Summary: We can find spiritual victory in the the valley of death and pain.
Slaying your Giants: in 5 stages
1st Samuel 17:3-11, 26-27, 38-51
(Written By Rev D. Helbling)
Some time back we stood together with the Roper family from Texarkana in that viewing tower over Hot Springs. It was a beautiful sight: Very little of what you saw was actually in Hot Springs. Most of it was mountains and valleys.
We will consider a famous story this night from the valley of Elah. The bible tells of many valleys. Some where the scenes of victories, others the valley of death and pain. A valley suggests lowliness, fertility, and fruitfulness - born out of struggle. And that¡¦s what we have 1st Samuel 17
David was on the Lords side - and was in a trouble spot. He didn¡¦t start the trouble. But neither did he shrink from it. He dealt with it, & and overcame the adversity
In this heroic story, the enemy is doing the boasting and threatening.
But God¡¦s man does not back down. He treated Goliath the way we need to treat temptation. He didn¡¦t entertain Goliath, didn¡¦t give in to him, didn¡¦t try to ignore him. He defeated him! And we see it happening in five steps.
Kicking without his contact lenses
THE FIRST PRINCIPLE IS THAT VICTORIES ARE FIRST WON NOT ON THE PLAYING FIELD BUT IN THE TRAINING ROOM.
In Paul¡¦s words, "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize...." In other words, the final victory demands more than determination. It requires discipline.
Former Michigan State football coach Duffy Daugherty tells a great story about a winning field goal kicked by a young man name Dave Kaiser against UCLA many years ago. The game was in Los Angeles and the field goal gave Michigan a 17-14 victory.
As Dave Kaiser came back to the bench to meet the roaring enthusiasm of his teammates, Coach Daugherty said: "Nice going, Dave, but I noticed you didn¡¦t watch the ball after you kicked it. How come?"
Kaiser replied, "You¡¦re right coach, I didn¡¦t watch the ball. I was watching the referee to see how he would call it. You see, I forgot my contact lenses. They are back at the hotel. I couldn¡¦t even see the goal posts!"
Daugherty was shocked and at first very angry that Kaiser had not told him about his contact lenses. But after he thought it over he changed his mind entirely. Why shouldn¡¦t Kaiser kick without his contact lenses? Kaiser was a disciplined kicker and had practiced for long hours. He knew well the angle and the distance to the goal even though he could not see it. The whole process of kicking the ball was programmed into his body and mind by the ongoing discipline of daily practice. In that moment, when the ball went through the goal posts, discipline paid off.
Think of this a moment: We see no military career for David prior to this. We just see a young man tending sheep and spending a lot of time worshiping god. So where was his training?