Meditations on “God of Transformation: 7: Take that giant down
1 Sam 17:26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
Giants come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Now that may appear a strange opening comment but the truth is, that apart from being big, ‘giants’ in our lives can take the form of people – a dominant employer, an abusive parent, or a local street thug – or an overwhelming circumstance that threatens us – a downturn in trade that threatens bankruptcy, a life threatening illness, or an accident where people are blaming you – all of these things loom large in our lives, threaten us and destroy our peace, and so often they are not of our making, they just arrive. The curse of living in a Fallen World.
For David the giant was a real, genuine, massive human being who dwarfed everyone around him and he came and shouted at Israel and threatened or rather challenged them. So large and so well armed was he that you would be crazy to tackle him alone and I have often wondered why Saul didn’t just get his ten best men and say, “Together, get out there and take this character down so we can get on with this battle,” But he didn’t, he went along with the crowd and cowered in his tent wondering how to not lose face.
And then David turns up and seems to have a completely different mindset to the rest of Israel. Oh, just a giant. No problem. Is there any reward for whoever take him down? Where’s the queue to have a go at him? There’s no queue???? You may have heard the quote about the famous Pentecostalist from last century, who is credited with having woken up one night to find Satan sitting on the end of his bed, and said, “Oh, it’s just you,” and turned over and went back to sleep. Like David he understood spiritual warfare and understood that Satan is only a fallen angel who is given power by God to operate only so far as the Lord allows him.
So taking down a giant is no problem to David and he tells Saul this, but it’s still a problem for Saul so, thinking in his way, he gets David to put on the king’s armour, but the problem is that David doesn’t fight using armour, and this armour wears him down, so he excuses himself and dumps it and just takes his sling, gathers five small stones and heads out for the giant. Small job to be done!
I don’t know if you have ever read the Asterix the Gaul cartoon books. They are delightful. Their druid has a magic potion that makes Asterix and all the others from his village invincible (super strong) against the Roman invaders and so every time there is a fight you see Romans flying through the air as they are dealt with by this diminutive little character and his friends. Because it is so inevitable there is a lightness about the battles in these stories. I feel like that about David. He knows his capabilities – he’s already killed a lion and a bear that had come after his sheep – and so there is no fear in him. Even more, he knows his God and he knows he has a covenant relationship with the Lord who will look after him. Listen to his language: “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (1 Sam 17:26) i.e. this character has no relationship with God so how dare he challenge God’s people!
So back to our giants. How do we deal with them. Well let David be an example from whom we can learn. First know who you are – a child of God with a loving heavenly Father who is there for you. As the apostle Paul said, “If God is for us, (and He is!) who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31) Now here’s the thing, for this situation to be transformed, we do not work by an a,b,c or 1,2,3 ‘method’, we work through our relationship with the Lord. There are some guidelines but don’t get mechanical. First, David was able to look back to previous times when the Lord had enabled him to deal with predators who were coming after his sheep. Now you probably have testimony – stories of times when God has helped you and enabled you. No, then this is going to be the first one! But you probably do if you think about it (go away and sit down on your own for half an hour and make a list of things God has done for you.) Let His past provision encourage you in the present.
Next, go and talk to the Lord about this ‘giant’. Even talking to Him so often puts it in perspective and brings it down in size. Ask Him for wisdom, the knowledge of what to do. (Jas 1:5). You are looking for five small stones – well you really only need one but why not look for more. These are the things that God wants you to aim for, or say or do, in this situation. They will be things that express His love or His goodness, and they will be expressions of righteousness and when you express them, you will be stepping out in faith and thus pleasing God (Heb 11:6). These are words of wisdom to know how to deal with this giant.
Sometimes that word may simply be, “Stand still and watch” and God deals with it. Sometimes it may be “Clothe yourself with love and goodness and go and talk to them.” The point is that God desires to give you success in dealing with this giant, but it will not be in the ways of the world, it will be in His way. His ways involve such words as grace, humility, gentleness, love, care, kindness, goodness. These are the things He wants you to have and these are the things He will give you as you turn to Him. And the result? Peace! The giant has been dealt with. The situation has been transformed, and you will be blessed and the Lord will be glorified. Do it any other way and be prepared to get beaten about the head by the giant. Don’t let that happen!