Toppling Giants

David facing the giant GoliathDid you ever come face-to-face with a giant? Saul’s army did. They had been fighting the Philistines—neither winning nor losing. It was a stalemate. Then, the Philistines sent their “secret weapon” into the Valley of Elah. Goliath of Gath was the Philistine’s “ace in the hole”—their top-secret weapon. Six cubits and a span in height according to the Kim James version—over NINE FEET TALL! His armor is estimated at weighing over 125 pounds. The top of his spear, at fifteen pounds, was heavier than all of the armor worn by one Israeli soldier. HE WAS HUGE!

Imagine—one man standing there defying the entire Hebrew army! Day after day insulting them—daring them to send just ONE man out the fight with him. Just one battle and the war would be over, once and for all. No one else had to die, the men could all return home to their families as either victors—or slaves.

I’m certain the Saul and his officers strategized far into the night, trying to get someone–anyone–to volunteer. Not one Hebrew warrior would volunteer to enter combat with this gigantic Philistine.

Who could blame them? I would have more than one doubt about my ability to stand against a fight with one whose armor weighed nearly as much as I. I would be the first to refuse. True—if I won, I’d be a hero. But if I lost (as I surely would), I would be very dead, and my people would be slaves to the heathen Philistines. Me—volunteer to fight a giant? Not on your life!

Enter the Hero

Then, David appeared on the scene. Visiting his three older brothers in the front lines one day, David heard about this giant from Gath. He saw the fearful paralysis of the army of God. When Goliath thundered his daily challenge to the Hebrews that morning, young David heard it for himself—AND HE GOT MAD! ”Who does this Goliath think he is, anyway?”

When David volunteered to go into the valley to square off against the giant, General Saul refused. To send a young, untrained shepherd boy against a gigantic, well-trained fighter would be murder. But David was the only one brave enough (or stupid enough) to confront the nine-foot Philistine, so Saul gave in.

Saul ordered his own armor to be put on this youngest son of Jesse. But the boy was unaccustomed to the weight of the armor and weapons. Since he could barely move, he took them off and picked up his shepherd’s staff. He chose five smooth stones from the creek bed and, armed with only a slingshot and his faith in God, went into the valley to confront Goliath from Gath.

The Take Down

Goliath laughed at the site of a young shepherd boy barely half his size. He laughed so loud that the whole Philistine army came running to see what was so funny. They heard David’s boyish voice—not yet fully changed to its adult masculine timbre—declare “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.” (1 Samuel 17:45)

Both armies watched in amazement as the young shepherd carefully placed a stone in the leather pouch of his sling, whipped it around his head, and then let it fly at the fully-armored Goliath. The Philistines watched in utter horror as the stone found its mark just beneath the giant’s helmet. Then they saw their massive secret weapon fall, face first, to the ground. The Philistine’s giant of a man had been toppled by a youth whose only weapons were five smooth stones, a sling, and a faith in God that gave him the confidence that the victory was his!

The lesson to be learned from the story of David and Goliath is an easy one—so easy that we sometimes overlook it. When problems threaten to overrun us and temptations loom large before us, when trials and tribulations, heartaches and heartbreaks challenge us, we need not cower like the Hebrew army. With faith in God, WE too can topple the giants in our lives.

Find the Weak Spot

If we try to confront our giants with the weapons of the world, we will find ourselves, like David dressed in Saul’s armor, unable to move. Hard work, concentration, determination may well be like Saul’s armor on the shepherd boy—PROtective, but not Effective, will allow us to stand up against the giants, but we an never overcome them using the ways of the world.

David was victorious over Goliath because he approached the battle with faith in God and a confident assurance that, with God on his side, he couldn’t lose! The young shepherd had no doubt when he placed the stone in his sling that he would be victorious. He knew God was on his side. He knew God was going to win.

The rock would have done no damage at all the nine-foot Goliath if it had been aimed at his knee, stomach or chest. It would have bounced harmlessly off the bronze leggings or coat of mail. There was only ONE spot for David to aim that stone and topple the giant—just below his helmet, right between his eyes. He aimed his first (and only) stone at the giant’s weak spot. With a whir and a blur, the nine-foot, armor-protected giant fell face first into the dust of the Valley of Elah.

All giants have weak spots—whether we are talking about giant men, giant problems, giant temptations, or giant needs. Like David, we need to learn to “aim for the weak spots” in the giants that confront us—aim our weapons of faith at the vulnerable points of those monstrous problems and difficulties we face.

Choose Your Weapon

Is your giant named “FINANCIAL INSECURITY?” Then, you need to aim for that weak spot that is labeled, “What if…” What if I lose my job? What if the house burns down? What if there is a medical emergency and insurance doesn’t cover? What if the inflation rate makes my savings not enough? Then reach into your pouch of “stones” and take out the one labeled Philippians 4:19 and topple that giant.

Maybe your giant is named “FEAR.” He wears a dozen different faces—worry, insecurity, anxiety, self-consciousness, shyness, timidity. Whatever face he wears, Fear has a vulnerable point, too; he thrives on anxiety and uncertainty. Two rocks will topple this giant. Joshua 1:9 and 2 Timothy 1:12.

If your giant is called “INFERIORITY COMPLEX,” his weakness lies in the fact that he has tricked you into believing that you are not worth anything to anybody. But a personalized version of Romans 5:8 will send this giant toppling into the dust.

Has a giant sense of “INADEQUACY” convinced you that you are helpless and can’t do anything? A well-placed pebble labeled Philippians 4:13 will make this giant bite the dust.

Five stacked stones balancingWhatever the giant you face, there is a rock of faith that can bring that fear, problem, situation or need come crashing to the earth. Like the shepherd boy David, we must select our stones with care and face the giant which dares to defy us. We need to affirm our faith in God and realize, as David did, THE BATTLE IS THE LORD’S. As we aim our stones with care, we’ll see the giants that confront us topple to the ground, and, like David, we’ll be victorious.

Scripture Used in Today’s Message

Maple UMC Calendar

March 2023

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