Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Giant

There are only two things that I am really, absolutely, positively scared of: roller-coasters and horror movies. And, I've been thinking about both of these things lately because the state fair was in town and because it is Halloween! That got me to thinking even further and investigating the "spooky" or horror-type stories of the Bible.

So I came the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. You know the story: the Philistines and Israelites are battling and they come to a valley. Both sides draw their "battle lines" and refuse to move forward. The Philistines send forth their best fighter, Goliath. Goliath challenges Israel to send their best fighter forward and fight him. Goliath says that whichever side loses will be the slaves of the other side. But the Israelites were intimidated and none of the soldiers were willing to step forward and fight him. You see, Goliath was 9 and a half feet tall. His armor, alone, weighed 125 pounds. He was so massive that he had a soldier assigned to him just to carry his shield.

For 40 days (or a really long time), Goliath taunted and challenged the Israelite soldiers, among them, David's brothers. One day, by chance, David heard Goliath’s challenge. Now, David was not actually a part of the army, but he had been sent by his dad to the battle-lines to check on his brothers who were in the army. David, willing to fight Goliath, decided he was willing to step forward; he figured it couldn't be any worse than his “shepardly” duties. When a sheep would wander off or be taken away by a lion or bear, David would go after the lion or bear and kill it so it would release the sheep. So David went to battle with Goliath with only a sling and a stone in tow, no armor or anything. He takes one shot at Goliath, hits him in the skull, and Goliath dies. And here's the horror part ... a great battle begins and the Israelites kill all of the Philistine soldiers and their bodies are strewn everywhere. And what's further, after Goliath falls down David celebrates by cutting of Goliath's head and carrying it around. YUCK!

We all have "giants" in our lives. And if our teenagers are anything like I was when I was their age, they are facing spiritual (i.e. how does faith relate to my life), emotional (i.e. argument with parents/friends or tough decisions about college, etc.), and physical (i.e. self esteem) giants. And, it is easy to be intimidated by our giants! Even as adults, we continue to battle "giants."

There are a couple of lessons we can take from reading between the lines of the David and Goliath story. First, David didn't go to battle Goliath but he went to check on his brothers. Our giants are usually the same, they just pop up when we least expect them. Secondly, the more we put the battle off (like Goliath's 40 days of taunting), the more intimidated we can become and the further out of control things spiral for us. Thirdly, we need to celebrate our victories! I'm NOT saying we should go and cut our enemies heads off and carry them around but I am saying we should celebrate and give God appropriate credit.

A warning: we may lose a battle or two. But, the great thing about battles is, they are designed to bring us closer to God. We have to trust God to get us through the fight and that God will equip us with the right tools to win! We're not called to be successful ALL OF THE TIME; but, we are called to be faithful. The bottom line is we can't beat our "giants" if God isn't in our army!

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