Then Goliath, a Philistine champion from Gath, came out of the Philistine ranks to face the forces of Israel. He was over nine feet tall! He wore a bronze helmet, and his bronze coat of mail weighed 125 pounds … Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites. “Why are you all coming out to fight?” he called. “I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul. Choose one man to come down here and fight me!” … For forty days, every morning and evening, the Philistine champion strutted in front of the Israelite army.
1 Samuel 17:4-5, 8, 16 NLT
Challenges are inevitable in life from the womb to the grave, confronting us through different situations of all shapes and sizes. They come in the form of circumstances or conditions presenting some serious difficulty, pressure or hardship potentially arousing high levels of stress. They often appear gigantic or something formidable, bringing frustration and fear as it did to the Israelite army.
First Samuel 17 contains the amazing story of David, the young Israelite shepherd who takes on the challenge of a Philistine champion fighter named Goliath. From a human perspective, David is seen as a dwarf compared to a giant.
After inquiring and understanding what the reward would be in conquering the intimidating, imposing and impenetrable giant (verses 25-27), David accepted the challenge, telling the Israelite King Saul, “Don’t worry about a thing. I’ll go fight this Philistine” (verse 32).
The contest concluded like this. In making his approach toward Goliath, the young, yet anointed David picked out five smooth stones from a stream and put them in his pouch, with his shepherd’s staff and sling in hand. As Goliath approached David, apparently the giant only noticed the staff in David’s hand for he barked in disdain, “Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks?”
After David’s confident reply of certain victory, Goliath makes his move to attack David, who on the run toward Goliath reached in his pouch, took out one stone and slung it — BAM! The stone struck and sunk into Goliath’s forehead. Goliath stumbled, falling face down to the ground. The sharp-shooting David stunned the giant opponent with one of the five smooth stones from the stream, and then proceeded to finalize the victory by slicing off the head of the giant Goliath with Goliath’s sword.
There are many insights and lessons in this entire story of how to and how not to approach challenges in life in order to conquer them, especially spiritual battles. One insight is that challenges that confront us do not have to crush us if we know how to respond to them. A primary lesson is that trying times against a Goliath are times to trust God.
How can we express trust in trying times and put faith in God to give us victory? We have to remember the previous deliverances by the hand of the Lord, as David did regarding the lion and bear (1 Samuel 17:34-37). We have to rely on the name of the Lord, not on human ingenuity or instrumentation (1 Samuel 17:38-39, 45). We have to recognize that the battle is the Lord’s, not ours (1 Samuel 17:47). God’s supernatural strength always wins out over natural strength, human means or mere prowess.
Whatever challenge you may be confronted with in this season, place your trust in God, who will turn your test or trial into a triumphal testimony.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. Psalm 20:7, 8 NIV
Rev. Johnson A. Beaven III is pastor of Citadel of Faith Church of God in Christ. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @jbeaven.