Saturday, July 23, 2011

1 Samuel 17 - Fighting a Giant

LINK: 1 Samuel 17


In the previous chapters, David displayed his tender side by tending sheep and playing the harp in order to soothe Saul when the evil spirit overtook this king. Now, we see his mighty side (16:18)!

Goliath of the Philistines towered over Israel at over 99" tall (8 feet 3 inches, 251 cm) in the Valley of Elah.  Jesse commissioned David to deliver food to David's brothers and the commander of the unit in the camp and to bring back word of their well-being. When David saw that this giant would dare to "taunt the armies of the living God" (17:26), he decided to answer the taunts despite the accusation of insolence and wickedness by his elder brother, Eliab (the one Samuel passed over to anoint David as king, by the way), and Saul's insistence that David was "just a youth" (17:33).

David recalled the LORD's deliverance in the past (17:37) and could trust Him for his battle with Goliath, not needing extensive armor, but one smooth stone and the living God!

I love these fighting words:
You come to me with a sword, a spear, and 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 taunted. This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands . . . that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. (45-46)

So there, Goliath!!!!!

We know the end of the story: little David kills BIG Goliath, the Philistines were routed, and Saul took notice of the little shepherd boy.


I love this story because I am a youngest child! I cannot tell you how many times my enthusiasm or bravery has been squashed because one or both of my older brothers told me I could not do it or that I didn't know anything. In their eyes, I would always be the "little" sister. Beth Moore said something in her Bible study, A Heart Like His, Seeking the Heart of God Through a Study of David, that rang so true with me:
I'm not sure anyone can encourage or discourage us like family. The views of
our family members toward us are very convincing, aren't they? If people who
know us the best encourage us the least, we have few chances to develop confidence.  (p. 26)
In June of 2000, I wrote in the margin of my book, "AMEN!"

Thankfully, my father was one family member who was never like that with me! One of his favorite sayings for me was . . .
Meaning that I have the means and ability to do anything! Whether is was baiting a fish hook or getting up on water skis, he was always my enthusiastic cheerleader with this line: "You've got the ticket, Carol!" This helped me to develop confidence.

David had a similar situation. In Eliab's eyes, he was just his kid brother who could not do anything (Remember that Joseph was the kid brother of all but Benjamin, Moses was the kid brother of Aaron, etc.). Eliab even accused him of being "insolent and wicked"!

Yet, David had a heavenly father who told him he had the "ticket," and the ticket was His very power and presence! David knew he could do anything with His mighty God calling him to do it; that no matter how big Goliath was, his God was bigger and had given him the "ticket" to victory no matter what His older brother said! David was more confident in his God and His opinion of Him than the opinion of his brother. We can be too.

Sometimes, our naysayers can be our brothers and sisters in the family of God. My prayer for YEARS was that I could "hear the voice of God above the voice of people" because sometimes people can be SO LOUD. Often they are loud for a plethora of ungodly reasons: jealousy, insecurity, feeling threatened, competitiveness, etc. I learned this once in a big way.

In June of 2000, I was trying to get a Precept Bible study started in town, and the resistance to it was so overwhelming that I wanted to quit. It was a God thing that I was studying this chapter in the life of David at the time! One of the questions in my Beth Moore study was this:
Is there an area of your life in which God wants to give you a victory but an obstacle seems too big to overcome? If so, what is the victory God wants to give you?
Mine was seeing this Bible study go forward. I wrote on June 7, 2000, "It is TOO big to overcome. Lord, I fall down before you and plead your mercy."

The next question was:
What obstacle must you overcome?
I answered, "The 'I can't mentality' among the women I am working with."

There was such a wall of resistance toward having a "different" and more "difficult" Bible study and even having it on a "different" day than what had always been done. Actually, I found out later that it was much more than even what was presented to me on the surface.

I did not understand it at the time (I cannot read minds) but part of the resistance was that I threatened one of the leaders. Just like Eliab and David, in her eyes, I was the "kid sister," and she had been leading for a long time. Who was I to think that I could just walk in and start leading a study? (I had led studies as a member of that church for 21 years prior to that, but I had never led one in "her" ministry before.)

After two months of this unseen obstacle, I apologized to her for my attitude toward her and all the ways I had mishandled the situation. She responded quickly and said, "This is not all about what you have done wrong. I have got some things to say."

During a two hour walk, she proceeded to tell me how she came from a very competitive family, and she felt like I was such a strong leader that I was going to "take all her women away" if I led a Bible study. She said that God even told her to listen to me, and she refused, and she, by her own admonition, treated me really badly. She gave me a heartfelt apology for her attitude and behavior toward me.

Talk about a blow with a stone right between the enemies eyes! Now I knew what the obstacle really was, and we could deal with it! I forgave her. (I can love anyone who can be that humble and transparent. I have loved the woman with every bit of me ever since!)

As a result, the Bible study went forward, many still attended her study, just a few attended mine (Precepts studies are not for everyone), and Precept-like Bible studies are now a regular part of the options for women's Bible study at that church! HOORAY!

Most importantly: "Goliath" was defeated and God was given another victory over the enemy!


How confident are you in God's will for your life? Are you listening to the loud opinions of the naysayers over the quiet, calm voice of God?

Ask yourself the same questions in the REFLECTION above:
Is there an area of your life in which God wants to give you a
victory but an obstacle seems too big to overcome? If so, what is the victory
God wants to give you?
What obstacle must you overcome?
REMEMBER that your "Goliath" is NEVER bigger than your God.

RECALL times where He has shown His power to overcome obstacles in the past.

RESIST the enemy in the strong name of Jesus. He does not want you to go forward and will do everything in his power to try to stop you. You could be a "low maintenance project" for him or you could storm the gates of hell. Which do you chose?

RELEASE that stone in the power of your God and let it fly right between your "Goliath's" eyes!


LORD, I love Your Word. This could be a cute little Bible story, but it is a powerful example for us to follow in our own lives. Help us not just to read but to APPLY these principles. Help us to turn this world upside down for YOU!!!! We pray this in the strong and tender name of our shepherd warrior, Jesus. Amen.
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