Are you faced with a “Goliath“? Are you facing what seem to be insurmountable obstacles in your life? Have you ever lost your job suddenly and without any warning? Have you ever been unemployed AND unemployable? Are you faced with financial distress so great that you don’t know how you are going to pay your bills, let alone live? Are you in a relationship that seems so irreparably-broken that you think that there is no hope of saving it? Are you plagued by a growing list of chronic health-problems? Have you lost a loved-one to death, and wondered how you could ever carry-on without him or her? Has the seemingly “organized–chaos” of your life descended into utter-pandemonium? Several thousand years ago, David, a young shepherd-boy, faced Goliath, a man who was nearly twice as tall as him, but he conquered that that giant with the help of the Lord. So, sit back, relax, and buckle up, as we look at how David slew the giant, and how we may “slay” our “giants” with God’s help. We may never completely “slay” our “giants” in this life, but God has promised to show Himself strong where we are weak.
David and Goliath
17 Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle. And they were gathered at Socoh, which belongs to Judah, and encamped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. 2 And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the Valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. 3 And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. 4 And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. 5 He had a helmet of bronze on his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail, and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of bronze. 6 And he had bronze armor on his legs, and a javelin of bronze slung between his shoulders. 7 The shaft of his spear was like a weaver’s beam, and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron. And his shield-bearer went before him. 8 He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why have you come out to draw up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not 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 ranks of Israel this day. Give me a man, that we may fight together.” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.
12 Now David was the son of an Ephrathite of Bethlehem in Judah, named Jesse, who had eight sons. In the days of Saul the man was already old and advanced in years. 13 The three oldest sons of Jesse had followed Saul to the battle. And the names of his three sons who went to the battle were Eliab the firstborn, and next to him Abinadab, and the third Shammah. 14 David was the youngest. The three eldest followed Saul, 15 but David went back and forth from Saul to feed his father’s sheep at Bethlehem. 16 For forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand, morning and evening.
17 And Jesse said to David his son, “Take for your brothers an ephah of this parched grain, and these ten loaves, and carry them quickly to the camp to your brothers. 18 Also take these ten cheeses to the commander of their thousand. See if your brothers are well, and bring some token from them.”
19 Now Saul and they and all the men of Israel were in the Valley of Elah, fighting with the Philistines. 20 And David rose early in the morning and left the sheep with a keeper and took the provisions and went, as Jesse had commanded him. And he came to the encampment as the host was going out to the battle line, shouting the war cry. 21 And Israel and the Philistines drew up for battle, army against army. 22 And David left the things in charge of the keeper of the baggage and ran to the ranks and went and greeted his brothers. 23 As he talked with them, behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.
24 All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid. 25 And the men of Israel said, “Have you seen this man who has come up? Surely he has come up to defy Israel. And the king will enrich the man who kills him with great riches and will give him his daughter and make his father’s house free in Israel.” 26 And David said to the men who stood by him, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 27 And the people answered him in the same way, “So shall it be done to the man who kills him.”
28 Now Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spoke to the men. And Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why have you come down? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your presumption and the evil of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle.” 29 And David said, “What have I done now? Was it not but a word?” 30 And he turned away from him toward another, and spoke in the same way, and the people answered him again as before.
31 When the words that David spoke were heard, they repeated them before Saul, and he sent for him. 32 And David said to Saul, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” 33 And Saul said to David, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth.” 34 But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. 36 Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 And David said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” And Saul said to David, “Go, and the Lord be with you!”
38 Then Saul clothed David with his armor. He put a helmet of bronze on his head and clothed him with a coat of mail, 39 and David strapped his sword over his armor. And he tried in vain to go, for he had not tested them. Then David said to Saul, “I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them.” So David put them off. 40 Then he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the brook and put them in his shepherd’s pouch. His sling was in his hand, and he approached the Philistine.
41 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. 42 And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. 43 And 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 The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and 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 down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”
48 When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. 51 Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled. 52 And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. 53 And the people of Israel came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp. 54 And David took the head of the Philistine and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put his armor in his tent.
How big was Goliath? Six cubits and a span translates into 9 feet, 8 inches tall. His armor weighed 5,000 shekels of bronze, or 125 pounds. and the head of his spear weighed 600 shekels of iron, or about 15 pounds. He was enormous! He was a trained warrior, he was invincible, and yet he was felled with a stone hurled from a sling. Maybe everyone else thought he was too big to fall, but to David, with the help of God, he was too big to miss.
Goliath thought that David was easy-pickings, a push-over, but he was dead before he hit the ground. Using his own sword to lop his head off was merely the coup-de-gras. Even though David removed and saved Goliath’s armor, his real reward was seeing the hand of God at work and saving the Israelites from the Philistines.
David may have been a “lowly shepherd–boy“, but God had prepared him well for this battle. As a shepherd, he was responsible for his sheep, including protecting them from predators. Lions and bears are serious predators, and to go against one of them with a stone and sling would be unthinkable today, but they were all in a day’s work for David. Never underestimate the effectiveness of “primitive” weapons, when wielded by a skilled hunter. Of course the true game-changer was God Almighty. David faced Goliath as one would face a Sherman Tank armed only with a sling-shot, except that with the help of the Lord God, that small stone became a precision-guided anti-tank missile. Goliath never even saw it coming, let alone duck.
