1 Samuel 17 records the famous encounter that David had with Goliath. The battle lines were drawn between the Philistine and Israelite armies. Goliath, a well-armed and experienced soldier who was nearly ten feet tall, was the Philistine champion. He issued a challenge to any Israelite soldier to fight him one-on-one in a winner-take-all battle. No one accepted the challenge because the Israelites all feared this giant.
The shepherd boy David visited the front lines and found out about this standoff. Even after hearing some discouraging words from his older brother Eliab, David volunteered to fight Goliath. King Saul also tried to talk David out of this fight, pointing out David’s youth and inexperience compared to such a seasoned warrior as Goliath.
Not to be deterred, David recounted his experience fighting off predators who intended to carry off the sheep he was keeping. He gave God the credit for rescuing him from lions and bears, and he proclaimed that God would also rescue him from the hand of this Philistine giant, Goliath.
Saul finally relented, and dressed David in the king’s own armor. However, David was uncomfortable in the armor because he was not used to it. So he took it off, picked up five stones from a stream and approached Goliath with nothing more than these stones and his sling.
Goliath mocked his approaching adversary and predicted an easy victory. David had a different prediction—with the Lord’s help he would kill Goliath and the whole world would know that there was a God in Israel.
We all know what happened next. David used his sling to sink a stone into the forehead of Goliath. Then David used the giant’s own sword to cut off his head. Seeing this, the Philistine army fled and the Israelites won the victory.
What can we learn from this story that will help us battle against our own giants? First of all, we have to know that there are two sides. The battle lines between good and evil have been drawn, and we must choose to fight for one side or the other. Spiritual warfare is real, and we have to take it seriously.
Secondly, we need courage for this battle. The Bible continually urges us to not be afraid, but to take courage. Those who give in to fear will not experience the satisfaction that belongs only to the victorious.
Third, we must not allow anyone to discourage us from accepting the mission that God has put in front of us. We must ignore any attempts to deter us from engaging in the battle.
Fourth, we need to remember the previous times God has helped us to be victorious. His power was sufficient then; it will also allow us to prevail in our current fight.
Fifth, we must be comfortable with who we are. We can’t go out fighting “in Saul’s armor”. Don’t try to be someone else. God has uniquely gifted you and has equipped you with everything you need to win the battle.
But it all starts with choosing sides. I like what Randy Harris said in summing up this situation—“God’s team wins. Pick a team. Don’t be stupid!”