I remember as a young girl being afraid of my own shadow. Unfortunately for me, there was a bully in my neighborhood who lived to follow me home, punch me and torment me. I dreaded the ringing of the school bell at the end of each day..it became the sound of the bell used in the boxing ring, but I was no "Rocky", the underdog who would make a tremendous comeback.my fate was sealed.
One day, after barely escaping my nemesis, I breathlessly slipped through the door, heart racing but grateful to be in one piece. I was at last in a safe haven where for the moment I would have to study war no more. I had no idea that somehow my mother knew of my daily skirmishes with "the bully". I certainly had not told her. However, this particular day, when I came home, she was standing at the door with a look on her face I don't think I had ever seen before or will ever see again. She pulled me to a chair and told me that she had gotten wind of the fact that I had been chased home from school everyday. She said this was unacceptable. I had no choice other than to stand up to this bully or continue to get faster and faster and perhaps someday break the world record in the one-hundred yard dash. Although she placed these choices on the table for me to ponder, she withdrew them quickly and made me an offer I couldn't refuse.
She said that if I came home one more time without confronting this bully, she would deal with me in her own way. Suddenly, the bully seemed like a harmless pussy cat, and my sweet, kind, loving mother resembled a vicious lion on the prowl. I didn't understand that day why it was important for me to stand up to this frightening, calloused and cruel peer, but my mother did. At some time in your life, you must face your giant and he or she must die!
In the book of 1st Samuel, the 17th chapter, there is a story of a battle between a notorious giant, (Goliath), and an unknown shepherd boy, (David). In my opinion, this is one of the most powerful, inspiring stories in the entire bible. It is a story that illustrates that there is no giant that we as the people of God will ever face that is invincible. Who are the giants you face? Is it a financial giant from the land of poverty that call to you daily that you will always be poor? Is it a sickness giant from the land of infirmity who constantly taunts you about being healed? Maybe it is a giant of failure who keeps telling you that you will never amount to anything. Perhaps it is a giant of hopelessness, depression, rejection? Who is your giant? Whoever it is, in whatever form it manifests, your giant must die! You were not created to be a slave - defeated and serving a dark kingdom with a diabolical king. It is not in the will of the Lord that you make a deal with your giant. Our God calls out "NO Compromise!" Your giant must die.
Let's take a look at the story in the book of 1st Samuel, starting with a brief history.
First of all, there was already a history of war between Saul and the Philistines. In the KJV, 1st Samuel 14:52 says, "And there was sore war against the Philistines all the days of Saul: and when Saul saw any strong man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him." In the New International Version, 1 Samuel 14:52 says, 52 All the days of Saul there was bitter war with the Philistines, and whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.
Secondly, David and Goliath research indicates, were tied by blood. It seems that Goliath was the son of the Moabitess, Orpah, who was the sister of the Moabitess, Ruth, both having been the daughters of the Moabite King, Eglon. David and Goliath's lives were as different as night and day. Ruth had become a pious Jewess, and Orpah had led a notorious life. It is said that her son Goliath was known as "the son of a hundred fathers and one mother." So, this was a "family feud" - a war that has been waging since the beginning of time, flesh versus spirit.
Thirdly, Goliath had made quite a reputation for himself. He killed the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas the priests; and led into captivity the ark of the covenant of Jehovah, and placed it in the temple of Dagon his god; and it remained in the cities of the Philistines seven months. Also, in all of the battles, he is said to have gone at the head of the army, conquering and cutting down men, and laying them as low as the dust of the earth. This was known throughout all of
Goliath was also known as a "champion". This did not speak to his victories, but referred to the fact that he was the negotiator, the point man or the field man who was willing to fight someone chosen by
Goliath was by appearance, a formidable foe. His height was six cubits and a span. The word cubit measures the length from cubitus, the elbow, to the top of the middle finger, which is generally rated at one foot six inches. The span is the distance from the top of the middle finger to the end of the thumb, which is ordinarily nine inches when extended as far as they can stretch. His armour is described as plates of brass overlapping each other, like the scales of a fish, or tiles of a house. Different sources give different estimates, but Goliath's armor and weapons together probably weighed somewhere between 150 and 200 pounds. This was a big man, and strong enough to carry and use these huge weapons. Perhaps the giant you face by appearance seems this formidable as well. However, when we face the giants in our lives, we do well to remember that an intimidating appearance does not the battle win.
