What is Your Goliath?
What is that one struggle that you have had this week? This month? This year? I want to talk about how God fights for His people. We cannot win the battles we face on our own. But with God's power, we can face anything.
In 1 Samuel 17 we find the very familiar story of David and Goliath. The first thing we need to do is realize the enemy we're facing. In 1 Samuel 17.4-11 it says:
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, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. And he had bronze armor 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, “I defy the ranks of Israel this day. 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.
David had a formidable opponent in Goliath. He was nine feet tall and a trained fighter. Meanwhile David was a farm boy and not the greatest looking guy. So looking at this matchup you have to think what was in David's head? Like why would he have gone up against this person? So, in verse 26 we read:
And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
1 Samuel 17.26
David as we can see is enraged that the Israelite soldiers are letting this Philistine come and mock the armies of the Lord. I think it's very important to see that David calls the armies of the Lord “God's army.” This shows David confidence and faith that God is on their side, and He will lead them into battle.
So, we face ridicule all the time in our daily lives. But David had to deal with this ridicule from his family and his enemies. When David's brother here's what he's saying about Goliath, he quickly begins to make fun of him and questions his motives for coming to the battle.
Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?”
1 Samuel 17.28-29
David doesn't even get support from his own family when he stands up for what's right. But David's confidence is not found in his friends or even in his leadership. Look at the conversation he has with Saul the king of Israel.
When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. And David said to Saul, “Let no man's heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.”
1 Samuel 17.31-36
David was probably the least qualified person to fight that Philistine. Saul could tell by looking at David that he could not face Goliath and win.
We also learn more about Goliath. In verse 33 it says Goliath has been training as a warrior since his youth. But David is putting his faith in the Lord not in himself. God has proven to David throughout his life that He would protect him and that He was faithful. Saul then says that he wants David to wear his armor.
and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd's pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.
1 Samuel 17.39-40
The rocks being smooth I think is significant to the story. When warriors were trying to kill an opponent, they normally show something that was sharp; something that could puncture or cut an enemy. But David just chose five smooth stones. It doesn't say that he sharpened them or made them so that it would be a lot easier to kill a 9-foot soldier. David wasn't preparing to fight Goliath. He was preparing to have God kill Goliath through him.
Throughout this entire account it is never recorded that David felt afraid or feared for his life. I have to think though that he was at least a little afraid. I mean I would be. You don't just walk up to fight a warrior of that size without being a little nervous. David’s faith overcame his fear though. This is where I struggle. Being afraid is normal. We have to remember that no matter how big our struggles may be God is bigger.
What about facing the intimidation? We read in 1 Samuel 17.43-44:
And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.”
So now we come to the main event. David versus Goliath. And right out of the gate Goliath is mocking David. He mocks the staff David brings with him and curses him. I always wondered what the soldiers were thinking when this is going on. Most of them were probably fearful for what was about to happen. But probably a lot of them were just thinking that David was flat out insane. I think if we are all honest, we would not have wanted to be in David shoes.
The crazy thing is we stand in his shoes every day. Christians are ridiculed by the world making us a people who are set apart. Peculiar people. What is your response when you face ridicule or persecution? I just want you to think on that.
Then David said to the Philistine, “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. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand.”
1 Samuel 17.45-47
That’s a bold statement. I don't think I would be making that statement if I was there. David had God on his side. That's the bottom line. He kept his faith in God even in front of this giant. He was able to be so courageous that he even starts to mock the Philistine. His past experiences with the lion and the bear were proof to David that God would protect him.
Then we get to the actual fight. Engaging our enemy.
When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.
1 Samuel 17.48-49
You may be thinking, “What? This little farm boy with a sling just killed a 9-foot soldier with one smooth stone?” No, I'm here to tell you that God killed the Philistine with one smooth stone.
We see the same story repeated in the Old Testament over and over again. The Israelites are tremendously outnumbered. But God is able to defeat their adversary. We need to realize that without God we cannot win.
God promises us to victory but only through His power. If you want to stop cursing, if you want to stop drinking, if you want to stop giving your purity away, if you want the peace that God provides, you have to stop trying to do it alone and submit to God’s will.
Now I have a question for you. What are you going to do? So what is your Goliath? Are you going to continue to fight it alone? Or are you going to let God help. Let him take over. God sent His son to redeem you, and by putting on Christ in baptism He can help you start winning the battle against sin today.