Colton knelt behind a teacher’s car in the school parking lot. The morning bell had rung, and he knew he would be late, but he didn’t care. Mitch is late so much, he thought, and he won’t tell me why. I’m going to see if I can find out.
As Colton’s eyes searched the playground, he saw what he was looking for. An eighth grader had Mitch by the shoulder and was saying something. He shoved Mitch against the wall and threatened him with his fist. Reluctantly, Mitch finally reached into his pocket, pulled out money, and dropped it in the boy’s outstretched hand. The bigger boy shoved Mitch again and took off running.
“That big bully!” sputtered Colton softly. He pulled a notebook and pen out of his backpack. Following his school’s anti-bullying guidelines, he wrote: Mitch Oates, 6th grader–lunch money stolen, Wed. at 8:15 along parking lot brick wall by an older kid with black hair and dark blue coat. I can identify. Signed, Colton Reynolds, 6th grade.
Mitch was slowly heading toward the school door, and Colton ran to catch up. “Hey, what are you doing here?” asked Mitch in amazement.
“I saw that bully! Why did you give him your money?” demanded Colton. “Why didn’t you tell the principal? Who is that kid anyway?”
“His name is Owen, and he’ll hurt me really bad if I tell anybody,” murmured Mitch.
“Well, you don’t have to tell. I’ll tell,” replied Colton. He took the note he had written and headed to the principal’s office.
“Wait!” called Mitch. “Aren’t you afraid Owen will get you? He’s so mean and scary when he gets mad!”
“Mrs. Prince won’t put up with bullying,” Colton told him. “We’ll tell a bunch of other kids, too. If Mr. Bully knows we won’t keep quiet about it and that everybody is against him, I don’t think I’ll have to worry. And besides, I . . .” Colton hesitated. “Remember the Bible story of David and Goliath?”
“Yeah, I remember the story,” Mitch replied.
“That giant was one big bully, but God helped David fight against him.” Colton grinned as he added, “I’m sure God will take care of me, too.”
The passage we heard from 1 Samuel was David’s moment of truth. He had just infuriated a giant of a man, and if God was not who He claimed to be, David was as good as dead. The plan of redemption for the whole world was at stake, because the Saviour was to come through David’s family line.
Judging by appearances only, David was no champion, but he would rely on the Champion of Israel to deliver him from the enemy. David’s great confidence didn’t come from his ability or his past experiences. It came from the knowledge that the battle was one in which God would be with him. Goliath’s awesome presence and several attacks spread fear through the Israelites camps, but they didn’t scare David.
The Israelites feared losing to Goliath, but they also forgot who called them to enter the Promised Land. They saw God fight for them in many previous battles, but they forgot to trust Him in this one. David’s focus was on God, not Goliath.
When Saul told David that he could not fight Goliath, Saul was not looking into the eyes of faith. Trusting God means looking beyond what we can see to what God sees. David knew that God was with him, and he saw what God’s presence could accomplish.
Before he gained public prominence as Israel’s champion and king. David learned humility and confidence in the Lord while out in the fields tending sheep, with no one but God watching. Only faithfulness in the small things prepares God’s servants for greater service in His kingdom. David had confidence in his gifts, experiences and abilities. He needed them to face the giants in his life. Likewise, people need to have confidence in their own abilities if they are to face the giants in their lives. These gifts, experiences and abilities come from God.
David was confident for three main reasons. First, he was armed with faith in God’s power. Second, he announced that God would deliver Goliath into his hands, and that God would do to the Philistines what Goliath threatened to do to David’s body. Finally, David announced that everyone would know that there is a God and that the battle was God’s. David fought in the name of God and for the glory of the Lord, whose name and glory would travel to all ends of the earth.
What has God given you? Many people want to be someone else. They want to fight the battles with other peoples’ armour. If we do that, God won’t fight for us. He wants us to be ourselves, with our own unique packages of gifts and talents. We have to be ourselves We have to pursue the dreams God has given us, and not the dreams He has for someone else.
God made his point. Anyone who underestimates what God can do with the ordinary has rocks in his head……….and Goliath quite literally had rocks in his head! When Goliath cursed David, he cursed God Himself. God was bound by His covenant to curse Goliath in return. David knew that the Philistines were in effect challenging God by confronting His people.
Goliath started life as a little baby. Similarly, the giants in our lives start out small and then they get bigger. If we tolerate a giant, it will take over our lives. How do we deal with a giant? We attack it and kill it.
We may never face a giant such as Goliath, but we face giants of another kind in our daily lives- giants such as fear, insecurity, loneliness, and failure. How can we overcome those giants that want to defeat us? These five stones can help us to remember the story of how David defeated the giant he faced, and they help us to know how we can defeat the giants which we face.
