As I was growing up as a child, one of my favorite stories was the one about a young boy that slew the giant. I’ll bet you remember it too. It is the biblical story of David and Goliath. I can remember going to the creek with a strap of leather, finding the perfect stone and trying to sling it toward my target. Over and over again, my efforts did nothing more than cause me to have a sore arm. Eventually, I decided that the author of Samuel 1 must have gotten it wrong. Surely it was a “real slingshot” made of wood carved into a Y with a big rubber band in the middle!
There are so many stories in the books of Samuel. I love going back and reading about the adventures of Saul and David. Many lessons may be taken from these stories. Recently my wife was reminding me about a sermon she heard on David and Goliath. As I went back through the book, something jumped out at me that I never realized before. As I studied, I realized that the Giant was not David’s enemy at all. The real enemy appeared a few paragraphs earlier. Samuel 1, 16:13, “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward.” And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. 14 Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him. In other words, God had chosen David to be the new King of his people, and he would eventually replace Saul. When God’s spirit departed from Saul, it left room for an evil spirit to take over. You will read in the next few verses after that where David played some worship music for Saul to relieve his pain and torment from the evil spirit.
Now, this is where it gets good. Saul was about to go to battle with the Philistines. As they were facing off, this giant Philistine named Goliath kept coming to the front of the line taunting the Israeli army. Goliath was over 9 feet tall bearing a coat of armor weighing about one hundred and twenty-five pounds, carrying an extra-large javelin strapped to his back. You know this dude was scary looking. Every time Goliath would come out and challenge them, they would get scared and retreat. David’s three oldest brothers were there with the rest of the Israelites about to go to battle as David was left tending the sheep. David’s dad pulled him away from his job and told him to go on delivery and take ten loaves of bread and some parched grain to his brothers so he could check on them. He also told him to take the commander ten cheeses.
While David was there distributing the goods he overheard Saul tell his men that whoever can kill the Goliath will be rewarded with riches, his daughter and have a huge tax reduction. When David heard this he must have thought, why not me? David’s began to question the men about what Saul had offered. When his brothers heard this it made them mad. They asked David why he had come down there and lectured him about leaving the sheep. When David kept asking questions about the reward it got back to Saul. When Saul heard this, he summoned for David. Verse 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.” At this point, I realized that David’s fight was not against the giant. Saul was his enemy.
Remember in the previous chapter where God had left Saul leaving room for an evil spirit? When Saul was leading his army, that same spirit was still inside of him. That same spirit did not want the Israelites to succeed. David was willing to fight the fight because he already knew the end of the story. The spirit of God was with him. He had already killed a lion and a bear that was attacking his sheep. What was a giant to him? The real enemy was what the evil spirit in Saul had said. If you break down verse 33, Saul said three things to David that could have altered the future and success of David and the Israeli army. He said, YOU ARE NOT, YOU ARE BUT (only), and HE HAS BEEN (he is better than you). This was David’s real battle, but because of his Faith, he was able to overcome the Devils number one weapon to try and derail who you are, who God says you are and replace it with who you are not. If our number one enemy can get you thinking in that direction, then he knows you will never succeed.
Many men that I know have fought this battle, and many have lost. More times than not, they never faced the giant they could see because they never made it past the unseen giant. Most of the time, failure is nothing more than doubt that has manifested over time. It is easier to believe we cannot than it is to believe we can. God has gifted each of us with talents to help us succeed, but if we fail to recognize that they are and use them then we might not ever achieve our potential. Everyone has a gift. Find it and never let anyone deceive you or throw you off course.
Stuart J. Dalrymple
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