Summary: Each Christian will face battles throughout the life they are called to live. There will not be one battle, but each of us will face multiple battles, and the situations we face may appear overwhelming as we face our own giants. But God will send a deliverer just when we need that deliverer most.

“There was war again between the Philistines and Israel, and David went down together with his servants, and they fought against the Philistines. And David grew weary. And Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants, whose spear weighed three hundred shekels of bronze, and who was armed with a new sword, thought to kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, ‘You shall no longer go out with us to battle, lest you quench the lamp of Israel.’

“After this there was again war with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants. And there was again war with the Philistines at Gob, and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim, the Bethlehemite, struck down Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck him down. These four were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.” [1]

Joel Gregory is one of the great preachers in this generation, in my estimate. Doctor Gregory is a master at making what has been written relevant to this present age. A few years ago he preached a sermon with the title I chose for this message at Kensington Temple in the Notting Hill area of London. [2] The title of his message was simply too good not to appropriate for our own people. I shamelessly appropriated the title. The message Doctor Gregory presented was pertinent and prescient.

You will remember that the Apostle has written, “These things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction” [1 CORINTHIANS 10:11]. It is a reminder that we must not read so fast that we skip every other verse as we read. God has included even what we imagine to be obscure and unimportant pieces of information for our benefit. Our responsibility is to allow the Spirit of God to instruct us, guiding us as we read these pericopes so that we will be strengthened and encouraged.

The passage in which the text appears is easily dismissed by the average reader. It contains the names of individuals that lived long ago; and those names are hard to pronounce for those of us who speak English as our native tongue. Moreover, the incidents described could easily be seen as incidental. They failed to make the top ten list of events in Israel’s history. In fairness, had things worked out differently, and had those people with the strange names prevailed in their battles against the people of God, the events would have been far more significant, and their names would be much more familiar. However, they lost the battles against David and his men; and thus, they don’t seem all that important to us.

The people named in this passage are not well-known, but the incidents provide some vital instruction for our benefit. The enemies of God were helped by some powerful men—men who were fierce, ferocious, formidable foes who opposed the people of God and threatened David and his armies for many years. You will recall that David killed a giant. David’s father sent him with provisions for his brothers who were serving in Saul’s army. At the camp, David learned that the Philistines had a giant fighting in their army; and this giant was ridiculing the armies of God and even demeaning the LORD God of Israel! The more he learned, the more this young shepherd was incensed, and he began to openly express his disgust that no one would fight this giant to shut his mouth.

The king heard what was said, and David was summoned before the king. Perhaps he was full of youthful bravado, or just perhaps God was working in this young shepherd’s heart, but when David appeared before the king, he said, “Let no man’s heart fail because of him. Your servant will go and fight with this Philistine” [1 SAMUEL 17:32]. Saul responded, “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him, for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth” [1 SAMUEL 17:33].

This teenage boy pointed to God rather than merely boasting of his own strength. David responded, “Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” Emphasising his confidence in God, the shepherd boy then testified, “The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” It was enough for the king, because Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you” [see 1 SAMUEL 17:34-37]!

The giant was amused when David came out to fight. David had only a sling and a staff, and the giant mocked him, saying, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks” [1 SAMUEL 17:43b]? He uttered a curse against David and threatened, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field” [1 SAMUEL 17:44]. David had his own rejoinder to the giant, warning icily, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand” [1 SAMUEL 17:45-47].

You remember the outcome of this battle. The final score: Shepherd Boy – one; Giant – zero. “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. And the men of Israel and Judah rose with a shout and pursued the Philistines as far as Gath and the gates of Ekron, so that the wounded Philistines fell on the way from Shaaraim as far as Gath and Ekron. And the people of Israel came back from chasing the Philistines, and they plundered their camp” [1 SAMUEL 17:50-53].

I suspect that you hold the opinion that facing one giant when you were young would be enough? Doesn’t it seem redundant, certainly rather needless, to keep on having one giant after another come after you as the years pass by? Why should life be composed of a series of endless battles with giants? Many of us appear to think that we will only have one great battle in life, and after that we will be able to rest secure in the knowledge that there will be no more battles. Of course, it doesn’t work that way, does it? We face continual battles as we move toward glory. It is one battle after another.

