In the last post we were looking at the story of David and Goliath, and in this post we are going to look at the practical way of killing giants in our lives. Before I do that, however, there are a couple of aspects of the confrontation between Israel and Goliath that we would do well to dwell upon for a few moments.
In the book of 1st Samuel we read, “All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid.” (17:24) When Goliath yelled out his challenge and King Saul’s army saw the man behind the challenge to fight they fled in fear. It is interesting that so often in our own lives, when confronted with giants, the very voice of the giant spinning in our head makes us fearful and just like the Israelites, when we look at the giant, we flee.
On a basic level of life self-preservation is engrained into our psyche and the need to flee from immediate and overwhelming danger is quite natural. Also, how we look at a problem is crucial to how we will attempt to deal with it. For the Israelite army they saw the giant, then measured themselves up in reference to his size and concluded they were incapable of accepting the challenge to combat with such a formidable foe so they fled from him.
Another interesting aspect of the story is the introduction of David’s brother. He is part of the army and has heard Goliath many times and has never had the courage to go up against the giant. But now that David, the shepherd boy and his brother, questions members in the army about Goliath he becomes defensive and accusing. “Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, ‘why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption, and the evil of your heart; for you have come down to see the battle.’” 1 Sam. 17:28
It always amazes me that when it comes to giants in people’s lives how often even talking about the problem brings accusing and angry responses from the people that have the most to benefit from dealing with the giant head on. The army fled at the sight of the giant and now David’s own brother accuses him of having, “evil in his heart” for even suggesting that something should be done about the giant. Giants get a foothold on us because we either flee from them or refuse to consider how to respond when we are confronted by them.
Word soon reaches King Saul that David is willing to stand up to the giant and fight him on behalf of the army, but now two new problems surface in dealing with giants. First King Saul says to David, You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth?” 1 Sam. 17:33 The age old argument never seems to change, you can’t confront the giant because you don’t have experience, you don’t know how to deal with him. He has been at this a long time and you could never figure out how to handle such an enormous situation in your life. The only conclusion we could possibly take away from such advice as men like Saul give is to continue to live in fear of the giant, and simply flee whenever confronted by him.
Their own inaction becomes a template on how we are to confront problems within our lives. If we listen to their words, that we are too inexperienced, too young and the giant too big then we will live at best in an impasse or continue to be beaten down by the mocking challenges and hatred of the giant the rest of our days. To do nothing day in and day out while the ogre roars venom and hatred in our ears is to die a thousand deaths and watch our self-esteem and confidence fades into defeat.
When Saul finally gave into David’s logic and determination he tried to mold David into a small version of himself. “Then Saul clothed David with his armor.” 1 Sam. 17:38a On those occasions that we find someone who looks at our giant realistically and rationally, they will often offer advice on how they would solve the problem. They offer you their armor for your challenge. Many of us have tried to help a friend or family member out of a jam by telling them what to do and how to do it without taking into consideration their own thoughts and ideas for fighting the giant. After David tried on the armor he realized that wasn’t how he was going to be able to fight Goliath he needed to be himself. “I cannot go with these because I am not use to them.” 1 Sam. 17:39b
There is one more aspect of the story we should look at that is of the utmost importance. When David went out to fight Goliath and the giant saw who it was that was coming against him, “he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and comely in appearance.” 1 Sam. 17:42 Giants are giants and no one is doing us any favor when they try to belittle or lessen the giants we must confront. How many times have I been guilty of saying to someone, “oh it’s not as bad as you think,” or “I’ve seen problems a lot worse.” When someone has to face a big problem in his or her life, it is a big problem. This verse lets us remember that those giants are not going quickly or easily because they have bullied and browbeat us for many years. When we stand up against them they will disdain us for daring to believe we can beat cancer, or face a rebellious teen, or stand up under the loss of a loved one.
David had no illusions about Goliath. He knew that he was a bully of a man who stood eight feet tall and had the entire army of King Saul frightened of the very sight of him. David knew one other thing that was all-important. When he went out to fight Goliath, David knew in his heart that the giant was already dead, because regardless of how big the giant, David’s God was bigger. See 1 Sam 17:43-47
Next post we will look at the practical aspect of how God arms us with the tools we need for war with our giants.