One of the most beloved “children’s” stories from the Old Testament is that of David and Goliath—found in 1 Samuel 17. What makes this account particularly inspiring is the fact that not only was David smaller than Goliath (for everyone was smaller than the 9 foot-plus giant), he was much younger and far more militarily inexperienced.
As the story unfolds, no one from the Israelite armies was willing to stand up against Goliath, but this young shepherd boy David. In addition to taking this stance on his own, he went without armor or a reputable military weapon. However—because of the unfailing power of God and David’s strength in it—that little shepherd defeated Goliath with one smooth stone that was hurled from a nearby brook. The lessons from this memorable account are no doubt endless. Let’s notice but a few of them together for a moment:
Priorities really do matter. Even among all of the Israelites (God’s people, you know), David was the first one to mention God in the standoff with Goliath. David’s first recorded words conclude with this statement, “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam. 17:26). Later before hurling that fatal stone from the sling, David told Goliath, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied” (1 Sam. 17:45). David shows the source of his confidence: the God of the universe is on his side. More correctly, David had chosen to be on God’s side, and that made the difference. It’s one thing to claim our priorities are in order (as did the Israelites), but it’s another thing to prove it (like David).
You can’t defeat giants if you’re fighting amongst yourselves. When David arrived on the scene, it became clear that unity was not the strength of the Israelite army. Even his own brothers looked down upon him for simply asking questions about the giant before them (1 Sam. 17:28-30). The church has many big battles to fight. Yet, we can’t win them if we don’t commit to being united for the cause of Christ.
Defeating giants inspires others. On several occasions, David’s example paved the way for others—most notably after slaying Goliath. In verse 37, after David pleads with Saul about how God has always been with him, Saul responds with, “Go, and the Lord be with you!” After David killed Goliath with his weapon of Gath destruction (Gath: see verse 23), the men of the armies of Israel begin to fight—successfully even—against the feared Philistines (1 Sam. 17:52-53). The courage of David not only led to personal victory, but also to the victory of his brothers and fellow-citizens. When you and I do great things in this life, we inspire other Christians as well…what a marvelous opportunity!
I remember being fascinated with this story as a young boy, and there were probably many reasons for such. Today, however, I am inspired so much by David’s actions because I am in a very similar situation as a young minister. There are no doubt people that think I’m incapable because of my age, inexperience, or any of a long list of offenses. Thankfully, David shows that I can be successful against whatever giants may challenge me. What’s better is that David proves that the power and potential to defeat giants isn’t created or conjured up within me, but it already exists in the Ruler of our universe. My task is to cling to Him in order to defeat the giants of sin, negativity, discouragement, apathy, or inactivity.
Timothy was also in a very similar situation as a young preacher in Ephesus. Notice Paul’s specific advice to him: “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers and example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity…practice these things, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:12-16).
David and Timothy set wonderful examples for us all…may we always rely upon the power Lord as we try to defeat giants!
Have a great week as school resumes!