Everyone loves a good David and Goliath story – a life experience along the lines of the ultimate underdog story told in the Bible (1 Samuel 17).
You probably know that story from childhood - of a young Jewish shepherd boy in Israel named David who was sent by his father to check on his older brothers who were fighting with the army of Israel against the dreaded Philistines.
Once at the front lines, David became aware that a 9’ plus Philistine giant named Goliath was taunting the Israelite soldiers daily with a simple challenge – send out your best soldier to fight me and winner takes all. David was appalled that this man was being allowed to ridicule the God of Israel in this manner, and incredibly, volunteered to fight this giant and settle the issue once and for all. In spite of his youth, in spite of the size difference, in spite of Goliath’s superior weaponry, in spite of the ridicule from his older brothers regarding what they considered to be his arrogant brashness, and in spite of doubts expressed by King Saul himself, David took on this formidable foe and won against all odds.
Life teaches me that if a person lives long enough, at least one Goliath will appear and challenge him to a winner take all that rivals a WWF bout with chain link fence around the ring. It may be a difficult relationship, a difficult job (or specific assignment within that job), a major illness, or financial struggle. Making matters worse are the voices of doubt arising from friend and/or foe, and especially from within suggesting that victory over this Goliath is nothing more than a pipe dream.
The interesting thing about our Goliaths is that typically we see them purely as a negative. We wonder why in the world this Goliath had to appear. Surely life would be so much easier without it. Surely if God really loved me, He would have kept this Goliath out of my life. But what if, to paraphrase the words of Christian hip hop artist TobyMac, God allowed the Goliath in your life for you to find the David within you? So, instead of bemoaning our Goliath, why not see it as an opportunity for our own David to show up?
With that in mind, what can we learn from David’s victory over his Goliath that will give us confidence and courage to fight against our own?
- He believed in the payoff that would come with victory.
For David, the payoff was two-fold. First was the spiritual reward. His victory would make possible, as David phrased it, “for all the world to know that there is a God in Israel.” Second were the material rewards that would come. King Saul had promised that any Israelite who defeated Goliath would find his life enriched materially, he would be given the king’s daughter in marriage, and his father’s house in Israel would be made free. These gave him motivation.
- He believed in the value of his previous life experiences.
David’s resume as a shepherd boy included taking down a lion and a bear when they came after his sheep. David believed the lessons learned in those experiences were transferrable to fighting Goliath. That gave him confidence.
- He trusted in his resources.
While David had no confidence whatsoever in Saul’s armor and weapons, he believed deeply in the resources which had enabled him to take down the lion and the bear – his sling and stones. That gave him a strategy.
- He had faith in God’s ability and willingness to fight the battle with him.
After citing his victory over the lions and bears, David declared, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.” That gave him empowerment.
Are you facing a "Goliath" today in a relationship, in your work, in your personal life? See it not as a reason to fret, but as an environment which God can use to reveal the David within you. As you do, claim for yourself what the Apostle Paul said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Remember, “all things” include Goliaths.
About the Author
Jerry Long is a retired minister [38 years] living in metro Greenville, SC. He and his wife Lynne have two daughters and three grandchildren. He holds degrees from Clemson University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.