Goliath also used words that carried toxic fear and torment. "Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me . . . I defy the armies of
When they heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid: Of course, that was Goliath's exact intention in issuing the challenge. The reason why he came out with full battle equipment and paraded in front of the Israelite army was because he wanted them to be dismayed and greatly afraid. Goliath was almost able to defeat the Israelites on fear alone.
In any contest, it's always useful to demoralize your opponent, and strike fear in their heart. First, it may keep you from ever going to battle with them, because they are so afraid. Second, if it does come to battle, they will fight with fear and apprehension, and so with your words, you've done a lot to win the battle before it even begins! This, of course, is a significant strategy of the devil against us. The devil has a heavy interest in making you dismayed and greatly afraid before the battle ever begins.
Not only is what Goliath said important, but it is equally important to consider the times of the day when he said it. 1Samuel 17:16 says, "And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days." Goliath tried by every means in his power to hinder the Israelites in their Divine worship. Morning and evening he would appear in the camp at the very time when the Israelites were preparing to say the Shema. The Shema is an affirmation of Judaism and a declaration of faith in one God. The obligation to recite the Shema is separate from the obligation to pray and a Jew is obligated to say Shema in the morning and at night (Deut. 6:7). The first line of the Shema, "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One" (Shema Yisrael Adonai eloheinu Adonai ehad) (Deuteronomy 6:4) is repeated throughout the prayer services. It is said in the morning blessings, in the musaf Amidah of Shabbat and holidays, when the Torah is taken out of the
The giants in your life seek to hinder your devotion and devotional time to the Most High God. Do you find it hard to find time to pray? Is it hard to get to church on Sunday? Have you been meditating on your worries rather than the promises of God? Then Goliath has found a way to distract you from the very thing that will bring you victory. Don't let this giant distract you any longer. Has it been a long day? Pray anyway! Are you tired on Sunday? Go worship anyway! Set aside time to fast and commune with God. This is God's strategy for victory.
It is time for you to understand that no one can slay your giants but you. You are destined for this assignment. You have been trained for this assignment, and God has chosen this as the season to get it done! There may be someone in your life that you believe could do a better job of taking on Goliath. Perhaps it is a person of influence, affluence or education. Maybe you feel that your accomplishments and who you are pale in comparison. But God looks at the heart of a man. He uses those who love Him, trust Him, and will be loyal to Him. Don't let the glitter and the glamour of the Sauls that surround you intimidate you. If the truth be known, they are more afraid of Goliath than you are.
For forty days Goliath has been asking for an Israelite to challenge him in battle. It is recorded in 1 Samuel 9:2) that Saul was head and shoulders taller than the other Israelite men. Therefore, he would be the logical choice to contend with the giant, Goliath. You can be sure that he knew the others were expecting him to fight Goliath.
An old Jewish tradition says that this is part of Goliath's taunting speech: "And ye, men of
There was a time that Saul had been a great man. Yet, Saul is dismayed and greatly afraid. Before the Spirit of the Lord departed from him, he had himself been a formidable foe, a fierce military leader. (1Samuel 16:14). But when the Spirit of the Lord left Saul, so did his courage. For it is the Spirit of the Lord that gives courage and the power to defeat our foe. When we rely on the Spirit of the Lord, we can experience what Paul said to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:7 : "God has not given us the spirit of fear, but power, love, and a sound mind." God wants to give us a holy boldness and courage, not in ourselves, but in Him.