What is easy to miss in the text before us today is the information that Goliath wasn’t the only giant David faced. There was another named Ishbi-benob, one of the descendants of the giants. He was part of that group from which Goliath had come. After Ishbi-benob, there was another giant from that same group; his name was Saph. After Saph, another giant, Lahmi, who appears to have been a brother of Goliath, came after David. After that, there was yet another giant with polydactylism. By now, it seems as if the giants that continued to pursue David had become so common that the divine chronicler didn’t bother trying to find out the name of this one. It was enough to know that this giant, like the others that preceded him, came after David and that he failed.

What is important for us to note is that all these descended from the giants of Gath. (That would be a fascinating title for a movie.) Like Palestinians raised to hate Israelis, these giants were raised to hate David. From infancy, the giants appear to have been raised with one goal in life—kill David! Rather than being nursed on their mothers’ milk, these giants were nursed and nurtured on hatred. All these giants were focused on killing David. David might have been wearied by the giants, but he couldn’t ignore them. What I find fascinating is that David needed help if he would be delivered from the giants of Gath. And you and I will need help if we are to be delivered from the giants we face.

THE BATTLES DAVID FACED WITH GIANTS — After David killed Goliath in one-on-one combat, we read of four more giants, each apparently intent on killing David the giant killer. We read of Ishbi-benob; that’s a name you don’t often hear as the preacher delivers the Word of God. We may name our sons “David,” but I doubt that you’ve ever heard of a child named “Ishbi-benob.”

In another of the battles between Israel and the Philistines, this giant appears to have zeroed in on David. We can almost see this giant moving through the mass of combatants, ignoring lesser fighters, or even swatting away those he knew to be a mere annoyance, as he moved deliberately toward David. He noted that David was becoming fatigued. David was no longer the youth he had been when Goliath was dispatched, and like all of us as we age, he grew tired as he swung his sword and lifted his shield.

I have greater understanding than I once did about David’s loss of strength and vitality. You’ve often heard me note that the rivers of British Columbia are swifter and deeper than they were forty years ago. I’ve observed on a growing number of cases that the fish finning in the current on the far side of a stream are relatively safe from my lure today. The mountains have grown steeper and they are so much higher than they were thirty years ago. Goats and sheep, and even the bears that feed in the mountain meadows aren’t worth exerting myself today. The moose and deer have grown heavier than ever. When I hoist one of these creatures on my back now, my knees buckle from the weight and I am forced to take frequent rests as I attempt to transport the meat to my truck. Something dreadful has happened!

That was the situation David faced when Ishbi-benob came at him. David was no longer the strapping youth that had fought and killed a giant named Goliath. Suddenly, there was another giant to fight, and David had grown older, slower, more easily fatigued, more vulnerable in the battles he was forced to fight. When he fought Goliath, David ran to him. The Bible says, “David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine” [1 SAMUEL 17:48b]. This time it is the giant who is running toward David. This giant was aggressive. He wasn’t waiting on David to come to him; he was intent on killing David. He was determined to rid his family of the shame of having one of their members killed by this upstart who gained fame as a giant killer. Ishbi-benob would soon see what kind of giant killer this vaunted David was!

At last, Ishbi-benob was closing in on David. He had a spear strapped to his back. The bronze head of that spear weighed 3.3 kilograms, almost eight and a quarter pounds. Moreover, he was armed with a new sword. It seems as if he had the sword made just for this battle. David was tired; the king was having difficulty lifting his sword to swing it at the enemy. The face of the old warrior, the King of Israel, is flushed and he is gasping for breath. His grip has grown weak on the haft of his sword and the shield is held low as though it is too heavy for battle.

As the giant nears he draws back his sword to swing at the giant killer. David is in real trouble! At the last minute, “Abishai the son of Zeruiah came to his aid and attacked the Philistine and killed him” [2 SAMUEL 21:17a]. Who is Abishai? Abishai was the son of Zeruiah and David’s nephew. This relationship detailed elsewhere in the Word. Scripture informs us, “The three sons of Zeruiah were [present that day], Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Now Asahel was as swift of foot as a wild gazelle” [2 SAMUEL 2:18]. Thus, we learn that David’s aunt had three sons, and that each of these boys enlisted in the army to follow David. Asahel was killed when he wouldn’t break off a pursuit of Abner, leader of the forces of Israel that were engaged in civil war with David. Joab, of course, schemed and managed to seize the position of field marshal of the armies of Israel under David.

