1 Samuel 17:46 “This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”
The imagery of this battle set in array in the valley of Elah gives one a sense of awe and sobering courage.
To picture the Philistine army behind their champion, Goliath. The man described as eleven feet, four inches high. A man of war from his youth.
He came to face the armies of Israel with an arrogance born out of numerous victories without defeat. The army behind him garnered confidence in this giant who seemed unbeatable. When the two armies faced each other, Goliath stood and threw down the gauntlet.
1 Samuel 17:8-10 “And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.”
The war was to be decided by two men in single combat, winner takes all. The whole of the Israelite army cowered in fear of this man. For more than forty days, they faced each other in a stalemate.
Sent by Jesse, his father, David comes upon the scene and begins to ask the status of the battle. His older brother, Eliab, feels the heat of shame rise and covers it with an accusation.
1 Samuel 17:28 “And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.”
This young man, ruddy, with a beautiful countenance and goodly to look at, begins to rebuke the whole Israelite army. David’s faith saw his God larger than any man on the battlefield that day – including the giant that stood to defy them.
Then, David does something no other man in Israel could do. He volunteered to fight the giant.
1 Samuel 17:29 “And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?”
David stood to the task of dispensing the giant. He seemed to be unfazed by his size, his experience, his taunts, and his win record. As he grabbed five smooth stones, he not only prepared for Goliath but his brothers as well.
What impressed my heart today, was that statement,
“…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”
Where are the men who stand and proclaim that there is a God in our world today?
Where are the men that would stand in the face of adversity?
Who boldly proclaim their love for God?
Willing to fight to the death for His name and His cause?
We can easily stand behind the champion as they step forward on the battlefield. We rest in the confidence that our champion can win for us.
I was challenged by what I read to take stock of my own faith, my own battles, my own giants.
Am I a man who sees his God as more significant than any obstacle, any situation, any circumstance that I may face?
I can tell you of past victories.
But what of today?
Do I have faith enough for the giants that await me?
Am I courageous enough to keep stepping out on the battlefield when I have failed miserably?
When my strength is all but gone, or my eyes not as sharp, can I still go out in faith that my God is the Omnipotent God who will fight my battles for me?
David has always been one of those Bible characters who challenge my heart. His beginning, the rise to the throne, the integrity, and the providential guidance that he showed all cause me to ask God to do the same for me.
David was known as a man after God’s own heart. You can look at the victories and the failures and wonder why God would say such a thing. God knew we all would fail Him. That is why Christ came.
What God wanted more than what we could for Him was who we are to Him.
I can imagine God looking down at a young David stepping out onto the battlefield that day. David puts God’s name and reputation on the line. God came through powerfully.
Part of my human nature wants to be assured that we will indeed win. We don’t want it to cost too much and definitely be void of pain.
As a man, I must be willing to be what God asks of me, no matter what the cost. There may be those who make fun and accuse. There may be adversaries who will rise to fight against me.
But can I, like David, see my God larger than any giant I will face today?
I say this to myself, first and foremost, but, to all men everywhere: