Slaying giants

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It’s been said before that there is always a period of calm before a storm. A beautiful moment when the sky is clear and the winds cease to blow. Birds cheerfully sing from branches above us while butterflies flutter in the breeze before our eyes. Out in the distance, out over the horizon, however, high clouds are beginning to blow in. They begin to gather into thick, dark gray storm clouds that block out all the beautiful light. We instinctively know it’s time to find shelter, protecting ourselves from the ravages of the coming storm.

It’s been said before that there is always a period of calm before a storm. A beautiful moment when the sky is clear and the winds cease to blow. Birds cheerfully sing from branches above us while butterflies flutter in the breeze before our eyes. Out in the distance, out over the horizon, however, high clouds are beginning to blow in. They begin to gather into thick, dark gray storm clouds that block out all the beautiful light. We instinctively know it’s time to find shelter, protecting ourselves from the ravages of the coming storm.

Our lives are like that word picture in many ways, we have our good days where we shine like stars only to be  pounded the next day by a fierce storm that  blows in unexpectedly, covering us with fear, doubt and worry.  Our lives can either flow smoothly back and forth like the ebb and flow of ocean tides or be a series of sudden jerky up and downs on the rails of a roller coaster. All of us, at some point, in some condition will finish the ride. But the secret to weathering the storms, to winning the battles of life is to know who it is that the battle belongs to?

God sends Samuel to the house of Jesse, to anoint one of his sons as king of Israel. Three older, robust sons’ of Jesse walk before the Lord but the Lord does not choose any of them. God tells Samuel in 1 Sam 16:7 “Man looks at the outside appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Jesse summons his youngest son, David, who is busy out in the field tending his father’s sheep. David is an experienced shepherd, skilled in the use of the rod, staff and sling. He has spent countless hours protecting the herd from lions and bears, sometimes with his bare hands.

It’s important to note before talking about David’s confrontation with Goliath, that God instructs Samuel to anoint David with oil allowing the Holy Spirit to come upon him in power. In those days not everyone had the benefit of being anointed by or having the power of the Holy Spirit. Also the anointing could be removed and the Holy Spirit taken away as He was with Saul.  1 Sam 16:13 “So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power.” 

There is a moment in every man’s life when he has an opportunity to either shine for God or hide God’s glory inside of self-recognition and fear.  Confronting the giant Goliath would be that one defining moment in David’s life. David was filled with the Spirit of God as he traveled fifteen miles from Bethlehem to the front lines of a standoff between the Philistines and Israel. David couldn’t believe his eyes as the Israelite army cowered in fear at the sight of this nine foot tall, uncircumcised Philistine giant.  

As David is brought to King Saul he gives him his own armor and weapons; allegorical to using the wisdom of the world to fight our battles here on earth. However, David declines Saul’s offer, equipping himself with only the tools of a shepherd and runs to confront the giant that has been taunting the armies of the living God.  The giant attempts to intimidate him with words but David replies; 1 Sam 17:45 “You come at me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”  The young man goes on to describe how is going to first strike the giant down then cut off his head.

While most of us are familiar with this story from church sermons and Sunday school classes there are several subtleties that are important to highlight. First, David was filled by the power of the Holy Spirit of God. Second, he didn’t take Saul’s worldly advice to use his armor and weapons. Third, David was prepared; he already had years of practice with the sling and knew he could hit the opening on Goliath’s forehead. Lastly, David knew and believed in his God, he found the source of all his strength was in Almighty God and Him alone. In closing 1 Sam 17:47 “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give all of you into our hands.” So why did David pick up five smooth stones from the stream when it only took one to topple giant? Goliath had four other brothers living in Gath.