Abishai wasn’t a field marshal, nor was he killed in combat. He was David’s nephew, noted for his prowess in battle. An account is provided in 1 SAMUEL 26:6-12 that demonstrates Abishai’s courage. This is the way the account unfolds. “David said to Ahimelech the Hittite, and to Joab’s brother Abishai the son of Zeruiah, ‘Who will go down with me into the camp to Saul?’ And Abishai said, ‘I will go down with you.’ So David and Abishai went to the army by night. And there lay Saul sleeping within the encampment, with his spear stuck in the ground at his head, and Abner and the army lay around him. Then Abishai said to David, ‘God has given your enemy into your hand this day. Now please let me pin him to the earth with one stroke of the spear, and I will not strike him twice.’ But David said to Abishai, ‘Do not destroy him, for who can put out his hand against the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless?’ And David said, ‘As the LORD lives, the LORD will strike him, or his day will come to die, or he will go down into battle and perish. The LORD forbid that I should put out my hand against the LORD’s anointed. But take now the spear that is at his head and the jar of water, and let us go.’ So David took the spear and the jar of water from Saul’s head, and they went away. No man saw it or knew it, nor did any awake, for they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the LORD had fallen upon them.”

Abishai appears to have inherited some of the impetuous nature of his older brother, Joab; but no one could ever say that Abishai was not brave and courageous. David was looking for someone willing to join him in a suicide mission, and Abishai volunteered. When David asked, there was no hesitation. I suspect that most of us would have paused before joining such a mission. We would have had all sorts of rational reasons why we shouldn’t join. We would have argued that discretion is the better part of valour. However, we would never have received any particular accolades for bravery.

Abishai’s bravery and prowess earned him the position as one of David’s mighty men. As the Books of Samuel are brought to a close, the mighty men of David’s army are named. Of Abishai, we read, “Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief of The Thirty. And he wielded his spear against three hundred men and killed them and won a name beside the three. He was the most renowned of The Thirty and became their commander, but he did not attain to the three” [2 SAMUEL 23:18-19].

I’m not certain I’d be inclined to fight three hundred men at one time, much less fight them when it meant that all I had with which to fight was a spear. That is close combat—really close combat! Then, on top of this, he hazarded his life with David for a reconnaissance mission and intervened to fight a giant. Keep in mind that Abishai was not a leader appointed to a position of high responsibility, but he was a relative—a brave relative—who stepped in at the moment when he was most needed to deliver the king.

Israel was at war with the Philistines yet again. This time, the Philistines had enlisted another giant who was named Saph, and this giant also came after David as had Ishbi-benob. Before the giant could get at David, Sibbecai, a Hushathite, intervened and struck down this giant. This man with what sounds to us like a funny name is listed as one of David’s mighty men [see 1 CHRONICLES 11:22-47]. Sibbecai was one of The Thirty, a select group of warriors that were especially honoured among the armies of Israel. Sibbecai was appointed to the position as a commander of one of the divisions of the Army. He was a general, though he was not a field commander. He commanded 24,000 men in battle [see 1 CHRONICLES 27:11]. And yet, he was from a town of no particular importance. He was from the little community of Hushah in Judah. No one ever hears of Hushah, but if it hadn’t been for somebody from nowhere, David would have been killed before his reign had prepared for the building of the Temple by his son, Solomon.

The Philistines didn’t give up easily, and the giants just kept on coming. There was war between Israel and the Philistines yet again. This time the battle was at a place called Gob. Sure enough, there was another giant, a giant who was likely related to Goliath, that giant whom David killed when he was but a youth. The Chronicles informs us that the giant that was intent on killing David in this instance was named Lahmi, and he was the brother of Goliath [cf. 1 CHRONICLES 20:5]. This giant came prepared for battle; he was armed with an intimidating spear—it had a shaft like a weaver’s beam. Again, David was spared when one of his mighty men, a member of The Thirty, took on the giant and killed him. Elhanan, the son of Jaare-oregim, from Bethlehem killed the giant and ensured David’s continued reign. He was a hometown boy who delivered David.

