“The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:37
We read of one of David’s earliest exploits in 1 Sam. 17 where Goliath, the infamous massive Philistine giant, issues a challenge to the Israelites in the Valley of Elah: “Choose a man and have him come down to me. If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.”
The giant adds defiance to the challenge and says, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other” (1 Sam.17:10).
For 40 days, Goliath taunts and challenges the Israelites with this kind of terrifying speech. David finally steps into the scene and catches the challenge. David, of course, is not your typical soldier. For one, he is simply a shepherd boy—actually, a teenager– at this stage of his life. As King Saul points out in a later verse: “you [David] are a youth and he [Goliath] a man of war from his youth” (verse 33).
Despite the terrifying circumstances, David doesn’t let his age bog him down. One reason? He has had victories in the past. He says this to King Saul: “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Sam.17:37).
How often do we put down the youth because they are young? Yet God can raise up from among them DAVIDS whom He has personally trained in battles away from the public eye.
Off the battlefield, God had given David prior training in the pastures. With only the beating sheep surrounding him, David had killed a lion and a bear—deadly animals that could have torn the shepherd teenager apart. But David had defeated them, and he carried these past victories with him to the bigger battlefield against Goliath.
In all these, David acknowledged God’s hand of protection: “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear…” David knew that it wasn’t just him in the picture! He had a Deliverer!
Whenever we come face to face with giants in our own personal battles, it is good to look back at our history with God. How has God helped us in the past? What were those previous lions and bears? God trains us with lions and bears before he brings us into the battlefield against Goliath. Like David, we can bank on God’s strength and character to give us victory and strategy in the battle. Whenever Goliath comes to taunt us, we will always have a choice like David: to stand on the character of God and His ability to win the battles for us, or to allow the enemy to sucker-punch us, rendering us fearful and immobilized.
Let’s strengthen ourselves in the Lord by remembering God’s track record with us. If He has been our Deliverer from past battles, He can still be the Deliverer now!
Another point I want to raise is this: David knew who he was and whom he represented. One of my favorite parts of the story is when David says, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands” (1Sam.17:45-47).
When I read this in the Bible, I end up chuckling, “Who’s the giant now?” David may have been in his youth, but he had the daring and courage of the most experienced soldier. And this is what happens when a person knows that victory comes from the Lord. He or she can be the most courageous person on earth in the hands of the Lord. “The battle is the LORD’s” said David. He was so sure of his victory in God.
The same should be our stance against the Goliaths in our lives. There are many enemies we face in the battlefield of life. Perhaps we are struggling with a Goliath sickness; perhaps we are embroiled in some sort of relational misunderstanding; perhaps you are in debt…whatever battle we are facing, remember this: Victory comes from the Lord. The battle is His. Remember that as we face our battles, we will be giving testament of who God is—that He saves; that He is the Greatest Warrior in the battlefield.
I hope these two points stick with us: When battling our Giants, we can–
- Look at our history of deliverance with God.
- Stand in the victory that is in God because the battle is His
Because Jesus is victorious, our lives will know what victory is.
And if we’re not yet experiencing victory, it can only mean one thing: God is not done with us yet!
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.