We have seen, in our last two articles (We Need Giants in Our Life – Part One – (The Period of Training) and We Need Giants in Our Life – Part Two (The Period of Testing)), the necessity of giants in our lives, and how just one colossal representative of the enemy could plant significant fear in and paralyze a whole opposing army and its people. Yet we have also been able to see that God is capable of raising someone insignificant up and preparing him for a battle against what appears to be an impossibility.
In the book of First Samuel, chapter seventeen, we find the story of the challenge against the young shepherd boy David by Goliath, the mighty giant of the Philistine army. They were convinced that the Israelites were destined to fall into their hands, since no one had dared to come forward to challenge their taunts and demands. But during the whole period leading up to this confrontation, David had been overcoming many great threats of his own while tending and protecting the sheep entrusted to him.
Therefore, when he heard the enemy deriding his people, and especially their God, during a visit to his brothers on the front line, he realized that this monstrosity of the enemy was no more ferocious than the lions and bears that he had defeated in the wilderness. Even though Saul, the king of the Israelites, offered him his own armor as a means of protection, David just could not accept it. He knew that the Lord was his proven armor and shield. Man’s best resources would only weigh him down and restrict his movement.
Then David went out and stood up to Goliath in full confidence, even though he was armed with just a simple shepherd’s sling and a few smooth stones as his ammunition. “And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh [near] to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote [struck] the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth” (1 Samuel 17:48,49). Notice that, even though he had a handful of stones at his disposal, it only took one to take out Goliath. That man was massive compared to the average person of that day, and normally would have easily withstood the impact of a small stone. But this was no ordinary attack—because God was precisely aiming that solitary stone. And He knew just what it would take for an enemy of any size to fall.
David put his trust in God to take care of the giant who had been threatening his people. But if he had gone up against Goliath in his own strength, putting his faith in himself and man’s weapons, he would have greatly failed. Through this account, three areas can be identified as necessary for overcoming in an impossible situation:
- Preparation. David’s strength and ability were developed during his time spent protecting the sheep in the distant pastures. Much of what he learned for his future struggles, before and after he became king of Israel, came during this solitary period. As children of God, our best training is obtained while we are alone in the wilderness.
- Humility. David never flaunted his own skills to his brethren prior to this confrontation with Goliath. David gave all the glory and credit to God, the One who made his victory possible. If we want to triumph over the giants in our life, then we must likewise not boast of our ability and power that God has given us, or defeat will follow.
- Faith and trust. David did not have great faith or trust in himself to overcome the giant. He did not need to, because he trusted in God’s continual faithfulness. He had learned how God protected and provided for his ancestors, even when they did not deserve it. When situations arose in his own life, such as the lions and bears coming to attack, he saw that God was able to keep him safe as well, as long as he kept his faith in Him. Whenever we try all kinds of ways to increase our faith ourselves, we end up focusing on the methods and not on the Lord Himself.
This narrative concerning David and Goliath appears somewhat out of place for many, with its seemingly unreal chronicle of a giant killed by a mere shepherd boy, and Philistine nation being overcome by the people of Israel. Yet God chose to include it so that the Israelites and the surrounding nations, as well as every true believer in Him down to our day, could see that God is greater than any fearsome monstrosity that man has to offer. “…God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:27).
God wants us to learn to look to and trust in Him for victory over the impossible situations in our life. It doesn’t matter whether they are financial, emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, or moral—we will all have giants at some time in our walk with the Lord. We need them in order to develop and shape us into the image and person that God sees in us. Yet if we try to overcome them in our own strength, we will suffer terribly or even fail. By reflecting on what God has done in our lives in the past, as well as His faithfulness that brought us through those circumstances, our faith is strengthened for the future obstacles.
Therefore, instead of fretting about and fighting our giants by our own futile efforts, or surrendering and fleeing in fear, we need to stand up to them, trusting in God’s faithfulness to bring us through, and not by trusting in ourselves. “They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever” (Psalm 125:1). God has further instructed us to “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). The Israelites considered themselves practically helpless, until David came along, because they were ill-prepared for the challenge. But we don’t have to follow their example. When we spend time with the Lord in prayer and in His Word, we strengthen ourselves spiritually. As a result, the Goliaths that are sent our way might appear formidable and undefeatable, but they are powerless against us because it is God who actually conquers the enemy.
[Additional image credits: Featured image (when available) by Louis Huard from Wikimedia Commons on Picryl (Public Domain Mark)]