Most people are aware of the story of David and Goliath and how a pimply faced runt of a kid delivered a nation and became king. What there might not know however is that to win, David faced more than one foe. It started in his own family and he was eventually opposed by Saul. The story of David and Goliath however also reveals that David faced not one giant, but six!
The events leading up to and including his confrontation with Goliath himself is seen on the page Goliath, accessed via the button above.
This particular story however is about his attitude towards all of these giants and it has a bearing in our lives today.
HAVE you ever been to a dentist? Part of their training is to learn foreign languages, because they ask you dumb questions like, “Are you OK?” Why? All anyone can hear is that raucous racket of a high speed drill....bzzzzzzzzzzzzzz and your mouth is falling off your face, feels like a lump of wood, full of padding and you can’t talk properly. I recently needed dental treatment, having developed a sudden abscess under one tooth. I brush properly and have good hygiene. My diet is balanced and for my age, surprise most folk. My last annual checkup with the optometrist surprised them. I could read the very fine print at the bottom of the chart and the first thing the optometrist said was, “Wow! That’s great. You are better than many teenagers.”
Therefore when that tooth developed problems it took me by surprise. I went to bed one night without any symptoms and woke in the early hours in pain. I later telephoned the dentist and was given a priority booking around midday. He did all the usual tests and probes and was surprised to find decay, but the problem was that it started below the gum line in my lower right second molar tooth. We discussed my options and he recommended a visit to the specialist. On my visit there, I was given bad news.
A nerve had died and the hidden decay had infected my gum. The tooth had to come out.
I shared that to illustrate that we are not immune from things like that and that there is a spiritual message to be learned as I will share later. I heartily believe in the healing ministry and miracles do happen in my own ministry. I met with one of the leaders of the Argentinian revival back in the ‘70’s who told me how people in one of his meetings started crying out loudly whilst holding their hands to their mouths as fillings popped out of their mouths because God recreated their teeth.
God can do it and does do it today, but the point I want to make is not about healing, but about hidden problems and obstacles and how we deal with them before they become major issues.
The story of David and Goliath is found in 1 Samuel 17.
In the account, David was a runt of a kid and his own family treated him badly. He wasn’t even invited to the meeting when Samuel came to their home searching for the new king of Israel.
When Goliath came out to confront God’s people, he was not alone. As we can do in life, we sometimes miss all of a story because we focus on one thing only and not see the things that are hidden.
David came out to confront Goliath who was about 9 feet tall. He was a giant.
The Old Testament tells us that giants lived on the earth at one time.
There are the Anakim, who are descendants from the Nephilim mentioned in Genesis 6:1–4. Some people think that fallen angels or evil spirits fathered those giants. I am not sure of this so will not comment on it, but we shall see some other information later.
Moses and Joshua encountered them when leading the Israelites through the wilderness. See Numbers 13:22–33 and Joshua 15:13–14.
The land to the east of the Jordan River was heavily populated with tall people known as Emim (Deuteronomy 2:10–11) and the Zamzummim, also called the Zuzim. See Deuteronomy 2:10-11 and 20.
The Amorites is another group that stood in the way of Israel claiming the Promised Land and are described as being exceptionally tall. See Amos 2:9–10.
Another group were the Rephaim. They are mentioned approximately 20 times, mostly in association with the conquest of the Promised Land. Moses encountered King Og of Bashan, whose bed measured 13 feet or 3.9 meters in length.
See Deuteronomy 2:11, 20–22; 3:11–13 and Joshua 12:4; 13:13.
I want to say at this point that God had given strict instructions to His people to completely eradicate all of the enemy that included men, women, children and livestock and for good reason. It was to prevent contamination and cross infection.
Saul for example disobeyed that instruction and you know the outcome.
God could have healed my tooth and I prayed that way, but it was not to be so. It had to be removed, to prevent other problems and this is the central core of this message. Fix what has to be fixed up before it becomes too big a problem to handle later.
Goliath was confronting God’s people when David arrived and prevailed against him, but it is only part of the overall picture.
David asked the soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and ending his defiance of Israel? Who is this pagan Philistine anyway, that he is allowed to defy the armies of the living God?” 1 Samuel 17:26
David wanted to know, “What’s in it for me?” and it is perfectly OK to ask what we have inherited. We need to know all the facts, like who we are, what Jesus did, what we can do and so on. We need to determine our boundaries, recognize and understand our position in Christ and more importantly...to exercise our rights in and through Him.
