Most of us have some familiarity with the Bible’s account of David and Goliath. Young shepherd boy, armed with nothing more than a slingshot and a handful of stones, taking on the towering warrior who caused even seasoned Israelite fighters to cower in fear. Except David had one more asset – the power of Jehovah, the Lord God.
Having warded off bears and lions in protecting his sheep, David might have drawn from experience for a bit of courage. But ultimately, it was his faith and trust in God’s power and protection that prompted him to undertake what some might have viewed as an impulsive act. Confronting the giant Philistine, David declared:
“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me…. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you [Philistines] into our hands” (1 Samuel 17:45-47).
That’s exactly what happened. As it turned out, David needed only one stone. Propelled by the slingshot, the stone smashed Goliath in the forehead and down he went, one dead intimidator. In biblical math, one plus God equals an overwhelming victory.
We’re tempted to regard this as an entertaining story from long ago, but the same principles hold true today. We might never face a fierce physical giant, but sooner or later life presents each of us with “Goliaths” that are far more formidable than our resources.
Are you facing a “giant” right now? Perhaps financial woes seem overwhelming. When my wife and I got married, I brought sizable credit card debt with me. It took us years to dig out of that hole, but with discipline – and a healthy dose of wise counsel, based on biblical principles about money management – we eventually became free of the trap that has captured so many.
Maybe you or a loved one are facing desperate health circumstances. Medical science has provided no solutions, and now you’re reluctantly preparing for the worst. Whether within our families, or with friends, we’ve all come too close and personal with situations like these.
Someone’s “Goliath” might be a complicated, extremely troubled marriage, or a job situation that makes the start of each new day seem like a prison sentence. It could be depression, or some overwhelming addiction. Whatever such circumstances may be, it’s hard not to lose hope. That’s when it’s helpful, even essential, to remember the lesson of David vs. Goliath.
As a shepherd, and later as king of Israel, David learned when the situation seemed most dire, God was more than capable of handling it – often in ways he couldn’t have anticipated. (Even with something as simple as a slingshot and stone.)
Ephesians 6:10 states it plainly: “Be strong in the Lord and the strength of His might.” We often err when we stick with the conviction that it’s all up to us, that we must give it all we have, and if we’re lucky God will give us a little boost to get us over the top. In reality, He isn’t there to “give us a hand.” Often, I’ve discovered, the Lord waits until we’ve exhausted every option and have nothing left. Then He responds, “Okay, now watch and see what I can do!”
One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 40:31, which says, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Another translation expresses is as “those who wait on the Lord.” We don’t like waiting. We want to tackle it right now, get it over with. And we don’t like the idea of having to depend on God to resolve our pressing problems. But that’s what He enjoys doing best – when all else has failed, He shows us what He alone is able to do.
The apostle Paul, who encountered more than his share of seemingly impossible trials, knew firsthand about God’s sufficiency. He wrote, “But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me.That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).