Most of the sermons we hear about David and Goliath focuses on the physical standpoint of the battle. But studying further, we’ll learn that it was really a battle of two hearts. One heart is full of pride and self-sufficiency and the other, one that is after God’s own.
1 Samuel 17 sets us in a valley called Elah, where Israel’s army and the Philistines lined up to settle their differences in battle. But the Philistines one-upped the Israelite army. They have with them a giant named Goliath. The mere mention of his name alone invokes terror in the hearts of Israel’s army. By their estimation, they simply cannot match the sheer size of this monster, not to mention his weapons and armor. To put it bluntly, King Saul and his army were just too “dismayed and greatly afraid” (1 Samuel 17:11 NKJV). Their fear simply allowed their enemy to dictate the rules of the game.
Meanwhile, far from the shouts and clangs of metal, a shepherd boy, with his sling, a staff, and a bag full of provisions for his brothers in the war zone, whistled his way to the valley.
Interestingly, the author of 1 Samuel inserted a little background about David in this story. But why talk about David? Why insert this information in a story of war? The author of the Book of Samuel could have just told the story of David versus Goliath directly. Why does God have to tell the readers about David? About who he is and where he came from? Why not just get to it? To the climax? To the end?
I found this astounding answer when I meditated on the passage. And it is this: It is God’s great display of His faithfulness to work out every details of His servants’ life to carry out His purpose. It is God’s purpose to tell us about David’s life, about his lows, his highs, his aspirations, his job, to show us that His faithfulness does not only come in every major events but mostly in every moment of our life. David has to go through cultural discrimination of being a youngest son, tough caring of sheep, cold nights and hot days, pain, to fighting lions and bears, to being called into the king’s palace and be sent out again, to be a servant. It is NOT because he is one good heroic man, but because God is faithful in shaping David’s life through the circumstances he faced throughout his life.
The Real Giants
As I studied this chapter further, I realized a lot of things about David’s character and those around him. What I came up was this: Real giants live in the heart. Yes, they walk not on earth. Giants are not invulnerable. We can defeat them if we first defeat the giants living in our hearts. Fear and pride are the two most common giants that terrorizes our lives everyday. These were the real giants that caused great terror to King Saul and his army.
Taking Down the Giants
David defeated these giants first before he went up against Goliath. How? By going through all the hardships he had gone as a shepherd. Being a shepherd taught David fearlessness against predators. Being the youngest taught him humility against pride.
And so we will see that when King Saul and his army saw a terrible opposition, David saw a timely opportunity. The soldiers asked “have you seen?” But David inquired “What shall be done?” Don’t get this wrong, he is not being opportunistic. David is not after the marriage of the princess of Israel, he is not after the gold, or the free from taxes Saul is offering. David pointed it out “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” He knows that this is the time for Israel to prove, to show, to tell the world that their God, the God of Israel, is a living, powerful God.
When David’s allies fired discrimination, David forged determination. Even David’s own brother, Eliab, came against David and reminded him of his lowliness. Interestingly, Eliab’s name means “God is father” or “God is his father,” but you’ll never see that in his life. He’s just as fearful as his colleagues were. King Saul also was against David, he said “You are not able, you’re only a youth!” King Saul attacked David’s ability. He even tried to discourage David by suggesting that he should wear the king’s best armor to defeat Goliath. Where did David get his determination? How about this: “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine (1 Samuel 17:37).”
When the enemy trusted in the giant’s frightfulness, David trusted God’s faithfulness. “Am I a dog?” Goliath taunt. Eventually, it became one of his last words. Do I have to tell you the rest of the story? How did Goliath die? 11 feet? The stone thrown with a sling can hit as high as a 100 feet. But it’s not about how many feet high the stone can hit, it’s about how high your faith in God is set.
What giants are you harboring in your hearts today? What giants are your facing in your life today? You can take it down. Remember, the battle is the LORD’s!