The story of David and Goliath is a story for the ages.
The armies of the Philistines were on the mountains of one side of the valley, while the armies of Israel were on the mountains of the other side of the valley. Both armies ready to attack each other when a giant of a man, nine foot four inches of a man, Goliath by name, steps into the valley between the armies.
The Philistine’s proposal was simple enough — Israel is to send one man out to fight him. The two warriors would fight on behalf of each army. The outcome of an entire war being decided by one fight between two men. The losing side would become slaves to the victors.
The men of Israel if they stood toe to toe with the giant would stare into his belly button. Not one single man of Israel would volunteer to wrestle with Goliath. Then along comes our hero, David.
David is a boy, about fourteen years old. His father sent him to the war front with some food for his older soldier brothers and to bring a report back on how things were going.
Goliath had been coming out every day with his challenge and so far no takers. Soon after David arrives, Goliath comes down into the valley again, making his challenge and downgrading Israel for their cowardice.
When David hears the boasting of the Philistine, he begins talking to the soldiers of Israel. He tells them how God is on their side and defeating this man is only a matter of faith. David’s speech doesn’t get anyone so riled up that they grab their sword and run down into the valley, but it does inspire some of them to take David to King Saul.
David explains to King Saul that by the grace of God he had killed a lion and bear that were attempting to have lamb chops for dinner. If God can deliver a lion and bear into David’s hands while he is protecting his flock, surely God would deliver Goliath to protect all Israel.
This place in the story brings me to a point. Everyone uses the David and Goliath analogy to encourage people that by faith we can conquer the giants of adversity in our lives. But have you ever thought about the lion and the bear?
The lion and bear were not as large a problem as Goliath. The bear would only kill one sheep at a time, haul it off to a cave and enjoy his feast. The lion pretty much the same. The lion and bear represent problems that well, at worst is only affecting one tiny area of Israel. Goliath, on the other hand, threatened their very existence.
The Bible does not mention them, but I’m sure David ran off or killed plenty of coyotes, wolves, foxes and other creatures that were a threat to the sheep. Encounters with these types of predators would be a near everyday experience for a shepherd.
Because of David’s faith in God, which grew daily because of his experiences protecting the sheep, he was able to slay the giant when he came along.
We all face our Goliaths — the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the doctor with dreaded news – any event in our lives where everything forever changes.
David uses the lion and the bear as a major thrust of his argument, encouraging King Saul to allow him to fight the Philistine. David’s faith had some experience behind it.
We all face our bears and lions — problems not as life changing as our Goliaths but problems that need dealing with almost on a daily basis. The car breaking down, a small illness, sins that we struggle with — pride, selfishness, indifference, greed and so on.
If we don’t defeat the bears and the lions how can we possibly beat Goliath?
When we are not active in the basics of Christianity — faith, praying without ceasing, being faithful to God’s house — how can we defeat the lion or the bear? We can’t; and then winning over Goliath will be impossible.
How faithful are you in your small problems? Answer that and you’ll get an idea of how well, or poorly you will handle battle in Goliath’s valley.
Remember the words of Jesus, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much” (Luke 16:10).
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind. Visit his website, [email protected] All scripture KJV.