7/7/19

How big is your God these days? In the midst of struggles, problems, uncertainties, victories or successes you face right now, how big is your God?  The David and Goliath story has been told and retold for generations.  Names and circumstances may change, but the overarching message of the underdog defeating the “giant” remains the same. Starting with our own story as Americans being victorious over the British and gaining independence. Look at how many of the animated Disney movies deal with overcoming giants.  For many of us, we remember the real-life story in the 1980 USA Olympic hockey team that defeated the “Goliath” USSR team!

There is so much to talk about with David.  But of the many attributes and adventures of his life, this story seems to be the defining one of his legacy of faithfulness.  I believe that the reason that the story of David and Goliath is the 9th most requested instant replay story is that it addresses what every Christian will face at least once (most likely many times) in their lifetime: will we stay faithful in the midst of great fear and uncertainty? This story is our story too!

How do you / we handle BIG problems?  For some, we handle those big problems with fear and paralysis; for others we hide or run away; for still other we do nothing and wait for someone else to “fix” the problem.

THE PROBLEM: Israel and their King Saul had a big problem – the Philistine army and their champion soldier Goliath.  The entire army took its cue from its king. And Saul was afraid.  The main problem was that Saul relied upon Saul.  How many of us rely upon our own strength, ability, knowledge, talents, etc. when we are faced with a big problem?  The OT is filled with stories of might and bravery, but time and again failure came to those who put their trust in their own strength, ability, knowledge, talents, etc. and not fully relying upon God to guide them through.

Goliath was a giant with an attitude!  He stood 9’9” tall (just imagine what the Duke basketball team could do with him!) The background of Goliath’s challenge was not a new tactic.  Many armies would send out their champion to duel and determine who would be victorious.  The idea was that the 2 persons fighting represented the 2 ‘god’s’ of each army to see who the mightier god is.  Let’s make no mistake here – the David and Goliath story is a holy war. And this is why it is so troubling that King Saul and the army of Israel only saw Goliath as unbeatable for them and for Jehovah God as well. What giant problems in your life have caused you to take your eyes off of God and lose faith and hope?  When giant problems come at you are you paralyzed by the problem – like Saul? Or do you respond like David?

First of all, David shows up – bringing cheese and crackers for his brothers.  David then listens up and hears Goliath’s challenge and cursing of Israel and Jehovah.  Finally, an angry David stands up and volunteers to fight.

THE PLAN:  David determines that he will deal with Goliath the same way he has dealt with past problems (lions and bears) – he would rely upon God, who helped him before and would help him now. The problem with so many of us at times is that we have short memories! We forget how God has helped us in the past.  In fact, we seem to carve into stone our personal failures and short comings and then write our faith victories in the sand. It is time we make for ourselves a “Victory” book that lists how God helped us throughout our giant problems in the past.  Then we can look at those times and remember so we can find strength in the present.  This victory book is not something we keep to brag about, but it can also be a source of strength to others when we share with them how God has helped us and promises to help them too.

David also rejected unfamiliar advice.  He rejected Saul’s armor knowing that God would be with him.  He chose to wear the Armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18) and not the armor of Saul. How many times do will take advice from someone more frightened than we are – like Saul?  David becomes a FROG! (Fully Rely On God). He knows this battle is not about might, but about God.  Just a little faith can bring victory over the giants in our lives. Notice that David took 5 smooth stones with him to battle.  One theologian writes that there are 4 brothers of Goliath listed in the Bible and David anticipated dealing with them after he killed Goliath!

But in reality, one stone was all he needed and the same for us.  We too have a stone – the Bible nicknames him the corner stone or the stone rejected by the builders.  His name is Jesus and he is the only stone we need when facing our giants too!

So, David did what David knew – a 100 mph rock can do a lot of damage!  He chose to fight Goliath his way– not Goliath’s way.  To overcome giant problems, we must address them within our understanding and with our weapons – not theirs.  David would have been massacred had he fought Goliath with a sword.  But how often do we try to solve problems using unfamiliar weapons?

THE PROMISE: Zig Ziglar once said, “Everyone in Israel thought Goliath was too big to hit, but not David.  He believed Goliath was too big to miss!”  For 40 days Goliath challenged the army of Israel.  For 40 days Israel quaked in their sandals in fear and their giant problem kept getting worse.  “Short” David can be a wonderful metaphor for us today: a little faith can fell a giant problem – still.

The reason that David and Goliath is an important instant replay story is that it helps us know what to do when we face a giant problem: 1) Stop being afraid; 2) Start turning to God; 3) Remember past successes; 4) Stand firm in the armor of God – not Saul’s armor; 5) use what you know and 6) FROG.

In 1594 Michelangelo unveiled his masterpiece sculpture of David.  The statue of the greatest king of Israel stands 13½ feet tall!  One has to wonder if the artist was making a statement to the faith community.  Perhaps he was reminding every generation that Goliath was huge – compared to David, but because of David’s faith it was the giant Goliath who was made small! Remember that our giant problems are no match for our gigantic God!

It is no coincidence that today is Communion weekend.  Remembering is one of the many meaning this means of grace calls for.  As we come and receive, may we remember how our gigantic God has already overcome the greatest giants of all: sin and death!