The battles didn’t stop, and the giants didn’t give up. Again, there was war, this time at Gath, and another giant fought for the Philistines. This giant was distinguished by polydactyly. He isn’t named, so I suppose that the giants had become so common that it wasn’t necessary to name them any longer. David was delivered by his own brother, Jonathan, who killed this giant.

The giants that continued to come after David all appear to have been related; they seem to have all been members of one large extended family. The text states that each of these foes of David all descended from giants in Gath [see 2 SAMUEL 21:16, 18, 22]. At the least, these all shared a genetic identity. Somewhere in their past, they appear to have shared a common ancestor. It is a reminder that the giants that assail us, attempting to destroy us, share a common origin. The giants we face are all energised by the evil one. Though these giants may attack us in different places and at different times, we know they are focused on attacking at the spot where we are weakest at any particular moment. They attack where they do and as they do because the evil one directs them to strike us at the spot where we are most likely to fail. This is the reason we must watch out for one another. This is the reason we need to keep watch over our fellow Christians, moving quickly to deliver them when it becomes apparent that they are vulnerable.

GIANTS YOU MAY FACE — I can’t tell you what giants you may face, because the giants are many. And the enemy of the righteous will keep on attacking, seeking a point of weakness so that he may destroy your testimony. Though I could never think to address every giant you may face, if you are a follower of the Risen Saviour, I am certain that you will face giants in your life. They will attack with ferocity and tenacity. Our great foe, the devil, seeks to kill us; and the giants he sends will likewise try to kill us. And if these giants cannot kill us, they will try to steal our joy or destroy us. Our Lord has warned us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” [JOHN 10:10a].

The wicked one may send a giant to attack YOUR FAMILY. The attack may take the form of a family break-up—a divorce, a separation, even the death of a loved one. Something of this catastrophic nature may become the giant you face. Don’t imagine that a break-up in a family is a minor issue—it is huge! Or, as we have experienced in our own family, it may be a child that strays, turning from following the Way and turning to wickedness. Such moves can be devastating. Among the faithful are many people who have experienced the grief of a child that seems to have left the family for her own desires, and it can leave the godly mother or the righteous father gasping for breath.

When Jesus told the Parable of the Prodigal Son, did you imagine that the father was not devastated? As Jesus relates that parable, He pictures the old father as watching and waiting for the son to come to his senses. We hear the Master say of the return of the son, “While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him” [LUKE 15:20]. The father was watching; he spent a portion of each day thinking of the return of the boy. I can testify that a father doesn’t cease loving the wayward child, but the actions of one wayward child can be devastating for the family.

I recall a family that suffered just such a grievous injury. A son took his own life. The father and mother were godly parents. The father was a pastor and the mother was noted for her abilities teaching other women. Yet, the family did not last two years beyond the tragic death of that boy. The recriminations in the home, the constant grief, the intensity of pain that was visited on the mother and father became unbearable. At last, that family was rent in twain without remedy. A giant attacking your family can deliver such a terrible blow that the attack results in utter devastation for you or for your marriage. Should such an assault happen, I pray that God will send someone to deliver you so that the attack does not result in ruin to you or to your family.

The evil one may send a giant to attack YOUR REPUTATION, hoping to destroy you in the estimate of those who look up to you. We are each vulnerable to gossip. This is the reason God condemns gossip and slander among His professed people. And yet, too many of the professed people of God are quick to slander one another, to gossip about one another. Let’s acknowledge a dark truth—the destruction of one’s reputation can be more devastating, more detrimental than even physical injury. We depend on how others see us in order to maintain social relations, in order to secure or maintain working relations, or even to purchase food and necessary materials in some instances.

It is fascinating to note the multiple terms employed to speak of slander and gossip throughout the New Testament. Blasphemia (blasphemy, e.g. MARK 3:28; slander, e.g. MATTHEW 15:19; COLOSSIANS 3:8), dysphemia (defamation, calumny, translated “slander” in 2 CORINTHIANS 6:8), loidoría (reviling, translated “slander” in 1 TIMOTHY 5:14), phlyaros (“gossips” in 1 TIMOTHY 5:13), katalalos (slanderers in ROMANS 1:30), and diabolos (“slanderers” in 1 TIMOTHY 3:11 and “slanderous” in 2 TIMOTHY 3:3). Calumny, defamation, vile reports, slander all have their origin in the pit of hell. No Christian should ever be guilty of speaking ill of another, and especially if that other is a fellow Christian. To fall into such activity is devilish, demonic; it is evidence that one has surrendered to Satan’s control. Don’t even consider speaking ill of a brother or sister.

