he’d killed a lion and a bear while protecting his father’s flock. He had great faith when he said, 37 “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
I’m not sure why Saul agreed, but maybe he figured it was futile, so he might as well just let the kid give it a whirl. Or maybe he understood that God was going to take care of his own. Either way, he agreed to send David to face the behemoth. Saul tried to loan David his royal armor, but David couldn’t use it. 40 He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd’s bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.
I really wonder what was tearing through the minds of God’s people when they saw a kid with a sling head out to try to take down a giant in full body armor. I imagine that the crowds grew silent and tense as they waited to see what would transpire.
Goliath mocked and cursed the boy as he approached. David was not deterred. 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.”
Those are mighty words. I can feel God’s power when I read them. So Goliath steps out to begin the battle and David reaches into his pouch, chooses a stone, places it in his sling, winds up…and sends that stone sailing right into the forehead of the giant. Goliath falls to the ground…dead.
50 Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him…
I sat in a church service last Sunday hearing Pastor Randy retell this story. I felt as if God put the words in the heart of this pastor just for me because I was facing a giant that I couldn’t figure out how to defeat. I’d been praying for peace and guidance and I had a feeling that morning as I got dressed that God was sending us to this church to give us something. I asked Him to speak and I’d listen, no matter what He said. Sometimes I ask God for answers and He gives them, but I don’t like the solutions, so I keep looking for something else. That morning I was willing to hear whatever God wanted to tell me. No matter what.
At first I thought my personal giant was cancer. I fight it every day, so it makes sense. But when I considered it more carefully, I realized fear was my giant. You see, I’ve made my peace with the fact that I have a life-threatening disease and no guarantee that I’ll survive it. I believe God makes everything okay and as long as I accept what God considers to be okay, I’m good. So I don’t look at being sick and say that okay equates to being healed; okay means whatever God chooses. And I have peace about that. The one fear I couldn’t find a way to overcome was leaving my children. They need so much and only have me to provide for them. How do you find peace about leaving your seven hearts behind? Believe me, I’ve tried, because it’s a very painful struggle – anything to do with my kids hurting is a struggle. But at that moment, in that service, I received my answer.
Randy spoke about how God lets certain things into our lives for a reason. He’s an active part of our every day. He doesn’t just sit back helplessly and watch bad things befall us, but instead tends carefully to our hearts and lives and only allows in what can help us grow or teach us something we didn’t know – things that strengthen our faith. I’d always believed it, but that morning something else registered deep inside me. It wasn’t just believing that God only allows what is best for us, it’s also the realization that He keeps so many things from us. I can recall countless times where something bad almost happened, but by the grace of God, I was spared. When I took that one step further, I was deeply moved to finally understand that there are myriad trials of which I was never even aware that Satan wanted to drop on my head, but God didn’t allow. That staggers me.
Maybe you’re wondering how this applies to facing, and taking down, my giant. To me it’s simple. It could have been worse. God could have allowed much worse but He chose to let only this in. He allowed it for all of us, but God only wants what is best for my family, so I accept it all. I don’t want to leave my children, but I finally have peace in knowing that although it looks pretty bad from my point of view, God is in His heaven looking at the bigger picture. He allowed this for good and I’ve already seen some remarkable things come from this illness. No matter what the outcome, we will all love Him more, be drawn closer to Him, and have nothing but praise for His intimate workings in our hearts and minds moment by moment. And He will never leave my children. What other comfort could be greater?
Sunday morning I was able to gather my five smooth stones and take down a giant I never thought I’d overcome. I did it in the Name of my God and with His power. I know there will be more giants, but as long as I’m willing to face them with God’s help, they’ll be falling at my feet. How awesome is that?
All passages taken from New American Standard Bible