The Philistines, who had invaded the land of Judah by “Sochoh and Azekah, in Ephes Dammim” (17:1 - about 15 miles southwest of Jerusalem) were an innovative and technologically advanced people who invented such things as the round bottom of jugs which were stronger than the common square edged containers. They invented squared bricks for building instead of simply using stones. They invented the crows-nest for ships so they could see an enemy or land far away. And they were expert metallurgists who were the first to invent iron from a combination of metals; a much stronger metal than the bronze used by the Israelites at that time in history. The inventiveness of the Philistines made them a formidable perennial enemy of the Israelites. So formidable and constant were the Philistines in there attacks against
With all of this in mind its no wonder the soldiers of
The Philistine champion called out the Israelite champion to a deciding match to the death (17:8-9). Goliath was equipped with state of the art weaponry. He wore a bronze helmet on his head, a coat of bronze mail (a type of flak jacket of his day) weighing approximately 125 pounds (17:5 - a shekel is approximately .4 ounces; there are 16 ounces in a pound; 40 shekels equal one pound; therefore 5000 shekels divided by 40 = 125 pounds approximately). He wore bronze armor on his legs and a javelin of bronze between his shoulders (17:6). His javelin had a shaft described as a weaver’s beam, a long thick rod, and the spearhead was made of bronze piercing iron weighing 15 pounds (17:7).
Not only was Goliath a huge man equipped with state of the art weaponry, but he had a bad attitude and was looking for a fight. So confident was Goliath that he was willing (and apparently had permission from his superiors) to stake the entire battle on his prowess against any warrior of the Israelite camp (17:8-9). He boldly defied the entire army of
Enter David the shepherd boy of
Once on the site of the battle it didn’t take David long to assess the situation. He heard the defying challenge of the giant and inquired about it and the reward for going out against him (-27). He even revealed his righteous indignation for anyone who would defy “the armies of the living God” (17:26). And there is a key insight into the victorious faith of David. The God he knew was the “living God.” He did not know or serve a stone cold statue of a god. He knew and served the living God. That makes all the difference in the world. When your God is living and on your side it doesn’t matter how big your giant is, you can take him (compare 1 Peter 1:3ff.).
Word of David’s courageous faithful response and willingness to go up against the giant reached king Saul. The king sent for David (17:31). The first thing David did when before the king was to speak a word of encouragement to Saul (). Faith is contagious and faith always aims at dispelling fear. Faith and fear are mortal foes. They are in constant war against one another.
Saul’s initial response to David was to try and discourage him. Saul looked at this young man and saw youth and smallness. David, by faith, looked at what God had already done in his life and shared with Saul. God helped him take on lions and bears singlehandedly! No doubt God was preparing him for a giant task. David was so persuasive that he was able to convince the king to allow him to go out against Goliath. Remember this contest would decide the outcome of the battle for all involved. Slavery was the sentence for the losers. A lot was resting on David. There is an unction, a persuasiveness, an anointing in the words of those who speak from a strong faith in God (17:33-37).
There is a lesson to be learned here about giant defeating faith. Saul, like so many before him (compare Numbers 14) and after him (Matthew 6:20; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8), focused only on the human and worldly resources. David, the man of faith, focused on God. It should be noted here that Saul himself was a tall man and physically gifted (1 Samuel 9:2) But Saul was also one prone to hiding from things (1 Samuel 10:21-23). Saul had great potential, but history shows he never realized it. He was not about to go out against Goliath. The bottom line is when you focus on God you can slay your giant; you can do all things (Jeremiah 32:17, 27; Philippians 4:13).. That’s what we see in David and his faithful actions. King Saul’s inaction teaches us that when you focus on your giant you will falter and fail before you start. Faith faces the foe. Fear keeps us from entering the fray.
Life is filled with scary giant obstacles. If we are to overcome those obstacles and press on with the Lord, we need to trust the Lord. David’s confrontation with Goliath shows us there is a way to overcome those giants. There’s more to learn about slaying giants as we continue in Part 2 of Giant Slaying Faith. You’re invited to consider such faith. We all need giant slaying faith at some point in life. Until then keep your eyes on the Lord not your giants!