By Kyle B
Israel had a problem. A big problem—literally! Once again the Philistines had invaded Israel, and King Saul had led the Israelite army to meet the invaders. As often happened in ancient times, a champion from one army would challenge the champion from another to decide the fate of the battle rather than have the whole armies fight and many people die. Only this time, the Philistine challenger was a giant anywhere from seven to nine feet tall! Not only that, but nobody from the Israelite army would stand up to face Goliath of Gath, even as he taunted the Israelite army and her God every day and every night for forty days. Instead they shrank back in fear.
This was not the first time that Israel had faced giants. In fact, up to this point Israel had been plagued by a fear of these giant warriors for the several hundred years since Moses led the nation out of exile in Egypt. In the 13th and 14th chapters of Numbers, we see an Israel ready to enter the Promised Land and begin the conquest of the territory that God had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob over 400 years earlier. But before invading the land, Moses sent out twelve spies, each a leader of one of the twelve tribes of Israel, to spy out the land. When they returned, all but two of the spies gave a bad report. Yes, the land was a good land, flowing with milk, honey, wine, olive oil, and had fertile soil for farming, but they reported that the inhabitants were very strong, especially the Anakim, a race of giants and fierce warriors who lived in fortified cities. The ten spies discouraged the people, telling them that they did not think that the Israelites could win. Only Joshua and Caleb contradicted their report, saying that if God was with them they could defeat any of their enemies. The people, however, refused to heed their advice and began a rebellion against Moses, wishing to appoint a new leader to lead them back to Egypt, and to stone Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. Because of their disobedience and lack of faith in God, the Israelites were condemned to wander in the wilderness for 40 years until that generation of rebels died. Israel had failed the test and had been living in fear of giants ever since. Now several hundred years later, they were facing a similar test of faith in confronting a giant—and failing miserably.
Israel's problem wasn't really the giant; it was their focus. They were focused on Goliath and the Philistine army, instead of on the One who promised them victory if they were faithful to the LORD. True, Goliath was a big and daunting problem, but God and His promise of provision should have been their chief focus.
After forty days of the taunting from Goliath, David, a young shepherd boy at this time, arrived on an errand from his father to deliver food to his older brothers who were fighting with the army. He heard Goliath’s taunts and mocking of Israel and her God and was furious. David finally convinced King Saul to let him fight Goliath, telling Saul “The LORD who delivered me from the lion and the bear will also deliver me from the hand of this Philistine!” (1 Sam. 17:37, NET) David had the right focus. He saw the giant just like everyone else, but was focused on the God whom that giant was taunting. As he approached Goliath with merely a sling, some stones, and a staff, the giant mocked him. David’s reply is one of the most famous in all of Scripture and plainly shows that he had a proper focus:
You are coming against me with sword and spear and javelin. But I am coming against you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel’s armies, whom you have defied. This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand! I will strike you down and cut off your head. This day I will give the corpses of the Philistine army to the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the land. Then all the land will realize that Israel has a God and all this assembly will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves! For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will deliver you into our hand. (1 Sam. 17:45-47)
David did not wait for the problem to come to him; he actively and quickly sought it out. The account in 1 Samuel 17 tells us that David ran quickly toward Goliath, slung a stone in to his sling, and nailed the giant right in the forehead. David then took Goliath’s huge sword from its sheath and, after killing him with it, cut off the giant’s head as a trophy, ending the shame he had heaped upon Israel’s army and the scorn directed at her God.
What are your giants that you are facing today? Everyone has them. Everyone has skeletons in the closet that they refuse to deal with. God loves you enough that He will make you face them until you are ready to fully surrender them, and your fear of them, over to Him. It may be an addiction, a particular sin that you struggle with, or a hard relationship. Israel had always been afraid of giants and had run from them, even after God had promised them victory. God also promises you victory over temptation (1 Cor. 10:13) and that He will never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5). I would encourage you to face your giants just like David did. He kept his focus on God, not the giant, and he ran quickly to confront it. Focus on Christ, not the giant in your life that you face. And run quickly to do battle with that giant, trusting the Lord to give you the victory, which, after all, will bring glory to His name.