Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Goliath and the Giant

One Year Bible
Old Testament passage for Wednesday, May 15, 2013:  1 Samuel 17:1-18:4

43 So the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 And the Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!”  45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. 47 Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”  I Samuel 17:43-47 (NKJV)

Nowhere is the contrast between David and Saul more dramatic than in the familiar story of David and Goliath.  Here we see the essence of greatness alongside the epitome of mediocrity.  In David, we see that which inspires us and emboldens us.   In Saul, we see the embarrassing fruit of an aimless, indecisive life.

By all outward indicators, Saul should have been the man to face Goliath.  He had the gifting and the capability to do great things.  Just as Goliath was the biggest man among the Philistines, so Saul was the biggest man in Israel.  His stature was commanding.  It was written of him, "There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel.  From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people" (I Sam. 9:2). 

Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin.  Earlier accounts tell us that these Benjamite men were all great warriors, "every one could sling a stone at a hair’s breadth and not miss.... who drew the sword; all of these were men of war." (Judges 20:16-17)  Had Saul been courageous, he could easily have done exactly what David did.  We would then have been telling the story of Saul and Goliath instead of David and Goliath.

The problem was not a GOLIATH PROBLEM.  It was a HEART PROBLEM.  I am convinced that the same is true with us.  Our surrounding circumstances may present a fearful challenge, but the real question is the size of our heart, not the size of the problem.

David's outward appearance was not impressive.  From the earliest accounts of him, no one thought he amounted to much.  In a parade of his brothers before Samuel, he was forgotten and left out (I Samuel 16:4-13).  Concerning the qualifications for leadership, God told Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature .... For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (I Sam. 16:7)

The singular characteristic that set David apart was his HEART.  He was big on the inside.  In fact, David was a GIANT.  David was bigger than Saul.  He was bigger than Goliath.  He was the biggest man on the field that day.  His skill with the sling was only secondary.  In fact, Saul had similar skills.  The greatest gifting is useless if you quail on the inside.

Giants are all a matter of COMPARISON.  Goliath was a giant compared to Saul.  Goliath was a giant in the eyes of every Israelite except one -- David.  But David saw a bigger giant.  For David, the giant was GOD HIMSELF.  David saw Goliath in comparison to God!  In Saul's eyes, Goliath was defying Israel.  In David's eyes, he was defying God (I Sam. 17:45). 

The lessons are obvious for us.  Our strength is that the Lord fights for us.  "The battle is the Lord's" (I Sam. 17:47). 

It is amazing what one man used by God can accomplish.  One man surrender and dependent on the Lord!  Through such people, God will do mighty things.  He will advance His Kingdom.  He will rout the enemy.  David is not only an inspiration to us.  He is our pattern and our destiny.

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