All my life I have heard the story of David and Goliath preached with an emphasis on personal application. "Defeating Your Giants" or "Five Stones of Faith That Lead to Victory" -These typical homilies are focused on encouraging believers to slay impossible giants in their own lives. However, I believe it is time to take a fresh look at this age-old passage.
I had the privilege to hear Bob Sjogren, president of UnveilinGLORY ministries, speak and he suggested something quite strange. While Goliath is usually presented as a stumbling block best avoided, Bob suggests that we run towards our giants in the name of God’s glory. Personal giants are usually associated with things like lust, addiction, depression, etc.; no one in their right mind would run towards anything like that. But what if the death of Goliath was not so much about personal victory and more about God's desire to make his name great among every nations. Bob surmised, that Goliath was a tool used to glorify God, therefore, it would make sense for God's people seek out more opportunities challenge giants for all to see.
Notice David's battle Cry before defeating the undefeated giant, "This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand! I will strike you down and cut off your head. This day I will give the corpses of the Philistine army to the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the land. Then all the land will realize that Israel has a God, and all this assembly will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves! For the battle is the Lord’s, and he will deliver you into our hand.” (1 Samuel 17:46-47) David's confidence was not placed in his preparation or strength, rather his confidence was rooted in the nature of the Living God. The ultimate goal of Goliath's defeat is not to teach us that underdogs can persevere. However, it is a demonstration that the God of Abraham, Issaic, and Jacob is mighty to save. And it just so happens that God chose to show his strength in one of the most public battles and most memorable defeats of all time.
Can you imagine the chatter in Israel the next day? A teenager, not proven in battle, defeated the strongest man the Philistines had to offer. The word would have spread like wildfire- as soldiers shared meals by the fire and women gathered to wash clothes, as tradesman exchanged their goods they would catch up on the latest gossip. Soon all the land would know there is a God in Israel as David so accurately projected. (1 Samuel 17:46)
If the unlikely slaying of an undefeatable giant would reveal God's glory to the nations, what giants can we seek to defeat in our own culture? Is it possible the church could deliver a mortal blow to the constructs of homelessness, hunger, racism, or immigration? What kind of glory would God's name be given if His church takes on an impossible giant for the sake of God's Kingdom? What if instead of running from giants we pray for a giant to defeat so that all may know there is still a God in Israel?