God has given us the land, but there are giants there who we must dispossess to take possession of our inheritances.
There is a story of a man who went on a cruise ship. He booked into his cabin and was looking forward to reaching his destination. Day after day, the ship sailed closer to port whilst the passengers enjoyed themselves. The man made himself at home in his cabin and carefully meted out the provisions he took with him ensuring that he had enough to reach the destination.
On arrival as he was disembarking, the steward asked him why he had never come to the dining room for meals. The passenger said that he had saved for the trip, but did not have enough for meals, litle realizing that they were free! They had been included in the price of his fare.
Whatever we need for our own journey is free and already paid for. I have observed over the years however that many Christians are not aware of this as they live far below the standard, or the mark God set for us in His Son.
This not only includes partaking of the benefit and privileges, or the blessing, but walking in the victory Jesus already won.We know that Jesus destroyed the works of the devil and won the victory for us. Of that there is no debate, but although the ultimate execution of sentencing is yet to be fulfilled, he is still wandering around seeking to take us down with him.
Never be afraid of him and do not underestimate him, but always ensure that you are wearing the armor of God at all times, knowing that we can and should walk in the victory. Our armor is not provided to simply look good or defend us as we hide behind it. Our armor is mighty through God to the tearing down of enemy strongholds. The Armor of God is discussed on my web site. Click here. Our armor is a weapon against which no enemy can prevail, but we need to know what it is and what we can do with it.
Most of our warfare is waged in our own minds. Paul said -
For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.
For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One), Being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6
Often times winning the battle requires us to deal with intellectual arguments and debates, theories and pure pride. We win by bringing every thought captive and bringing it into submission...to Jesus. See Philippians 2:5, 4:6-9 and James 1:13-16.
We do this—not God. We make the choice, but He gives us the ability to do what needs to be done and sometimes we have to be radical about it. There are times when my thought life is not right, just as it is with you. I am not talking of impure thoughts but of negativity, doubt, an occasional fear of something unknown and the like. They are thoughts like, “We can’t do it. We can’t make it. What if it doesn’t work? What will others think about me?” and so on. Control them and bring them into submission because they can become giants in our lives. If you could overhear me, sometimes I speak to myself and tell my thoughts to shut up, or to stop it. I have forcibly said, “Robert! Shut up!” on many an occasion and deliberately changed channels. As Paul said-
...And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.
Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
Since I was saved in September 1968, I have seen and witnessed some stuff, some of which was pure demonic, but I do not engage in “spiritual warfare” as some do. If and when occasion dictates, we are to take authority of course, but on most occasions, I would say that most problems you and I experience are in the areas of the mind.
OK, that’s dealt with. Back to David. By his own admission, there was a righteous cause and if no one else was going to do something about it, he would and weighed up the pros and cons. That’s a good place to start any endeavor. Jesus told us to do that. He said that no one starts a building project unless he first determines the cost and if it is feasible. David saw the enemy and weighed up the cost and the possibilities, drawing off his knowledge of the word of God and what God had done for His people and from his own testimony. Having such knowledge is champion building material.
No one can argue with good experience or a testimony of the reality and truthfulness of God and His word.
The Lessons we can learn from this story are many and varied but I will only touch on several.
- Saul tried to get David to wear his armor, but thankfully he refused to wear it. God has given each of us individual talents and abilities and functions in life. What He has asked you to do could be vastly different to what He wants someone else to do, so avail yourself of those things and only do those things; nothing else. This applies to pastors as well as all believers. If you step out from your personal calling, you will be trying to work under a barred anointing and risk not only your own failure, but cause hurt to others in the process.
- David selected five stones from the brook. This was a deliberate and planned act. He was working to a plan.
Many believers fail in their endeavors because they do not make plans. They are keen and enthusiastic and could have a legitimate call on their life, but do not prepare themselves to fulfill it. Bible colleges do not always fully equip people for the real ministry God has, but tend to shape the student into their own mould, often denominationally based. That’s OK and it does give credibility and does impart certain good and necessary information, but not necessarily equipping them God’s way.
Selecting 5 stones (5 is the number for God’s grace) took some time and effort.