Clearly, slander and gossip were serious problems in the early days of the Faith. This likely accounts for the admonition delivered as Paul wrote the Ephesian Encyclical. He cautioned all who follow the Master, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” [EPHESIANS 4:31].

In the letter to the church in Colossae, the Apostle wrote, “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” [COLOSSIANS 3:5-10].

When Nehemiah led the Jews to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, he was opposed repeatedly by those of the land who were opposed to the return of the Jews. Among the efforts to halt the construction of the walls, the most detestable weapons were rumour and inuendo bruited about in hopes that they would persuade the Persian monarch to demand halting the work. As Nehemiah writes of the opposition, he tells of this vile gossip that almost halted the work of the Lord.

We read, “Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand. In it was written, ‘It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall. And according to these reports you wish to become their king. And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, “There is a king in Judah.” And now the king will hear of these reports. So now come and let us take counsel together.’ Then I sent to him, saying, ‘No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.’ For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.’ But now, O God, strengthen my hands” [NEHEMIAH 6:5-9].

You may find yourself under attack by a giant striking out at YOUR HEALTH. Those dread words from a physician, “I’m afraid it is cancer,” can leave us devastated. The announcement that we are afflicted with some dreadful disease can paralyse anyone, rendering us incapable of acting. One need but read of Job and his response to Satanic assault. We read how Satan attacked Job: “Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes” [JOB 2:7-8].

An attack against one’s health can overwhelm, leaving the follower of the Christ feeling that he is deserted. I’m aware of the energy requirement just to function when long-term health issues have taken hold in one’s life. I can still recall the diagnosis rendered when I had been a passenger after a truck crashed into a tree and rolled down a mountainside. The injury didn’t seem that serious, but the consequences would require a lifetime of struggle just to function. A diagnosis of any of multiplied illnesses or physical limitations can drive a person from service. However, if even one stands with us at such time, we can face the giant.

It is always possible that a giant will attempt to steal YOUR WEALTH, and thus, steal YOUR SECURITY. It is one thing when we depend on our wealth as our sole security. The Wise Man has penned a cautionary statement that is actually humorous. We are taught in the Proverbs,

“Do not toil to acquire wealth;

be discerning enough to desist.

When your eyes light on it, it is gone,

for suddenly it sprouts wings,

flying like an eagle toward heaven.”

[PROVERBS 23:4-5]

I imagine that many of us can relate to this. We thought we had enough set aside for the future, and the stock market tumbled as speculators drove our investments into the ground, or inflation soared as result of governmental mismanagement of the economy, or interest rates dove into negative territory as bureaucrats attempted to manipulate the business environment. Governmental response to a pandemic can ensure that our wealth is quickly consumed, leaving us destitute. Suddenly, our security was eaten up, and we were facing a giant, a terrible giant that mercilessly struck down our hopes for survival.

OUR DESIRES will sometimes provide an avenue by which a giant will attack us. Temptation can be so terribly powerful that it seems impossible to resist—but we dare not surrender to our desires. Our desires, save for those desires to know Christ and His power working through us, are deceitful. Jeremiah spoke a terrible truth when he wrote,

“The heart is deceitful above all things,

and desperately sick;

who can understand it?”


We dare not trust our desires; we dare not trust our heart; we dare not be deceived.

Each of us has been tempted at various times. Sexual temptation is a constant danger in our world. Temptations to sacrifice integrity for worldly wealth is a constant seduction we face. Few of us can say that we have never been tempted to sully the reputation of those who oppose us. We attempt to justify striking out by asserting that all is fair in love and war, and we are at war with those who seek to injure us. We must not give in to temptation. We must not seek to justify wickedness even for a moment.

We do have this promise that we must seize, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” [1 CORINTHIANS 10:13].

