8 “Then he stood and cried out to the armies of Israel, and said to them, “Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 10 And the Philistine said, “I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” 1 Samuel 17:8-10
For forty days, Goliath threw this challenge before the army of Israel: “Give me a man.” Sadly, no one was able to take on the challenge until David, who was not even considered old enough to be in the army, came on the scene. When David heard Goliath’s taunt, he was stirred up and in the name of the Lord he overcame the Philistine champion and brought victory to Israel. In many of our families and communities today there are ‘giants’ that have existed for generations. They are still there, causing bondage and hardship, because no one has yet effectively challenged them.
ISRAEL VERSUS THE PHILISTINES
No doubt, Israel faced a formidable enemy. The description of Goliath was enough to instil fear in the fainthearted. No wonder that Saul and his army fled each time that the Philistine strongman showed up. The Israelites had become so ordinary at this time that Goliath saw them as ‘servants of Saul’ instead of the Most High. It is not surprising therefore, that they could not withstand the enemy.
The soldiers woke up each morning to hear the reverberating sound of Goliath’s mockery, and went to bed with the same sound. Intimidation has always been the enemy’s effective weapon against God’s people, especially when they lose the sense of their identity and history. The stalemate would have continued if not that David was sent to the battlefield with supply for his three brothers who were in the army.
KNOWING WHAT IS AT STAKE
When David left Bethlehem that day for the valley of Elah, he did not know what the day would bring to his life. He had an appointment with destiny. He would be God’s instrument to deliver Israel from bondage and the reproach of the enemy. As David heard Goliath, he was provoked to respond to the challenge. David knew that primarily, this was not only about Israel but the reputation of Israel’s God. God too was looking for a ‘man’ and he found one in David (Ezekiel 22:30).
David knew what was at stake. Losing this battle would mean that Israel would be slaves and captives to the Philistines. There would be loss of Israel’s land and inheritance. It would also seem as if God was not able to deliver His own people. The destiny of future generations would be jeopardised.
INCENTIVE TO WIN
Apparently, Saul, in desperation, had announced a prize for any person who would confront Goliath and defeat him. “So the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel; and it shall be that the man who kills him the king will enrich with great riches, will give him his daughter, and give his father’s house exemption from taxes in Israel.” (1 Samuel 17:25). David was captivated by what he heard and even sought for further confirmation. He was assured of the reward that would follow victory.
Firstly, defeating Goliath would bring a change in his economic status. The king would endow him with wealth. This was good news for a young man from a modest background struggling with a few sheep in the wilderness (he could have even lost his life fighting bears and lions just to make sure that no sheep was lost!). For David, taking out Goliath would mean financial liberty both for himself and those connected to him. The price for financial freedom was killing this giant!
Secondly, anyone who took away this reproach would be rewarded with the king’s daughter as wife. That would mean a change in social status. To be the king’s son-in-law is to be identified and connected to royalty. That would be a quantum leap for David who was probably unmarried at this time. Now he would start out with being Saul’s son-in-law.
Thirdly, whoever defeated this giant would receive exemption from taxes and other obligations. Overall, the person would bring liberty to his family. This freedom encompasses spiritual and physical. By this time David’s spirit was already stirred up, he didn’t need to hear any more. Whether for the honour of God or for the reward that victory would bring, David knew there was enough ‘cause’ to go for Goliath.
A DIFFERENT SPIRIT
David had a different perspective to the battle. Like Caleb (Numbers 14:24) he had ‘a different spirit.’ One man’s giant is another man’s loaf of bread! Every time Israel measured themselves against the giants, they were like grasshoppers but each time they measured the giants against the Almighty, the giants did not seem to be that formidable. David approached the challenge with a positive and aggressive spirit that was lacking in Saul and the army of Israel.
Moreover, Israel was a covenant people. When David described Goliath as ‘uncircumcised’ he was simply referring to the covenant that God had with Abraham. Part of the provisions of that covenant is: “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” (Genesis 17:7). God promised to ‘be God’ not only to Abraham but also his descendants. God meant that in any matter that required for God to show up, He’ll be there for them. Saul and the soldiers didn’t remember this but David did. David knew that Goliath was on a collision course with the sovereign monarch of the universe. All God needed was for a man who knew the covenant.
In every generation, those who know God intimately lived differently and had a different perspective to life and challenges “…but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” (Daniel 11:32b). David knew that the battle was the Lord’s. David knew his identity as a covenant child of God.
David had earlier been anointed and the Spirit of the Lord had come upon him (1 Samuel 16). In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit rested upon people or left them based on how they walked with God. Saul too was anointed but as a result of successive disobedience and compromise had lost all the spiritual capital and goodwill he gained at his coronation. Sadly, the one who was ‘shoulder above all others’ when he was made king was too afraid to face Goliath. He would now give his body armour to David – if it was that useful why didn’t he just put them on and go face Goliath? David knew that even for a comedy show he had had no prior rehearsal, so he dumped the ‘excess baggage.’
“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. (Psalm 9:10). David knew the power of the name of the Lord in battle. He would face Goliath in the name of the Lord of hosts (The Lord of heaven’s armies).
When Goliath saw David, he thought the boy was on a suicide mission. When he saw that David was coming with only a sling and stones he felt insulted and asked, ‘am I a dog?’ Unfortunately, David didn’t see him any differently. Goliath made the mistake of cursing David in the name of his gods. When he took the matter to this dimension he played into the hands of David. It was now a spiritual battle and David knew that it’s “…Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6). The battle is the Lord’s.
This kind of understanding breeds faith and courage. David ran towards the Philistine. When he released the sling, the stone was like a ‘laser guided missile’ coursing on to the target. Goliath was down and in a few minutes David had the giant’s head in his hands. God gave Israel victory through a courageous young man who knew the Lord.
FACE YOUR GIANTS LIKE DAVID
Many of us are facing our own giants today. Some of these giants have existed in our lives, families and even nation. For generations the call has been: ‘Give me a man.’ No one has yet been able to stand up to it. No wonder families are labouring under spiritual and physical bondage, affliction, failure, barrenness, recurrent sicknesses and diseases, poverty and death. The status quo has remained because no one has arisen to challenge and destroy the giants.
When the giant of poverty is destroyed then a person can experience financial freedom; when reproach is removed then a person can experience honour. There are people who are living in spiritual captivity because for generations no one has taken the challenge to defeat the giants. May God find a man in you to take on this challenge!
Whatever battle a generation fails to fight would be left for the next generation. David knew that the cost of losing would be high for the next generation that’s why he dealt with the challenge. David picked up five stones when he knew that one could do the job. It was a prophetic action. Obviously, David was ready for the other giants that may have also come along with Goliath or that would arise later. Four more giants would show up in the future but David already had ‘stones’ waiting for them (2 Samuel 21:15-22). At the end it was said that “These four were born to the giant in Gath, and fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.” (2 Samuel 21:22).
If David had not dealt with the giants then his offspring would have had to contend with them. Praise God that David ended the regime of giants, his descendants never had any more to deal with. In fact, after David we hear nothing again about giants. David ended their menace.
We need to realise that we are in a warfare. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12). We do not go against the enemy in our strength but with the weapons that God has given us. “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Let’s have in view what’s at stake. As Joab said to his brother Abishai, “Be of good courage, and let us be strong for our people and for the cities of our God. And may the Lord do what is good in His sight.” (2 Samuel 10:12). Victory would bring freedom not only in our lives but also for the coming generations. So, like David, let us pick up the sling of prayer and stones of the word of God, by faith and in the name of the Lord, let us take down every Goliath.