Why did David fight Goliath? It’s safe to say that whether you’ve grown up in church or not the story of a young boy (David) fighting a giant (Goliath) and winning is one of the more captivating and inspiring stories you will ever read. It has a great plot, plenty of drama, memorable trash talk, high tension points, and a satisfying ending.
But the question still remains. Why did David fight Goliath?
As someone who has grown up in church, I’ve heard more messages than I can count about David and Goliath but it’s always been from a personal perspective. The why of the fight was always presented from a standpoint of Goliath representing personal struggles and how, just like David beat his giant, with God’s help and a great deal of determination I can beat the giants in our lives as well. The messages on this topic usually follow a pattern that goes something like this…..
What David was facing (How big his giant was)
What we face (How big our giants are)
Why did David fight Goliath (The glory of God / Personal victory / Leadership development / Etc.)
Why do we fight our giants (The glory of God / Personal victory / Leadership development / Etc.)
How David beat his giant (What resources were at David’s disposal) How we beat our giants. (What resources are at our disposal)
This pattern is all well and good. Even the “Why” being presented in these messages is all well and good. Despite a relationship with God spanning two decades now, I still find myself facing down personal giants that I need to overcome for my own sake and for the glory of God. I fully admit that as Christ followers we need to hear messages on how to overcome the personal giants of finances, addictions, bad patterns, past hurts, fear, etc.
But God is slowly beginning to change my perspective. Not on what to fight, but why I fight in the first place.
Maybe this blog will help change your perspective too.
Going back to the story of David and Goliath, as I read 1st Samuel 17 I noticed something very interesting when I got to verse 8. It reads like this:
8 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! 9 If he kills me, then we will be your slaves. But if I kill him, you will be our slaves! 10 I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” 11 When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.
I read this passage over and over and found something interesting. Goliath issued a very specific challenge. He insisted on a one on one, winner take all, fight to the death grudge match between him and one warrior from the Israelites. Whomever the Israelites chose would represent the entire nation. If the Israelite warrior won, then the Philistines would be slaves. If Goliath won, then the Israelites would be slaves. One man would carry the fate of an entire nation.
Talk about pressure.
In the past, it’s been easy for me to look at the Israelite army in this story and grow frustrated with their lack of courage. I ask myself over and over why no one had the guts to stand up and fight. Why was a shepherd boy more courageous than grown men?
But then I realize the pressure that the one man who chose to fight was under. It wasn’t just that one man had to fight. That was the easy part. The Israelite army had fought in, and won, numerous battles in their past so their lack of courage couldn’t be attributed to them not wanting to fight. They knew how to fight. They knew how to wage war. They knew how to use swords, spears, bows, and arrows.
Their lack of courage didn’t stem from them not necessarily wanting to fight a battle, it stemmed from not wanting to fight the battle. Every man in that army realized the stakes and pressure of stepping up and fighting the one battle that decided the fate of a nation and realized they didn’t want any part of it. Fighting a battle with immense pressure, where other people’s destinies were on the line, was enough to make even the most experienced soldier cower in fear.
Which makes what David did all the more courageous. He didn’t just fight Goliath for himself. He fought his giant with the fate of a nation riding on his shoulders.
He fought his giant not for himself, but for others.
And we are called to do the same.
God is slowly beginning to shift my focus away from myself (a hard task indeed!) and showing me how he has called me to fight and kill “giants” for the sake of others. He’s showing me how the battles that I fight not only impact me, but impact the destiny of others. He’s showing me how fighting and winning the battles against my giants impact the people around me ranging from my kids, my friends, my family, and my community.
I’m not just fighting battles for me. I’m fighting battles so others can see and draw courage from it.
I’m realizing that God has placed people in my life that need to desperately see that is possible to live victoriously, with freedom, and without fear in this life. If I can beat my giants, then they now have an example on how to beat theirs.
Talk about pressure.
I think about my kids. To know that the battles I win today can build a platform for them to win their battles tomorrow.
I think about my family. To know that the courage I show can inspire courage in them.
I think about my friends. That the example I set for them could one day lead them to a life of freedom.
