The people in Israel were in the midst of regaining their standing as a nation. Saul, their king had been making a name for himself by attacking the Philistine outposts. The battles had gone back and forth–but on this day, Israel had a big problem. His name was Goliath he was 9’6″ and armed to the teeth. He stepped out to the battle lines and made a challenge. Send anyone from the Israelite army to face Goliath and winner takes all. From Goliath’s standpoint, there was no one that was nearly close to a match of size or strength. He neither feared God or men.
Across the valley, the mighty army of Israel sat in paralyzing fear. Their King, Saul had rejected God’s leadership. He no longer heard from God or trusted God to battle on Israel’s behalf. So when a mighty warrior almost twice as large challenged them–rather than looking to God; they looked hopelessly at each other. What do we do now? Israel had become a mighty nation by looking to God for direction and seeking His leadership in war and peace. Now, since they no longer had God’s direction, they wandered aimlessly and fearfully through the battle. Make no mistake, God still cared for His people, but the Lord was unwilling to bless a king who rejected Him and His leadership.
Israel’s problem was huge–but it was not the giant. Israel’s problem was chasing other gods. Some had names like idols–Rah. Baal, Asherah. Other God’s were not named–power, riches, lust, and rage. Israel had simply lost sight of the God that freed them, protected them, provided for them and prepared them to take their place as a mighty nation. Never-the-less, God had a plan. God would, as he always does, bring a warrior like none other. When he was done, the warrior would make clear that it was God that would battle Israel’s enemies, and God would make Israel victorious.
In our lives, we, like Israel, get easily distracted by other gods. Some have names–Hollywood, sports, politics. Others are unnamed like stress, finances, power, or lust. Still, when we lose sight of God, we begin to be overtaken by fear and confusion. Our problems seem to be gigantic and armed to the teeth–but, as we learn, they are not the giants we think we see. Instead, it is our lack of submission to God as our Lord. When we humble ourselves, confess our sin and resubmit to God’s leadership; then the Lord himself will battle the giants we face. He will be victorious and He will get the credit. The beauty is that, when God takes the credit–everybody wins.
God Bless You
Now the Philistines gathered their forces for war and assembled at Sokoh in Judah. They pitched camp at Ephes Dammim, between Sokoh and Azekah. 2 Saul and the Israelites assembled and camped in the Valley of Elah and drew up their battle line to meet the Philistines. 3 The Philistines occupied one hill and the Israelites another, with the valley between them.
4 A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span.[a] 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels[b]; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels.[c] His shield bearer went ahead of him.
8 Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me. 9 If he is able to fight and kill me, we will become your subjects; but if I overcome him and kill him, you will become our subjects and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.