Week of Monday, May 23 – Sunday, May 29
Facing the Giants – Man as Defender

When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.— 1 Samuel 17:48 ESV

On the 40th anniversary of D-Day, President Ronald Reagan stood at the U.S. Ranger Monument at Pointe du Hoc, France. With an audience of WWII veterans, family members, dignitaries, and media, he declared: “Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war. Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your ‘lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.’”

In my military career, I have fought alongside and commanded brave men like the soldiers President Reagan memorialized in his speech. Their courage is inspiring, and the results of their sacrifices have brought freedom to the world. Although the odds of victory were slim to none, without hesitation, they advanced toward the enemy with grit and determination, and because of their valiant effort, millions were set free. With Memorial Day approaching, we honor all those who made the ultimate sacrifice on the altar of freedom.

As a young soldier in the “Israeli Defense Force,” David faced similar overwhelming odds. Goliath was over nine feet tall, and his armor weighed over 100 pounds (v 4-7). While the giant paralyzed the Israelite soldiers with fear, David was propelled by his faith. He fearlessly faced the Philistine giant who was shouting curses and invoking his pagan gods with an epic battle cry appealing to the one true God: “[Y]ou come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied!” (v 45). This teenage warrior proceeded to tell that battle-hardened Philistine champion that he was about to take him down, cut off his head and feed his corpse to the vultures and jackals (v 46). Just think about what people who heard this young ruddy-faced teenager must have thought as David stood before Goliath, threatening him with death. They must have laughed, yet David was quite confident of the outcome. When we trust God, we can be assured that the outcome will be God’s will.

Now God’s honor was at stake, and David intended to defend it. And when God gave David the improbable victory over this uncircumcised Philistine, everyone in the world would know the fame of Israel’s God. That He is mightier than sword and spear, greater than hordes of enemy soldiers, and yes, even this behemoth named Goliath. David had already experienced God’s deliverance as a shepherd against some fierce predators (v 34-37). Yet even though he’d proven himself a valiant warrior (see 16:18), his trust was not in his own fighting ability or Saul’s armor but in Almighty God alone. David left no doubt about it when he shouted back at Goliath: “The battle is the LORD’s” (v 47).

Giants still roam the earth today, wreaking havoc. They may not look like Goliath, but they are just as threatening, invoking their false gods, defying the one true God, and striking fear into the hearts of most of the timid souls who sit in our church pews. Like the armies of Israel, many of God’s people are paralyzed by fear, hanging their heads and accepting defeat. The great need is for men of God to be propelled by faith, stepping forward as Defenders like David, knowing that these godless foes are still defeated with the same timeless tactics applied thousands of years ago.

First, David didn’t run away from the battle; he ran quickly toward it. Second, when the giant shouted at him, he shouted back. Third, when the giant came at him with the armor and weapons of the world, David came armored in the name and power of His God. And he prevailed. He “left the vivid air” of that ancient battlefield signed not just with his honor but with honor given to Almighty God. May we strive to do the same when facing the giants.

•  What do the giants look like in your world? What are the forces of evil that are tearing down what is right and good and advancing what is wrong and bad? Are you paralyzed by fear or propelled by faith to do something about it?
•  How does David’s example of running quickly toward the battle inspire you as a Defender? Ask yourself: Does my faith inspire others to courage?
•  Ask God for the courage to uphold His honor in the battle!