I have a confession to make. Most of the time I write these blogs for myself. It’s how I work through things in my heart and mind. It’s sometimes where God meets me and helps me sort things out.
But sometimes I write these for other people.
Today this blog is for some very dear friends of mine who are going through quite a tough time. They are facing a giant. Maybe you are facing a giant, too. If you are, then this one’s for you, too. It’s a bit lengthy, but it’s good stuff, I promise. And a thank you to Pastor Rick Warren for some insights into the scriptures on this one.
The way I see it, there are really just two kinds of giants. The very real tangible giant that stands before us, beating its chest and knocking us down, and then there are the giants we contrive in our minds. Sadly, those giants are just as formidable as the others.
At some point in our lives, we have to face giants. If you are like me, you’d just rather not. I’ll cross the street, take a detour, or hop a plane to avoid facing my giants. Most of the time, all those efforts are in vain. Eventually, we all have to come face to face with our giants.
Everyone’s giant is unique. Maybe yours is an impossible boss, nay saying parent, or other intimidating person in your life. Maybe it’s a challenging circumstance with terrifying potential results. Maybe it’s an addiction or controlling habit. Maybe your giant is known only to you because it lives in your imagination. Maybe you recognize his name. He often goes by the name, Fear.
No matter what name your giant goes by, giants can paralyze us. And when they succeed in accomplishing that, they only grow in stature.
There is a well-known example in scripture about facing giants. Even if you are not a Bible scholar, you have likely heard of David and Goliath. In case you have not heard this account, let me run it down quickly for you. (1Samuel 17)
Back about three thousand years, Israel was facing the Philistine army. The Philistines had decided they wanted to conquer the land held by the Israelites, and so both sides were geared up for battle. But the terrain was such that whoever came out to battle first, would be unprotected and easily defeated, so each army was hold up, staring across a valley at each other. So it was decided that they would settle the matter by single combat. Each army would send a great warrior to battle, and whichever soldier won, their army could claim victory and the losers would serve the winners, end of battle.
It just so happened the Philistines had a ringer. His name was Goliath. Standing anywhere from seven to nine feet tall, he was an impressive specimen. And he was an arrogant, loud, self-assured, bully of a man. Sound like anyone you know? He was so intimidating that no one from God’s army was willing to come out and face him. God has made a deal with Israel a long time before, saying that if Israel would be his people, he would be their God. Israel’s army was God’s army. And yet they shook in fear of the giant standing before them. Sure, God was mighty and powerful, but did you get a gander at Goliath?
So David happens upon the scene to bring his older soldier brothers some food. Their father wanted a report on how his boys were doing in battle. Well, his boys were doing what everyone else was doing. Hiding, and crying like little girls from this big giant who taunted them both morning and night.
David had a hard time understanding the situation. Now this is where we misstep in the story of David and Goliath. We assume that David is the underdog in the situation and that Goliath is the odds on favorite. You see, David was not allowed to go to battle. He was young and small, and his father needed him to tend the sheep back home.
Yet when David finds out what the deal is, and sees the members of God’s army cowering in fear of the giant parading before them, he becomes indignant. He becomes indignant because David is the only one who remembers who God is, and of what God is capable. So when no one else volunteers to face the giant, David does.
He approaches King Saul, and offers himself for battle. When Saul begins to point out David’s obvious shortcomings, David does not point out his own abilities. He reminds Saul of God’s abilities. David had become proficient with a sling, protecting his father’s sheep from bears and lions. Bears. And. Lions. But David recognized that he was only able to defeat those giants with God’s help.
No one expected him to win, but seeing as there is no other alternative, David was allowed to face Goliath on behalf of Israel. Saul offered David his own armor to wear, but it was too large and cumbersome. David didn’t need Saul’s protection anyway. He needed God’s. David refused the armor, and chose to go with what he knew. He took his shepherd’s staff and his sling, gathered five smooth stones, and approached the giant.
This is the same sling that took out a bear and a lion. This was not a child’s toy. This was a weapon. Slings were commonly used in battle, and the soldiers that wielded them were the sharpshooters of their day. David was a sharpshooter.
When God leads you into battle, he will give you the tools you need to face your giant.
When God leads you into battle, remember how well he has served you in the past.
When God leads you into battle, focus on the end result.
The end result is victory.
David knew going in to face Goliath, that he would be victorious. Not because he was all that, but because God is all that. David was confident in his abilities, but he was sure of God’s.
If you are facing a giant, whether it is an unsure situation, a formidable person, a controlling addiction, or a fear you have contrived in your mind, remember David.
David picked up five stones. But God only needed one.
God had plans for David from way back. David had been chosen as King over Israel. It is from David’s lineage that Jesus came.
God has plans for you from way back. The Bible says that before you were even born, he had things for you to accomplish. His plans, not yours. Some of us need to check our plans. Sometimes to accomplish even God’s plans, you have to face a giant. But if you are following after God, trusting in his power and his plan, there is no way you won’t defeat your giant.
Sometimes we have to lay aside what we want in order to be victorious. Sometimes what we want for our lives is not the path God has marked out for us. If we are pushing for our own way, we will not defeat our giants. Only the giants God wants defeated will be defeated. God wanted Israel to be victorious. There was no way David wasn’t going to win. David wasn’t the underdog.
And neither are you.