David and Goliath is Sunday school material – at least it was a story I heard a lot as I spent just about every Sunday in some sort of church experience. It frankly never occurred to me to think of anything but the heroism of the boy David defeating a giant who terrorized the troops of Israel who included members of David’s family.
Only recently have I thought about what the story of David and Goliath really entailed. And it’s not pretty or romantic. You can read the full text here. Think about it! This ginormous creature like human had managed to traumatize an entire army of warriors into absolute submission. The intimidation was beyond his size – it was an energy depleting force that made grown men cower as he raged day after day. They felt so helpless that when young David arrived on the battlefront questioning what this human was threatening against his God – they wanted to silence him! The giant after all could not be confronted by threats from a mere boy.
Everybody has a Goliath…
It occurs to me that all of us face a Goliath at some point in our lives. Some of us may find ourselves confronting many giants. Giants of envious agents, contemptuous and arrogant attitudes, prideful forces which taunt the idea of our existence with venomous hatred. Or Goliath may present as a difficult situation, a personal loss, the pain of a failed marriage, financial difficulties or illness. The common denominator is that the situation appears to be insurmountable. And the awareness of the pain, torment and taunts ever present. The reality is none of us get through life without some scars to prove we graced the planet.
Confronting the giant…
So, what does David do when he decides to confront Goliath. Well, before he could get to the giant, he was reported. Yes, the word got back quickly to King Saul that there was this little chump who was willing to put his head on the line. Because that was what Goliath promised he would do to anyone stupid enough to confront him – ‘feed their flesh to the birds.’ An indelicate and unpleasant prospect indeed. David was invited to meet with King Saul who noted immediately that he was a mere kid. But the situation was so desperate, the King was willing to allow David to go to his presumable slaughter. He even offered David his armor. But when David tried on the armor, he couldn’t move. The heavy metal must have felt so weighty, it was hard to breathe. The killing Goliath exercise would require him to rely on what he knew and the God he served.
That nugget of information from the story is worth a lot. Although the world hadn’t heard about David, he had street cred where it counted. This young man had spent much time in prayer, meditation and psalms. It’s easy to think that prayer is simply mouthing words. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’m sure there was plenty of prayer when David found himself confronted by the bear and the lion while he was alone caring for his Father’s flock. Vulnerability has a way of getting our attention and clarifying our absolute dependence on God.
A sordid cadre…
I have faced many situations where dependence on God has been all I’ve had. And it has been enough. David was targeted because he was there and wild animals were hungry. He stood in the way of their meal ticket. That’s still the case today for many attacks. Thinking or wondering why you are being targeted or traumatized is as ineffective as wondering why the wind is blowing. You cannot appease the devil or his agents who include according to God’s word, rulers of darkness, principalities and powers. A sordid and wicked cadre of agents whose only passion lies in deception, theft and destruction.
Killing Goliath requires strong faith in God AND indignation at the absolute arrogance of powers that mock and oppose him. It also requires a different mindset. While the army troops of Israel were frightened by the threats of Goliath, they also became blinded to the vulnerability of the enemy. You see, every enemy has a terrible vulnerability. One which they hope you don’t expose, because if you can see it, you can attack them successfully. Fear and intimidation blind us to this reality and keep the focus on what seems to be impregnable.
Killing Goliath requires the willingness to not only expose the vulnerability but to be ruthless in dealing a death-blow to it. For David, it required exactly one smooth stone, polished by the relentless flow of water, and aimed with precision at the one spot on Goliath’s head that was uncovered – that space on his forehead between his eyes. What’s interesting is that there were probably several skilled warriors who could sling a stone with lethal accuracy, but they were so focused on what they couldn’t do that they forgot to look at what they could have easily picked up and used with their own hands.
Facing Goliath requires facing issues which may be longstanding. Remember this – Goliath was once a baby, who became a boy and finally a man. Even if he was a big baby, he could have been dealt with earlier had Israel’s troops recognized the enemy growing up before their very eyes. It’s important to note that most Goliaths don’t emerge overnight, although the severity of the threat may appear to do so. Most of the enemies of our soul are issues we have tolerated, grown up with, made excuses for, ignored or refused repeated entreaties from the Holy Spirit regarding a need to change direction, course or action. Then one day we wake up and recognize that we’ve got a big problem on our hands. Or someone who has appeared to be benign and harmless Isometimes someone who is close to us) reveals their true nature and intentions towards us. Either way, the revelation of Goliath is scary.
However, killing Goliath requires boldness, courage and faith. It requires the ability to see that no matter how powerfully formidable a situation seems, our God is greater! He is sovereign and all-powerful. David did not stop at the killing of Goliath. No, this boy-man went up to that fallen giant and cut of his head with the giant’s own sword. Absolutely ruthless and gory! Necessary too. Because the only language the enemy understands is violence! The word of God reminds us that ‘the Kingdom of God suffers violence, and violent take it by force.’
The Goliath Killing methadology…
So while we may romanticize the story, there’s very little that is truly romantic about David’s encounter with Goliath. And as you review your life, you will note that there’s been very little that’s nice or easy about the Goliaths you have faced or are facing now. Take heart, God promises never to leave us or forsake us. Here are some tips which are useful when dealing with threatening, depleting and wicked enemies:
- Recognize them. Preferably earlier rather than later when they have become deeply ingrained.
- Don’t tolerate Goliath. While we are commanded to love people, this does not mean that we should make friends with wicked spirits which some choose to allow to use them. The Bible instructs us to ‘Resist the devil and he will flee’.
- Be ruthless in using the weapons of our warfare. There are many weapons in God’s arsenal. Unfortunately, many Christians are woefully ignorant. David used a weapon which totally surprised Goliath – a stone. Learn about AND how to use God’s weapons including: prayer, the blood of Jesus, the name of Jesus and the sword of the Spirit.
- Don’t stop until there is total victory. If Goliath had been merely wounded, it is likely that David would not have made it. God has given us the victory in Jesus Christ death and resurrection. We are victorious. Now exercise the reality of that truth in your situation.
- Recognize that the key to the enemy’s defeat is to NEVER forget who you serve! Goliath taunted the Israelites daily by reminding them that they were soldiers in King Saul’s army. While that was true on one level, it left out an important fact – that Israelite army was God’s army. Remember you are a soldier in God’s army.
- Turn the enemy’s weapon against him. David cut off Goliath’s head with Goliath’s sword. Ask God for wisdom. For instance, when Goliath threatened David by telling him that his flesh would be fed to the birds, David returned the insult! There are many ways to turn the tables.