We continue our look into the life of David, a man after God's own heart, with 1 Samuel 17.
Here we find the best known episode of David's life -- the battle with Goliath, the Giant.
It is noteworthy that the tone of the description here is far from mythological. The large man, the sling and all else seem reasonable and realistic. There are men playing professional basketball that are over 7 feet running, jumping and otherwise functioning nibbly. The sling was a weapon of war. It launched fist-sized projectiles at very high velocity. Whole sections of ancient Israeli armies were devoted to this form of deadly artillary. David was just previously described as a young man enrolled in the military/court service of King Saul. He was a National Guard-type, reporting for duty when needed and working at home when not.
...does not mean ignoring reality. It means seeing the reality of God.
The other men had seen and heard Goliath's defiant challenge. They could see how big he was, feel how intimidating he was and get a sense of how expert he was in the arts of war. Every morning and every evening. 80 times they cowered at the huge opponent.
David saw the giant. He did not deny his prowess or towering presence. He instead focused his attention on the size of the God who had claimed his country as His special covenant people. God could certainly handle one like Goliath.
Our faith-walk is not blind to the challenges of sickness, financial setback or relationship ills. Our faith sees a God who is able in the face of the giants. The challenge may be, and probably is, too bifg for us, but not for God. The question is not, "How big is your problem?" The question is, "How big is your God?"
...means conflict avoidance is not conflict resolution.
David addressed the BIG challenge. Everyone else had hidden from it, tried to ignore it, tune it out. But big problems only get bigger when they are not faced. The army seemed content to battle it out, hoping for victory without fighting the Big man. But if they continued in this way, they would still eventually face him. He was part of the army they battled!
We, too, wil either meet challenges on our terms or theirs. Ignoring or avoiding will not resolve the conflict. We must face the challenges in order to move past them.
...means not all opposition will come from the giants.
When David expressed his trust in a covenant LORD who was bigger than the challenge of Goliath, his brothers became furious. "Who do you think you are?" was their response to his facing the giant. King Saul said, "Who do you think you are?" Goliath said, "Who do you think you are?"
When we determine we will face life's challenges trusting in God's help, we should not be suprised when others respond in kind. Those who choose the hard path of improvement will often be opposed by those who have yet to decide to change.
...means you must be yourself.
David was given a suit of armor and a sword from King Saul. Perhaps Saul was hoping others would think he was facing the giant when they saw someone in his armor marching to the challenge. Perhaps he genuinely wanted to help David. David tries them on but has never tried them out. He is not a warrior-king, yet. His weapon of choice and experience is the sling. He declines the king's offer.
Isn't it funny how those who are not willing to face the challenge have advice for those who are?
We cannot face challenges like so-and-so does or has. We need to face up in the way our personality, talents and skills will allow us. All we ever have to be is who God made us to be. Any more would be a step out of his plan.
...means small successes lead to big victories.
David made his choice for weapons based on his past experiences as a shepherd. His responsibilities included protecting the sheep from ravenous preditors. Usually a direct hit from a sling would be enough to injure and drive away a wild beast. But on two ocassions David had to literally fight a lion and a bear. In both cases, God delivered the dangerous creatures into David's hand. David was able to face a giant man because he had grown through these and other past experience.
When we find favor and make progress we are able to build toward future success.