I’ve named only a few giants that any of us may face, and likely have faced, in our journey through this life. I daresay that when you faced one or more of these giants, God proved faithful to provide someone to stand with you, battling the giant and perhaps even delivering you from defeat. When the giants just keep coming, God sent a deliverer to ensure that you would not be defeated. And as you leaned on that divine deliverer whom God dispatched for your victory, you were enabled to stand.

DELIVERANCE FROM THE GIANTS — If you intend on living boldly as one who follows the Risen Saviour, then you must know that giants will just keep coming. Your battles will continue to the end of days. Perhaps you could wish for freedom from the conflict, but our Master has warned, “In the world you will have tribulation.” However, the same Jesus who warned that we will have tribulation was the same One who encouraged us, saying, “Take heart; I have overcome the world” [JOHN 16:33].

As the first missionary tour neared the end, Paul and Barnabas travelled again to the communities where they had established congregations. And the message these pioneers delivered to these nascent followers of the Saviour is revealed in the account that Doctor Luke has left us. In that Book of the Acts of the Apostles we read, “When [the missionaries] had preached the gospel to [Derbe] and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed” [ACTS 14:21-23].

There’s a message designed to encourage those just entering on the path of righteousness! “Through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God!” Allow me to add to that encouragement! Yes, “We must enter the Kingdom of God through many persecutions” [NET BIBLE], and in many instances those persecutions will consist of giants who come at us in an effort to destroy us; but know that God has deliverers whom He sends to strike down the giants we must face. At just the right time, God rescues us so that He is glorified and we are delivered.

Perhaps there is a relative who hasn’t otherwise distinguished himself or herself who has delivered you at a moment when you were about to be overwhelmed. Abishai was someone who knew David. Or perhaps that close brother or sister in the Faith will step in at the right moment at some point in the future. Know that God has a close relative who loves you and is ready to stand with you in the battle that is coming.

Is it possible that you had a Sibbecai, someone from nowhere, who stepped in at a critical moment to strike down a giant that would have defeated you? Or is it possible that someone from nowhere will intervene at the critical moment to deliver you from certain defeat. God uses precisely such unknown people to rescue you when you are about to give in to defeat. He does this because He is God and because He loves you.

Have you an Elhanan, someone who shares your background, who came to your aid at the precise moment you needed his or her help? You may not have known this individual during the early days of your walk with the Lord, but this individual knows what it is to grow up in your situation.

I don’t doubt that there is a Jonathan, a brother in the Faith, who has stood with you at least once and beat away the threat to your life because you follow Christ the Risen Saviour. We have greater confidence because our brothers do stand with us in these battles. And we believe that God will use them in days to come as He has sent them in days past. God receives the glory and we are delivered because God sent these fellow saints.

Here’s a truth you must never forget. When you are facing your giant, God has prearranged people to come alongside of you. When you are facing that giant, and your strength is ebbing, God has someone to come alongside of you to deliver you. Delivering you at the moment of your greatest peril may be someone you wouldn’t expect to be your deliverer. It may be someone related to you. Or it could be somebody from nowhere that comes to your rescue. It is always possible that it will be someone with whom you grew up in the Faith that comes to your rescue. Or it may be your brother who stands with you in the midst of what seems at the moment to be certain defeat. Know that God has someone who will stand with you.

Even if everyone appears to have deserted you, because you are God’s child, you always have His promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” [HEBREWS 13:5b]. Jesus has promised His people, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” [MATTHEW 28:20b].

Paul was deserted by those who had pledged to stand with him. Yet, he was able to testify, “At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen” [2 TIMOTHY 4:16-18]. And this will be your testimony when you face your giants! “I am not alone!”

I am almost excited about the next battle, not because I’m eager to engage in spiritual warfare, but because I can only anticipate who it is the Lord is even now preparing to step in to deliver me from defeat. Christ will have the glory, and that one whom He is raising up will be honoured because they were willing to be used in the service of the King. Perhaps you are intervening to deliver someone even now. Or perhaps you are even now facing a giant. God is raising up someone to deliver you, and He will do it! Amen, and Amen.

[1] Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[2] Joel Gregory, “When the Giants Keep Coming,” Joel Gregory When the Giants Keep Coming - YouTube, accessed 15 January 2021