The first stone represents COURAGE – David was not afraid to face the enemy. David said, “Don’t worry about a thing,” David told Saul. “I’ll go fight this Philistine!” It also takes courage to fight the giants we will face in our lives.
The second stone represents CONFIDENCE – As a shepherd, David often had to protect the sheep from wild animals. This gave him the confidence he needed to face the giant. “The LORD who saved me from the claws of the lion and the bear will save me from this Philistine!” Like David, we can have confidence that God will help us overcome the problems we face each day.
The third stone represents PREPARATION – David didn’t go to face the giant unprepared. He went down to the stream and picked out five smooth stones and put them in his shepherd’s bag. Then, armed with his shepherd’s staff and sling, he started out to fight Goliath. It is important for us to do everything possible to be certain we are prepared to face the challenges which we will meet in our daily lives.
The fourth stone represents TRUST – David did not trust in his own ability to slay the giant. When Goliath shouted at David, cursed him, and was ready to kill him, David said, “You come to me with a sword and spear, but I come to you in the name of the LORD God Almighty” When we face problems, we should put our trust in God, not in our own ability.
The fifth stone represents VICTORY – “It is God’s battle, not ours,” David said. That is why David was able to win the victory over the giant with only a stone and sling. When we turn our battles over to God, we will have the victory over the giants in our lives.
If we want to defeat the giants that are keeping us from being the people God wants us to be, all we have to do is follow the same steps David did:
- Remember how God helped us in the past.
- Use the tools God has given us.
- Ignore people who criticize our dreams.
- Expect God to help us for His glory.
This story, especially David’s challenge to Goliath, has implications for us today. No matter how lonely we may feel at the moment, God has many servants on earth. There are also many servants in heaven. In other words, God has servants everywhere. He doesn’t need any help, although many times He will work through us. He will win every battle. It’s in the little things and in the little places that we prove ourselves capable of doing the big things. When God develops our inner qualities, He is never in a hurry.
David’s decision to stand up to and face Goliath is a good example as we represent and stand up for Christ in the world today. Here are a few things from David’s example that we can put into practice:
- Be confident in God.
- Don’t hesitate.
- Don’t worry about being compared to other people.
- Don’t question the situation.
- Use the tools you have and are familiar with.
- Don’t run away from the fight.
- Remain humble.
- Finish strong.
What kind of a difference would it make in the life of the church if more of us had this kind of a firm faith in God’s ability to take care of himself and his own people? It won’t lead to laziness in the church or elsewhere in life. Knowing that everything is in God’s hands doesn’t mean that we can sit back and be idle. It means doing our work on God’s behalf with greater joy, with greater confidence, with a firmer sense that God can and will bless our work.
When we trust God, we can respond with courage and strength to the forces that threaten to defeat us. Power belongs to God, and our alignment with God’s vision, not with bullies, oppressors, and those who would plan evil. God makes a way when there is no way! God inspires us to be agents in our own destiny. Despite our apparent weaknesses, we can experience newfound courage and strength when we trust God’s loving power. The storms of life won’t stop, bullies will continue to threaten us, and outside factors will put us at risk, but nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So, the next time you are facing a giant in your life, remember the story of David and Goliath –and five smooth stones.
- Jeremiah, David: The Jeremiah Study Bible, New King James Version (Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing; 2013, pp. 379-380)
- Chafin, K.L. & Ogilvie, L.J.: The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 8: 1,2 Samuel (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc.; 1989; pp. 131-134)
- Stanley, C.F.: The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible: New King James Version (Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles; 2005)
- MacArthur, J.F. Jr.: The MacArthur Study Bible: New American Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers; 2006)
- Lucado, M.: The Lucado Life Lessons Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson; 2010; pp. 371-362)
- Daniel Darling, “When Your Shoes Don’t Fit, Don’t Wear Them.” Retrieved from www.danieldarling.com
- “The Bully.” Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org
- “Five Smooth Stones.” Retrieved from www.Sermons4Kids.com
- Alan Wright, “The Faith Building Power of God Moments, Parts 1&2.” Retrieved from www.sharingthelight.org
- Pastor Rick Warren, “Four Steps to Defeating the Giants.” Retrieved from email@example.com
- Charles Swindoll, “Inner Qualities.” Retrieved from www.insightforliving.ca
- “Facing the Giants Today.” Retrieved from www.dailydisciples.org
- Richard Niell Donovan, “Exegesis for 1 Samuel 17:32-49.” Retrieved from www.lectionary.org
- Pastor Greg Laurie, “The Only Way to Deal with a Giant.” Retrieved from www.harvest.org
- Scott Hoezee, “Old Testament Lectionary-1 Samuel 17.” Retrieved from http://cep.calvinseminary.edu/sermon-starters/proper-7b-2/?type=old_testament_lectionary.
- “Representing God.” Retrieved from Christianity.firstname.lastname@example.org