Key Text: 1 Samuel 17:(1a, 4-11, 19-23), 32-37
Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. He had greaves of bronze on his legs and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron; and his shield-bearer went before him. He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” And the Philistine said, “Today I defy the ranks of Israel! Give me a man, that we may fight together.”
When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
Now Saul, and they, and all the men of Israel, were in the valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines.
David rose early in the morning, left the sheep with a keeper, took the provisions, and went as Jesse had commanded him. He came to the encampment as the army was going forth to the battle line, shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army. David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage, ran to the ranks, and went and greeted his brothers. As he talked with them, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines, and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.
David said to Saul, “Let no one’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.”
Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are just a boy, and he has been a warrior from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down, and kill it. Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God.”
David said, “The LORD, who saved me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, will save me from the hand of this Philistine.” So Saul said to David, “Go, and may the LORD be with you!”
It’s one of the first Bible stories I ever heard. Along with the stories of Adam and Eve, the Tower of Babel, Noah and the Ark and many others – there was this tale about a small shepherd boy going up to wage battle, in God’s name, with a terrible giant named Goliath. I loved the story then and I still love it. It is filled with drama and the danger of a “fight to the end” with evil itself. Of course, I also love it because the “good guy” wins. It also helps that the “good guy” is the underdog, the one whom others are betting against, and all that.
It’s more than a good story, though.
It is a great spiritual lesson. It reminds us that as we go about having to face our own Goliaths in life, no matter what they may be, we do not have to face them alone. Indeed, not only do we not have to go it alone – we dare not go it alone.
The battles of life are not the things of storybooks. They are real, and they are deadly.
But God is also real, and powerful, and ever present.
We just need to remember to call upon that ever present resource. We must refuse to believe all those who say it’s hopeless, or pointless.
Slaying our Goliaths – whether they are made up of a personal struggle, an illness, an addiction, a financial hardship, some external attack, or some internal warring – are all about realizing that the battle is not our alone. God will give us what we need to have the ultimate victory if we reach out in faith.
Does it mean we always live “happily ever after” like in the storybooks? No, not necessarily.
It does mean that ultimately, seen from an eternal perspective, no battle we waged in faith was unnecessary or needless.
Dare to wage war with your own Goliath today. You do not wage war alone.