We see in 1 Samuel 17:40 that he chose smooth stones from the brook, meaning that he searched for the right tools for the task ahead. I have heard it said that he did this thinking that if he missed Goliath with the first stone, he would have a backup.
That is wrong! There were other giants to conquer and I shall elaborate later and he was ready for all of them. Goliath was first.
- David hasted and ran towards his enemy. The meanings of haste and run are different. Haste is māhar that I believe means in this instance that he did not waste any time, but immediately went into action. The opportunity presented itself and he took it.
The other word is rûṣ that does indeed describe the act of running. What it all means, I believe, is that he saw an opportunity, did his homework and then immediately got into action and meant business. He did not want to miss the day of his visitation as many believers do for a myriad of reasons. We are in a race after all and are told to run it.
- He fitted one stone into his sling as he ran towards the enemy after making his faith declaration—that he was coming in the Name of the Lord and what he would do. He deliberately aimed at Goliath’s head. It was no hit and miss effort, or, “Let’s try it and see if it works”.
The meaning to us, especially to those in ministry is, as I said earlier, to work in your own calling and focus on that.
If God called you, He anointed you for that task and if He called you, He provides for you. I’ve seen too many lovely people and churches go down because they attempted doing something God never ordained, or not laying full and proper foundations. Financial issues and power struggles are prevalent. I know of several churches that were going great and growing well until they had a building program. They got into debt, people were hurt and the public witnessed it.
- David faced more than one opponent. We tend to think that this was about one man of God and Goliath, but David faced 5 other obstacles, making 6 in all.
Goliath was a giant around 9 feet tall and a fully equipped and trained warrior. He was enough to strike terror in any man, but he had a shield bearer in front of him! This man was a warrior in his own right and had to be big and strong enough to carry his own weapons and armor as well as Goliath’s shield. David faced him first! Goliath was behind!
I am of the opinion that such a shield bearer could also function as a distraction. He could get someone’s attention whilst the real enemy lurked behind. David was called, anointed, prepared, ready for action and also alert.
The bible tells us that we are not ignorant of the enemy’s devices. In 2 Corinthians 2:11 when Paul was talking about other matters, including forgiving others, he said
... Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
That word device is interesting, coming from the Greek word noēma that talks about perception, purpose, intellect, mind and thought. I mentioned earlier that in order to succeed, we have to ensure our thought processes are right. We can be distracted by all kinds of things, some of which are good and wonderful, or as Paul said, “Lawful, but not expedient”. Regardless of what it is, even if it is a good thing, we cannot afford the luxury of letting our guard down and allowing something else to take our gaze off the things God has for us. Whilst we are looking at that shield, the giants we face could be taking aim and about to launch a barrage at us. We then wonder, “What happened?” What went wrong? Why did that person betray me?” and so on. Sometimes such attacks do not come from the outside, or the heathen, but from a brother or sister in the Lord or a relative! It happens!
- David cut Goliath’s head off. He knew that he had slain his enemy, but wanted to make sure that the source or the driving force behind him was eliminated—and everyone knew it! It is quite possible that we have a situation or a problem and deal with that little realizing that the real culprit is hidden or that it has companions.
Many years ago, a wonderful woman in the church came for prayer, saying that she was suffering from a severe headache.
I laid my hands on her and she said that the headache disappeared. Everyone was happy. Some time later, she came again with the same problem and I prayed with the same results. This started to happen often and I realized something was wrong, so inquired of the Lord and He told me to stop praying for her. It surprised me because I would pray for anyone at the drop of a hat, until I learned better. The lesson was not to be too hasty in doing things, not to leap to conclusions and to check with the Holy Spirit first beforehand.
He told me that she had an issue with pride. Her vanity was the problem, because she disliked using her reading glasses. She also liked the attention given. Don’t be too quick to jump in. Things are not always what they seem.
He told me to tell her to start using her reading glasses. She thankfullly took that advice and the headaches stopped.
If you go back to my opening comments about the dental treatment I had to have. I did not want that to happen of course, but was wise enough to realize that the decay and ensuing infection would have caused other problems, perhaps greater sometime later. I laid my hands on myself. Marjorie prayed for me, but it still had to come out.
The lesson to be learned here is that we must deal with issues when we discover them and not try to sweep them under the carpet and ignore them or pretend there is no problem. We also need to do things God’s way on that specific occasion.