I think about my church. That as I fight my giants I can show them how to fight giants too.
I think about my community. That as I get off the sidelines and pick up my sword that I can rally them to get off the sidelines too.
Is there pressure in knowing that my battles can influence and impact others? Sure there is! But the only anxiety in accepting that fact stems from the perspective of if I actually lose my battles. But even if I do. Even if I stumble and fall. Even if I blow it. I still have a Savior who is always there to pick me up, brush me off, and send me out to fight again. Do my losses have consequences at times? Yes. But even more powerful than my losses is the promises I have in Jesus Christ of redemption, protection, and righteousness. As Romans 8:31 says:
If God is for us, then who (even my lost battles) can be against us?
So with God’s promises as my foundation, I begin to see losses in a new light. A new perspective then begins to grow and I realize that instead of the immense pressure of losing, I begin to ask myself an entirely new question…..What if I win?
Pressure then turns into possibility.
Knowing that us fighting our giants has such a huge impact on the people who know us and see our lives can I ask a question?
What if we win?
What if you win?
Think about that for a second. Truly take a moment and think about what will happen and who you will impact if we win the battle with our giants. How will we set up the people we influence for success if, with God’s help, we are able to overcome our addictions, step out from a painful past, heal emotionally, and grow in all facets of our lives.
How will our families, kids, friends, neighbors, and communities be inspired if we defeat our Goliaths?
Truly take a moment and think about those questions.
You may at first experience fear because you wonder to yourself, like I do, how we can overcome the giants in our lives.
But then, if you will allow the spirit of God to whisper to you, He will open your eyes to see the potential of what He can do through you and how you can win your battles to help set others free.
Pressure becomes potential when we allow God to get involved.
So who are you fighting for? Who are the people in your lives that look to you as an example? Who are the people who look up to you? Who are the people who depend on you? Who are the people that you have the potential to inspire? Who are the people who will find the courage to fight their giants if they see you fight yours?
Maybe one of the biggest keys to beating our giants is to keep in mind who we are fighting for instead of just strictly focusing on what we are fighting. That perspective can potentially swing the result of the battle in our favor.
So who is it? Who is it that needs to see you fight and beat your giant? Is it your kids? Your spouse? The people in your fantasy football team? The co-worker who sits next to you? Your parents? The friends from your past who said you would never make it two weeks as a Christ follower? The friends from your present who are telling you to not even try to fight your giant because you could never win?
Is it someone in your life who has little hope? Is it someone who seems to have it all together on the outside but who is crumbling on the inside? Is it someone who has been to church all their life or someone who doesn’t have one plan to ever step into the doors of a church? Are they young or old? Has life been kind to them or cruel? Are they well off financially or do they struggle to rub two pennies together?
The truth is that it matters less what stage of life they are in as long as you know who they are and that you recognize the influence you have with them.
And don’t you dare for one second hide behind some form of false humility and devalue the influence you have with people.
True courage takes place when we realize the influence we have with the people around us (that’s the pressure) and then take action to influence their lives for good (that’s the potential),
This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Don’t let your courage be sapped by believing the lie that the people around you need to see you be perfect in order to be inspired.
They don’t need to see you be perfect. They just need to see you fight. They need to see you take a moment of courage and fight the giants in your life. Your fight for freedom will inspire them to fight as well.
Perfection is not a requirement.
One last thing to remember as we take the courageous steps to fight our giants:
We never fight our giants alone.
Looking back at the story of David and Goliath, David fought for the people of Israel but he fought Goliath with the strength God gave him. We are never asked to fight our pressure filled moments, and giants, alone. Our job is to know who we are fighting for and courageously step out to fight our giant. It’s God who gives us the strength to win.
Somehow, someway, God used a teenage shepherd boy with nothing but a sling and stones to beat a fully armored, professionally trained, giant.
Somehow, someway, God can use you, yes YOU, to fight and beat the giants in your life. If you will let Him……
My prayer for each and every person reading this blog is that you would be filled with God’s presence and purpose as begin to make the bold decision to fight your giants to help others find courage and freedom. It is time for God’s people to step out of the shadows and fight the giants that threaten them.
You can do it. I know you can.