I like the story of David and Goliath, which is found in 1 Samuel 17. It is a story about a boy who faces a giant armed with nothing but a slingshot and wins. We all like stories where the underdog wins, because if the underdog in the story is victorious there is the chance that we can do the same thing.
As I am sure you recall, the Philistines had come calling and they were looking for a fight. King Saul led the Israelite army out to meet them. The Philistines occupied a hill on one side of a valley, and the Israelites took a hill on the opposite side.
Both sides set up camp and waited. Every day for 40 days the Philistines sent out their champion, a giant named Goliath, to hurl insults at the Israelites. He would challenge them to choose a champion to fight him, man to man. Goliath was proposing nothing less than a high stakes, winner take all contest.
The Philistines liked this idea because Goliath was a giant of a man and practically invincible in single combat. Understandably the Israelites were less than enthusiastic. In fact they were dismayed and terrified, including the King. Perhaps this is the reason no one was in a hurry to fight. The Philistines had nothing to gain and the Israelites were paralyzed by their fear of Goliath.
Things changed when a young shepherd boy heard Goliath’s challenge. David heard Goliath’s taunts and was offended by the way he described the Israelites. However, unlike everyone else, he was not afraid to do something about it. He went to the King and said, “Send me.”
King Saul agreed and in no time David stepped onto the field of battle armed only with a God’s promise and a slingshot. Then the impossible happened, a shepherd boy slew the mighty Goliath.
Once David proved that Goliath was not invincible, and had shown that the Philistines could be beaten, the Israelite Army found their courage and joined the battle.
As a nation and as individuals we have our own modern day versions of Goliath. There are things like promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, trying to make a living and perhaps the most challenging one of all — trying to live lives devoted to Christ.
This story illustrates three important truths that are worth remembering. Ignoring a problem only makes things worse. It is amazing how possible the impossible becomes once someone does it. Finally, and most importantly, there is no opponent or problem that is too big for God.
Let me ask you, what giants are you facing? And more importantly, are you facing them on their terms or are you facing them on God’s terms? Are you relying on your own strength like when Saul tried to equip David with his armor and sword, or are you leaning on God’s strength?
John R. Fowler is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Prosper.