We all face giant, challenging issues sometime in our life. We face them personally and as families, as individual churches and as a worldwide movement, as citizens and as a country.
God used a shepherd boy in ancient Israel to give us a good picture about how to handle a giant challenge. Picture with me David, the anointed future king of Israel, suddenly facing the biggest challenge of his young life. We find this exciting story in 1 Samuel 17. But instead of viewing David as the hero, let's understand that God is the real hero. David's own reminder rings true: “The battle is the Lord’s.”
Goliath, a Philistine champion warrior almost 10 feet tall, challenges the army of Israel to send their own champion to fight him to the death. The loser will not only be dead, but the people he represents will become slaves to serve the winner's nation.
Goliath arrogantly defies the army of Israel and their God: “I dare you to fight me.” But instead of rising to the test, the Israelite soldiers, including the king, are paralyzed with fear. Instead of moving forward toward an opportunity for victory, they cower before the pagan challenge, afraid that they and their God are no match for one human giant.
This tense standoff wears on for 40 days and nights. Every day Goliath goes out to deliver his challenges to the Israel army: “I own you” and “You are cowards.” Talk about demoralizing! Yet, God waits to send deliverance. God could have chosen anyone in the army to slay the giant, but He doesn’t.
Enter the shepherd boy David. His spirit rises up against Goliath's challenge. “Who is this ungodly Philistine who is defying and mocking the army of the living God?” he asks. He's just in the nick of time. Israel's king and army have given up. They cannot and will not take up the challenge to set Israel free from reproach. But as they step back, God steps forward with the willing heart of a shepherd boy. At just the right time, God moves to set Israel free from reproach and let the world know His power. He works through David to do for Israel what they cannot do for themselves.
The giant must fall! God waits. But the giant must fall for Israel to move forward and God to be revealed for who He is. The giant must fall for the reproach to be taken away from Israel and for God to be vindicated before the world. Yet, God waits. At just the right time, He moves.
It’s not our power that defeats the giants in our lives. Victory comes from beyond us — from One who provides the will and the way: “'Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit’, says the Lord.”
God chose one person and worked through him that day in the valley between two mountains. The choice was God’s. God also picked the timing of the deliverance and provided the means and power. God was the hero, David the willing instrument in God's hands.
If you are facing a giant today, don't just try to work up David's faith and courage. Instead, keep your eyes on Jesus. All the stories of the Bible point us to Jesus. He alone can do for us what we are not able to do for ourselves. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Allow Him to choose the means and the timing of deliverance. And then, give Him all the glory. When our human nature pushes us to rush ahead on our own agendas, remember His counsel: “Be still and know that I am the Lord.” The battle belongs to the Lord.