by Graham Mol
A young boy makes his way down into the dusty valley. Before him stands a mountain of a man, tall and thick as an oak, and as fierce as a rabid dog. Thousands of eyes are turned upon this remarkable sight. One stands in gleaming armour too heavy for most men to carry, a broad imposing javelin strung to his back, an intimidating colossus. The other in simple shepherd boy clothes, unarmed except for a leather sling. The wager on the upcoming battle was the lives of each army, and the odds looked to be unfairly stacked.
This iconic battle is familiar to many of us. The battle of David and Goliath. A young shepherd boy versus the towering Philistine giant. Knowing the outcome we sometimes lose sight of how incredible David’s victory was over his foe, and just how bizarre it must have been to see a humble shepherd boy step forward as the chosen champion to fight for Israel. At that moment, before the battle was decided, which army would you have preferred to be in? The boy did not even have any armour on, it looked like a futile fight.
Despite this David approached the giant with confidence. How on earth could he not be quailing in fear? We find the answer in his reply to Goliath’s taunts:
45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:45-47 NIV)
Over a thousand years later we would come across a similar placing of confidence, as the Apostle Paul wrote that those who trust in Jesus “put no confidence in the flesh”. Many trust in their resources, their own strength and competence, just as Goliath was secure in his vast size and power, and shining armour and weapons and yet have fallen before some plucky believer, who had no right to win the battle and yet did because of the unlimited strength and power of the One to whom he prayed.
28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
There is tremendous encouragement in the story of David and Goliath. So many of us feel ill-equipped for the challenges and battles that we face. We’re not smart enough, beautiful enough, wealthy enough; we don’t have the connections, the charisma, the chances. We feel like a humble shepherd boy walking out on a field coming up against the strongest, most powerful enemy we’ve ever seen. And yet, if our hope and our trust and our very confidence does not stem from us, or what we have (the flesh) but is found in the Almighty Creator, the Lord of the universe, the Saviour of the world, we need not be afraid. God still performs miracles today.
When the dust settles, and the fight is won, others will see and know that it is not because of us that victory was achieved. They will know that there is a God, and that He saves.
No matter what battle you are facing. No matter the odds stacked against you. When all feels hopeless and impossible. Just remember: “But God…”