We last saw Goliath instilling terror and trembling in the Israelite army. He was apparently having a great time walking out into the valley taunting an entire army.
Meanwhile, David had been tending sheep. It may not have been as fun as taunting a whole army but it was way safer.
David’s brothers were at the scene of the crime with the bunch of chickens that were so scared of one freakishly huge guy with a big mouth.
1 Samuel 17:26 David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?”
27 And these men gave David the same reply. They said, “Yes, that is the reward for killing him.”
28 But when David’s oldest brother, Eliab, heard David talking to the men, he was angry. “What are you doing around here anyway?” he demanded. “What about those few sheep you’re supposed to be taking care of? I know about your pride and deceit. You just want to see the battle!”
29 “What have I done now?” David replied. “I was only asking a question!”
David didn’t like what the giant man was saying and took offense rather than taking a defensive position.
He wanted to know what the guy that faced Goliath got for a reward. The Israelite army was fairly certain that what a man got was dead.
David’s oldest brother was bugged by young David coming out and acting like the Israelites were a bunch of chickens.
“What are you doing here anyway. You should be with the sheep and let us real men stand out here and hide from the giant! You just want to watch a fight to satisfy your own blood lust! You are trying to trick us into taking on that Philistine Superman! I’d like to see YOU go out there and fight him!”
David was confused that his brother should launch an attack on his livelihood, his character and his integrity.
1 Samuel 17:32 “Don’t worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight him!”
Saul thought, “My prayers have been answered! We have a scrawny shepherd kid ready to go out and slay the mighty giant…NOT!”
Have you ever wondered why present day armies are made up mostly of whisker-free young people? I think it is mostly because they are fearless. They haven’t amasses a wealth of stuff to protect. They haven’t become entrenched in the rut of making a living. In fact, they usually only see into the future about half-way to their next paycheck.
They haven’t become nailed down into life so hard that they see any problem with dropping everything to fight for what they believe in.
I think it is a shame that the armed forces seem to be the only ones really willing to put all this to good use when there are mission fields all around us, homeless that need help, mentally ill that need an army to rescue them, addictions that need support, a whole humongous list of Philistines that need to be conquered and chased out of town.
There are even some real Goliaths out there that us old-timers just can’t muster up the strength it takes to knock them on their keesters.
The church needs some fearless members to give the war-torn and veterans something to cheer about.
Instead, we kind of kill the fire, tell them to calm down. There’s nothing anyone can really do to change anything. They are too young and inexperienced to do what we aren’t coming out from behind our rocks or pews to do.
We need a rowdy kid here and there to make us look hard in the mirror and try to find the one that used to look back at ourselves.
1 Samuel 17:7 The Lord who rescued me from the claws of the lion and the bear will rescue me from this Philistine!”
Saul finally consented. “All right, go ahead,” he said. “And may the Lord be with you!”
Saul had to be thinking, “This kid is going to get himself killed!”
But David wasn’t trusting in himself.
I’ll never forget when I was battling my addictions daily, getting up in the morning ready to kill the giant and coming home day after day with my butt dragging the ground bearing the scars of another war lost.
Then I stopped trusting in myself. Things changed. My Goliath appeared a little smaller, a little weaker and had a glimmer of fear in his eyes. He spoke a little softer and seemed to back away slowly when I approached.
1 Samuel 17:41 Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, 42 sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy. 43 “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods. 44 “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled.
Goliath was insulted that the Israelites had sent out a shepherd with a stick and a strap. He was all set to take on their best and make mincemeat out of them.
But he was an animal lover and intended to feed the birds and animals with David’s flesh. What a guy!
1 Samuel 17:48 As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. 49 Reaching into his shepherd’s bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it with his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face down on the ground.
50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with only a sling and a stone, for he had no sword.
David appeared to not have what it takes to make Goliath fall. But he actually had more than it takes. That’s what God gives us, more than it takes. We are just so hesitant to rely on it. I have sat back and let myself be taunted by my enemies, my personal demons, the ghosts of my past, convincing myself that what it takes just doesn’t exist.
In reality, I have more than what it takes. I just use the wrong stuff. I trust in myself and the sword I can wield, a sword that has failed many more times than it has brought victory because I don’t recognize what God wants me to throw at the problem is more than enough.
David could have picked the smallest stone in his pouch and shot it from a tiny rubber band and Goliath was going down because it wasn’t about the stone, it wasn’t about the sling, it wasn’t about the size of David or anything other than God’s mighty hand.
So, when the kid in church comes up with some outlandish idea that will never work, why not man up (or woman up) and stand beside them? Why not do some brave, strong and courageous trusting in God and be willing to risk failing for once?
Church shouldn’t be where we go to hide behind the pews to be safe. It should be where we gear up and go out to face some giants. Life should be about taking down the giants that are out there mocking our friends, our families, our neighbors, those in need around us.
Instead, I fear we spend far too much time seeing what we can get, giving in to the giants and doing their bidding while there is defeat happening all around us while we choose to say, “That’s ridiculous! There is no way we can kill that giant.”
Yeah. This message stings me a little. I see a selfish man taking cover when I should be kicking butt and taking names.
Well, I guess this is a good place to end this today. I need to regroup and locate my fearlessness.
Time to take up the sword of the Lord and Gideon…but that’s another story.