You Must Have Meant Nine Inches
“A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall” —1 Samuel 17:4
Late yesterday afternoon I walked down to a nearby medical clinic to get a prescription renewed. Ahead of me in the line was a big man who was well over six feet tall. I remember thinking he’d make a good basketball player. The thought also passed through my mind that I wouldn’t want to have to fight him off if I happened to meet him a dark alley. He’d crush me like a grape.
That experience gave me a whole lot of sympathy for the armies of Israel as they took a look at this Philistine champion. The deal was that Israel would send out its best warrior to meet Goliath and whoever was still standing at the end of the fight would determine the winner of the battle between the two nations. No one needed a crystal ball to figure out how this was going to end! The result was a standoff—no one did anything because no one in Israel was willing to get crushed like a grape and be the means by which Israel was reduced to slavery to the Philistines.
Life is full of nine foot tall giants. Our “Goliaths” turn up and yell “I dare you…” at us, and we feel the pain and fear beginning to ooze out of us. Some habit, some task, some person, some sin, stands in the way of our growth, our advance forward. We are here, at this point in our lives, and can get no further because of our “giant.”
If you are familiar with the Biblical story, you already know how this one ends. A young boy, by the name of David, steps out and says to Goliath: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will hand you over to me…all those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands” —1 Samuel 17:45, 46, 47, NIV.
David had no personal resources. Even the rock he picked up that finally killed Goliath, wasn’t his. But God wanted this young man to stand up and take his shot, using the resources that God provided. The odds were impossible. The man was armoured from head to toe, beside being huge. But even giants have their weak spots and God’s a great “flight controller.” The rock found the chink in Goliath’s armour.
What helped David exercise faith and step out to face a giant was his past experience exercising faith against lesser enemies. He’d already proven God’s faithfulness against a lion and a bear (1 Samuel 17:37). The smaller steps prepare us for the bigger ones. Our past victories over lesser foes give us confidence to face bigger challenges.
David always remembered that the battle wasn’t his to win, it was God’s to win, and in that “my-daddy-is-bigger-than-your-daddy” showdown, God is always going to win. At the end of the day the Philistines, and the Israelites, would know that there was “a God in Israel” (1 Samuel 17:46).
Step out and face those giants. Watch how God whittles them down to size.