Therefore, let us look to the same God who gave a young shepherd boy the power to kill the lion, the bear, AND the giant. God is no respecter of persons. Surely He will put the victory in your hands. Eight years prior to this critical situation, the prophet Samuel anointed David to be the next king. Since that time, he had spent his time between the pasture and the palace. The pasture is where he learned tenderness, compassion, to anticipate the needs of the flock and how to protect them. This is the place where he learned to lead. He may not have had many sheep to tend, however, the size of the flock did not diminish the importance or the intensity of the lessons to be learned. Perhaps as you read this, you feel that the responsibilities you have and the role you play in certain areas of your life are insignificant. But that is not so. Everything that you do has been designed to teach you a valuable lesson and help you learn a skill that you will need in order to slay the Goliaths in your life. Be patient, be humble, and stay close the Holy Spirit as He leads you and guides you in every area of your life.
The palace is where he played his instrument for King Saul who was being constantly tormented by evil spirits. When the Spirit of the Lord leaves you, your spirit becomes a fortress for demonic spirits. This was the case with Saul. However, when David played, it served to calm him and give him temporary peace. However, there would be times that while David was playing King Saul would become so confused and tormented that he would throw his spear at David. One of the things God wants us to learn is how to avoid the weapons of the enemy while we praise and live for him. If one thing is going to get you through your day, it is learning to praise the Lord at all times - His praise being continually in your mouth! You will never know how many demonic spears have missed you while you were in the presence of the Lord worshipping Him.
The pasture is where David learned to skillfully use a sling. This would be the lethal weapon that would bring the giant down. Using a sling required much practice. But when mastered, they could grievously wound the besieged; and in battle they break in pieces the shields, helmets, and every species of armor by which the body is defended. A person who could skillfully use a sling became such an exact marksmen that they scarcely ever missed that at which they aimed." The historian accounts for their great accuracy and power in the use of the sling, from this circumstance: aitiai de toutwn, k. t. l. "They attain to this perfection by frequent exercise from their childhood; for while they are young and under their mother's care, they are obliged to learn to sling; for they fasten bread for a mark at the top of the pole; and till the child hit the bread he must remain fasting; and when he has hit it, the mother gives it to him to eat."
Are you able to skillfully use the weapon the Lord has placed in your hand? Can you rightly divide the word of truth so that you will not be defeated or discouraged? Your Word, (the Bible) is your weapon. Meditate on it; practice letting it hit the mark of the circumstances of your life so that when Goliath approaches you, you can stand with confidence before him. You also have been covered with the whole armor of God. Goliath's armor was heavy, your armor is powerful! Ephesians 6 says we have the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the sword of the spirit, the girdle of truth, the shield of faith, and our feet that are shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.
"Now Eliab, David's oldest brother, heard when he spoke to the men; and Eliab's anger was aroused against David, and he said, "Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle." And David said, "What have I done now? Is there not a cause?" Then he turned from him toward another and said the same thing; and these people answered him as the first ones did." 1Samuel 17:28-30
Keep in mind that you can be discouraged and ultimately destroyed even before fighting Goliath. "Immediately before the encounter with the Philistine he fought a battle which cost him far more thought, prudence, and patience. The word-battle in which he had to engage with his brothers and with King Saul, was a more trying ordeal to him than going forth in the strength of the Lord to smite the uncircumcised boaster. Many a man meets with more trouble from his friends than from his enemies; and when he has learned to overcome the depressing influence of prudent friends, he makes short work of the opposition of avowed adversaries." (Spurgeon)
The well-meaning feedback of friends and family are some of the most cunning strategies used by satan. There are, of course, those people who the Lord has assigned to speak into your life. Heed their words and their warnings. The Lord has assigned them to you in order to provide you with Divine wisdom. But there are others that are instruments of satan who desire to keep you from moving forward. Using others, he will do his best to stop you by:
- Making you feel like an insignificant, worthless person who has no right to speak up, especially with such bold words (Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness?).
- Causing you to doubt your own motives regarding your willingness to serve the Lord, Caleb was angry because he felt he knew David's motivation (I know your pride and the insolence of your heart), but he didn't really know David's heart.
Just as the Philistines had their champion - the man that goes between to settle the disputes and win the battle, so our God has His champion. His name is Jesus Christ. "For there is a one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ who gave Himself for a ransom for all to be testified in due time." 1Timothy 2:5 And it is in the name of the "Winner Man" that we fight and win every battle that comes our way.
