The First Step to Defeating a Giant

The contrast could not have been more extreme. There stood the shepherd boy, David, facing Goliath. The towering giant carried a massive spear, wore the protection of heavy armor, and was flanked by an armor bearer. David—a young teenager of average build—wore his shepherd’s clothes and carried nothing more than a sling and 5 smooth stones.

Goliath had the entire army of Israel trembling in fear. You see, the thing about giants in the Bible is that they were big—really big. They were also cruel. You might find a kind, gentle giant in a fairy tale, or on a commercial for frozen vegetables, but those are the products of wishful thinking and slick marketing campaigns.

photo credit: Brett Jordan via photopin cc

Goliath was a descendant of an ancient race of giants—massive, evil creatures that always sought to oppress others. Their origins are mysterious, with some scholars claiming them to be the twisted offspring of demons and humans. Others aren’t so sure. One thing is certain, however: this evil race was bent on oppressing—and even destroying—the people of God.

The sad truth is that David should have never faced Goliath, not because he wasn’t up to the task—we know differently—but because previous generations cowered when they should have fought. Ancient Israel sank into one of its darkest periods because they shrank back in fear from facing the race of giants that God promised to help them defeat.

I refer to the familiar story of Joshua and Caleb and the ten others spies whom God sent into the Promised Land to explore the territory and prepare for its conquest. The land was indeed fruitful and beautiful—everything that God had promised—but that wasn’t what captured their attention. The abundant land that had been promised by God was crawling with giants!

Only Joshua and Caleb responded with faith. They alone understood the power of God and the nature of their relationship with Him. The other ten spies found themselves recoiling over the thought of meeting such an intimidating race on the field of battle. Worse still, their bad report struck terror into the hearts of the people.

The result? The promised nation spent forty years wandering aimlessly through a barren wilderness until that entire generation—except for Joshua and Caleb—went to the grave. If ever there was a time when God was unhappy with His chosen people, this was it! Eventually, Israel went on to conquer most, but not all, of the Promised Land. The race of the giants was allowed to continue.

For over 400 years, the nation of Israel allowed oppressive giants to roam the land, quite probably wreaking havoc on her people. Not until a young fellow by the name of David happened along, did they finally rise up to throw off the giant yoke of oppression. David’s secret to victory had little to do with himself and everything to do with how he viewed his heavenly Father. David’s knowledge of God’s greatness and faithfulness gave him the courage to stand boldly when those of larger stature cowered in fear.

The giants from the Bible serve as metaphors for the spiritual obstacles that block the way to each person’s “promised land”. Our spiritual giants appear to tower above us and are often exceedingly cruel. Just looking at these fierce foes can cause a person to lose heart. Failing to face them, however, places a heavy burden on the generations that will follow us.

What giant mars the landscape of your promised land? Some type of sin or addiction? A broken relationship? A lack of money? A health problem? As daunting as these obstacles may seem, we serve One who is infinitely greater. The first step to defeating a giant involves seeing God for who He is: the One who towers far above that which towers above you. No matter what we face, God is greater. If we want to rise victorious above the obstacles in our lives, we must learn to see Him for who He is.