Who are your giants?1
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. 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.” Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.
- 1 Samuel 17:8-11
With this iconic scene, the conflict is off and running. The giant picks a fight with the Israelites and with Saul. This will become the David and Goliath ur-story. And we all know how it ends.
But there are layers in the text that are easily missed. Context that matters. So, we’ll read it carefully and well this week.
Goliath stands over 9 feet tall. He’s a big, heavy dude. But the Israelites together far outweigh him. He initiates a challenge for single combat, but they’re under no obligation to accept that challenge. Why should they fight the giant on the giant’s terms?
But they do. They accept the challenge. And they fear.
The Israelites had their own giant: Saul, their king, stood “a head above anyone else in the land” (1 Samuel 9). He was supposed to fight their battles for them. Saul was their mighty warrior. But Saul quaked with fear, and so his people followed suit.
The people followed the giants - Goliath and Saul – and this froze them in place. We also too often follow giants in our lives. This locks us in place. And when God wants to get us moving again, he has to reframe our relationship with our giants.
What are the giants in your life right now? What situations or scenarios have you feeling dismayed or terrified? Identify those and talk to the Lord about them. See what he will do for you.