"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". As a shepherd facing the lions and the bears, David had no idea he was being trained to fight a giant. When we are in the midst of our preparation, we rarely see how God is going to use it. We just entrust it to Him. Yet now, David can look back and know that the same God who delivered him before will also deliver him now. David knew that God's help in times past is a prophecy of His help in the future. He will deliver me: Do you believe it? Do you believe God will deliver you? God will deliver you. He has promised to get you to your destination: He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6). God may deliver you from trials or deliver you in the midst of trials, but He will deliver you! (© 2001 David Guzik)
"So it was, when the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, that David hastened and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth." (1 Samuel 17:48-49)
It is time for you to stop cowering and instead hasten and run to meet your giants. No longer view yourself as alone with no help, but see the battle for whose it is..it belongs to the Lord. (This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, 1 Samuel 17:46). So many times we forfeit the battle because we are busy looking up to heaven and waiting for God to do something. But the truth is that God is waiting for you to do something! ." David knew that it was the Lord's battle, and the Lord's victory, but that he had something he was supposed to do in the battle.
Many Christians struggle at this very point. Is God supposed to do it or am I supposed to do it? The answer is, "Yes!" God does it and we do it. Trust God, rely on Him, and then get to work and work as hard as you can! That is how we see the work of God accomplished. (© 2001 David Guzik)
"The lazy-bones of our churches cry, 'God will do his own work'; and then they look out the softest pillow they can find, and put it under their heads, and say, 'The eternal purposes will be carried out: God will be glorified.' That is all very fine talk, but it can be used with the most mischievous design. You can make opium out of it, which will lull you into a deep and dreadful slumber, and prevent your being of any kind of use at all." (Spurgeon)
Think again about the giants in your life. Are you sick? You can be healed. Are you suffering from poverty or lack? God will supply all your needs. Are you tired of thinking about and hearing about the problems in your life. Does it feel like you will be defeated by them? Have courage! You don't have to keep listening to the voice of Goliath. You do not have to be defeated. God is for you. Who can be against you? Slay Goliath today!
I began this sermon by telling you what I faced with the giant in my life. The very next day after my mother made me an offer I couldn't refuse I, again, found myself being antagonized by the same bully. I was walking home with a friend. She was someone who the entire school was afraid to confront. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why she liked me. This particular day, my friend spoke up in my behalf. She told the bully that SHE was tired of how I was picked on daily and that it would have to come to an end. Do you know the Lord feels the same way about you. He walks with you daily and HE is tired of how the enemy constantly picks on you. I was really feeling brave at that moment. I just knew my hero, my only friend was about to do battle for me. But, I cannot even begin to describe the shock I was in when she instead, pushed me into my giant and I had no alternative except to fight!
I used everything in me to subdue, overcome and win the battle. And do you know what? I WON! All this time the power was in me to slay Goliath. I didn't know it until I got pushed. This memorable battle took place a few doors down from my house. Conveniently, when it was over and Goliath was on the ground, I heard my mother's voice and saw her running to get me. When we got in the house, she gave me the biggest hug I have ever received. She told me that she watched the whole thing and waited until I won to come and escort me home.
This is the way our Heavenly Father is with us. He knows that we can defeat Goliath. He pushes us into battle, then when the fight is over, He escorts us home and gives us a heavenly embrace.
As a side note, from that day forward, I never had to fight again. I earned a reputation among my peers that I could really defend myself, and no one ever bothered me again. It is time that the demons know that you cannot and will not be defeated. Your victory will send word throughout the kingdom of darkness that you are a force to be reckoned with. You may always be challenged, but as you trust the Lord, you never have to be defeated.
God bless you as you prepare to slay your giants! The good hand of the Lord is with you and through our God you shall do valiantly! Run toward the giant!
© 2005 Pastor Gwendolyn Walker. May be used with permission provided that credit is given to the author and that no part of the contents is omitted or re-written.