Why do I keep writing? Why do I keep baring my heart and soul for you, my beloved readers? Is it because I am an “overcomer” and have something to brag about? This blog is “STRUGGLES“, not “Triumphs“, because I am still a struggler. I hope that, by writing about my struggles, someone is given hope in their own struggles. I received an email recently from a very dear friend of mine, and he told me that when he read my testimony, he was challenged to revisit and think more deeply about his own faith. Thank you my dear Brother! That is why I keep writing…
The Apostle Paul, in Philippians 3:12-14, said: “12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Paul, even though he was an Apostle, was still a struggler.
I have lost four jobs since 1994, and all were under suspicious circumstances. Two of those jobs lasted ninety days or less, and three of the four were “management” positions. I won’t bore you with the details of each, just a thumbnail sketch, and to the best of my knowledge, none of them involved some kind of impropriety on my part.
1994 – Quality Assurance and Maintenance Manager – Fiberglass cooling tower manufacturer. “Christian–owned” – less than ninety days.
1997 – Safety Manager and Maintenance Foreman – Aluminum trailer manufacturer. Three years. My wife committed suicide shortly thereafter.
2000 – Maintenance Assistant – Nursing home – ninety days.
2008 – Service Manager and Lead Mechanic – Bicycle shop. “Christian–owned” – about four and a half years.
By the time I lost my last job, I was over fifty and pretty much unemployable. Companies weren’t hiring “older–workers“.
I am very familiar with “too much month at the end of the money“, and I have faced that problem many times. I wish I could say that I always have money left over at the end of the month, but I am exstatic if I break even. Some people would say that if I didn’t write that check for my giving to the work of the Lord, I would have more money, but in my experience, if I DON’T write that check for the work of the Lord, it is garaunteed that I WON’T have enough money for the month. Non-Christians don’t understand God’s economy and never will. Finances are one of my “Goliaths“.
I wish that relationships were easy to maintain, but they aren’t. It takes two to make a relationship last, and even if one spouse is doing everything they can to keep a marriage together, the other spouse can still ruin it. I am a veteran of several failed relationships and three failed marriages. My latest “marriage” lasted less than six weeks. She decided that she wasn’t “happy” in our relationship, so she moved out, and went and moved in with another man. In spite of everything I did to try to reconcile and restore our marriage, we are still seperated, although we are still legally-married. I prayed, my church prayed, my international community of friends prayed, but to no avail. I finally had to leave it in God’s in-box for Him to take care of, and He still hasn’t…yet. Patience…
I could list all of my health problems, and yes, the list seems to be growing, but that is one “Goliath” that I don’t have to face alone. A few years ago, when I had no health-insurance, and barely had two nickels to rub together, I got fast-tracked into the VA health-care system. Over the last almost seven years, I have had an incredible group of health-care providers, both doctors and nurse-practitioners. My two ARNP urologists deserve special thanks, because the first one cared enough about me to stick with it until she was able to figure out what is wrong with me, and the one I have now has continued to carry the baton for me. My hematologist is tops, and even though we have a disagreement once in a while, I wouldn’t trade him for any other. God has definitely been at work making sure I get the best health-care that is available.
On October 22, 1997, I got the kind of news that I pray no-one else ever has to face. My wife of 19-1/2 years had committed suicide. I was devastated. My world was already crashing down around me, and that was a catastrophe of horrible proportions, but I didn’t have to face it alone. I even lost my own children. Through it all, God sent several people, including my parents and a very dear pastor, to come along-side me so I didn’t have to face it alone. Life before that had been “organized–chaos” to a certain extent, but it quickly descended into utter-pandemonium. I had lost just about everything that I held dear, including my wife and children.
These are just some of the “Goliaths” I had to face through the years, but one thing is certain, and that is that God has always been faithful to me, even though I haven’t always been faithful to Him.
I believe that God sometimes allows us to face our own “Goliaths“, not to test our metal, but to test and deepen our trust in Him. Some of us, myself included, never seem to “get it“, insisting that we can go it alone, hoping that we are smart-enough, tough-enough, strong-enough, skilled-enough, or whatever-enough to deal with the situation. I have been a master of “doing it myself“, and a chronic “slow–learner“. Just a few days after my first wife committed suicide, a friend of mine asked me how I was doing. I told him “I am doing okay. I am tough and resilient.” Was I crazy? Maybe… Was I in shock? Probably… Grief will do that to you, and it is called DENIAL!!! That was only the beginning of many tough, rocky roads that I would travel over the next several years. It would take me fifteen more years before I started allowing myself to grieve her death, and that grieving process isn’t over yet. Some of that pain is still there, but I am no longer afraid of it. Connie is gone, but definitely NOT forgotten.
I failed that test, and have failed many since then. It has take me a long time to start realizing that I don’t have to face my “Goliaths” alone. It is a lesson I still have to learn, day by day, sometimes hour by hour, because I still don’t always completely trust God to do what I can’t. Maybe that is because I don’t always see Him topple that giant how and when I want Him to. Another lesson I still need to keep learning is that He is God, and I am NOT.
What is my only hope in life and in death? That I am not my own, but belong, body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.
What “Goliaths” are you facing that still aren’t toppled? What “Goliaths” have you faced with God’s help and are now buried in the “Goliath Cemetery“? If you feel so inclined, please join in on this conversation. I would love to hear your story.