Summary: We who follow the Christ face giants with stunning regularity. Studying David's bold fight with Goliath will suggest the manner in which we must conduct battle against these giants.

“When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

“So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.” [1]

Giants appear in our world with alarming regularity. I’m not suggesting that individuals standing “six cubits and a span” loom over the landscape today. I do mean that situations, conditions and even individuals can be capable of inflicting great misery on the people of God—and they are with us to this day. Situations or people can have exaggerated power to make life miserable, to inflict harm that cripples the saints, even hindering the progress of Christ’s faithful people. Often, the appearance of one of these giants during the conflicts of life can intimidate the saints into silence. These giants rage, perhaps even engaging some of the saints in battle, and they seem invincible to us when we must face them. We witness the casualties resulting from these conflicts, and we tremble.

We read how Goliath caused the warriors of Israel to quail, even fleeing in terror each time he appeared. “As [David] talked with [his brothers], behold, the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, came up out of the ranks of the Philistines and spoke the same words as before. And David heard him.” This is our introduction to the giant that threatened an entire army. Thus, we read, “All the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were much afraid” [1 SAMUEL 17:23-24].

We each face giants which threaten our walk as a follower of the Risen Christ. These giants challenge us to fight, a fight that is anything but fair. If we accept the challenge, and usually we have little choice in the matter, we know that the system is rigged. From a human perspective, there is no way we can win. If these giants win the battle, their victory will threaten the life of the assembly to which we belong and which we love. Our children, younger believers who look up to us and outsiders who stand on the fringes of the Faith watch to see what the outcome of the conflict will be. The ogre is terrifying, towering over our life as it does. These giants are equipped with armaments that frighten us. We see him and we are certain that we cannot stand against this terrifying spectre. We are certain we will lose the battle.

GIANTS WE FACE — It would be impossible to enumerate all the giants we face in life, but it doesn’t require a great deal of imagination to name some of them. In fact, it is virtually certain that some who are listening at this hour are facing a giant, or perhaps even several giants. It is to our advantage to know that giants exist and that they are intent on doing us harm as a people of faith. Perhaps it would be helpful if we categorise the giants we may face rather than attempting to name every single giant.

David faced Goliath; he was armed with a slingshot and a staff when he met the giant. The young shepherd had five slick river rocks in his pouch. Some people have questioned why, if David was certain that the LORD would guide him, did he need five smooth stones? Often, people are not aware that Goliath had brothers. We know that one of those brothers was named Lahmi. Elhanan, the son of Jair killed this giant during the wars [see 1 CHRONICLES 20:5].

As the divine author is recounting the wars of Israel against the Philistines, he writes of giants killed during the wars, specifically describing four of these giants. All these were felled by the people of Israel under the leadership of David. David killed the first giant, Goliath, and the remainder were downed by others who were encouraged by David’s example. The divine writer points to five giants in total, each of whom was a warrior. The evidence, then, indicates that Goliath likely had four brothers. David was prepared to take out the entire crew if need be.

The point is, David did face a giant, and Bible readers are well aware of that contest and how it ended. What is less well known is that Goliath was not the only giant participating in Israel’s wars with the Philistines. Other warriors were compelled to face giants at various times. And though we won’t study those battles, we will benefit from a review of David’s battle with Goliath as a model of facing the giants. We will seek to understand the danger David faced and how he was enabled to win the conflict. This study will be a source of encouragement to God’s people in this day because we still face giants.

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