Now the Philistines gathered their armies for battle; and they were gathered at Socoh which belongs to Judah, and they camped between Socoh and Azekah, in Ephes-dammim. Saul and the men of Israel were gathered and camped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in battle array to encounter the Philistines. The Philistines stood on the mountain on one side while Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with the valley between them.
1 Samuel 17:1-3
It comes like a monster in the night, smashing in the door of your existence with a crash. The unthinkable has invaded your life, choking the very air you breathe with the stench of sulfur. Evil’s shadow looms over everything you thought you knew and believed. There are no answers, no way forward, no taking down the enemy encamped before you. Resistance appears futile. Only the valley of decision separates you from destruction and slavery.
You can give in to the fear and run. Or you can ride down into the valley to the battle. The enemy won’t stay a respectful distance away. He’s on a mission to defeat you. You only have two choices:
Take the fight to him or be forever under his foot.
This was the dilemma facing the nation of Israel when the Philistine army arrayed against the nation. As the Israeli army advanced to the battle line, ready to fight, the Philistines sprung their trap. From their line a behemoth of a man stepped forward. Goliath stood at six feet, nine inches, clothed in bronze armor and well-armed. A shield-carrier walked before him.
He stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel and said to them, “Why do you come out to draw up in battle array? Am I not the Philistine and you servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will become your servants; but if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall become our servants and serve us.”
– 1 Samuel 17:8-9
Israel’s army melted in fear before the Philistine’s champion, yet not one blow had been thrown. The soldiers believed Goliath’s threats and knew no one in their army could defeat him. Not one of them considered asking God for help nor considered the spiritual importance of the battle before them.
For forty days, the enemy’s champion tormented God’s people with his taunts.
As the Father Commands
Then a young shepherd arrived from Bethlehem. The youngest son of Jesse the Ephraimite of Bethlehem, David had stayed behind to care for his father’s sheep while his three eldest brothers followed Saul into battle. One day Jesse told David to take provisions to the army and check on the welfare of his brothers.
Loaded with grain, bread, and cheese, David journeyed to the front. He arrived at the circle of the camp as the army was again going out to face the Philistines. David immediately joined the men at the battle line. There he heard the taunts of the Philistine and offered to take on the giant himself. Despite the misgivings of his brothers, David armed himself with his sling and five smooth stones from the nearby creek. It only took one well-placed shot to fell Goliath.
The shepherd boy delivered his people and destroyed the enemy because he knew the ways of war:
Obey your Father.
He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much.
– Luke 16:10
David was in the right place at the right time, not because he knew the future, but because he listened to his father and obeyed him. Had he refused Jesse’s order or procrastinated, he would have not been at the battle line, and Israel would have fallen into slavery. David’s faithfulness in what appeared to be a small request from his father positioned him to bring deliverance to his people.
Don’t drag your baggage into a battle.
Then David left his baggage in the care of the baggage keeper, and ran to the battle line….
– 1 Samuel 17:22
David did not hesitate to respond to the need. For victory, nothing should hold you back from responding to the call of God. Let the baggage of the past go and leave it behind.
Don’t let fear predict your future.
When all the men of Israel saw the man, they fled from him and were greatly afraid.
– 1 Samuel 17:24
David did not fear Goliath, because he knew God would not bless the enemy. He did not believe himself stronger than his brothers. He believed God to be stronger than their enemies. He understood the battle and what was at stake, putting himself in danger for the name of the God of Israel and those he loved.
Let your weapons be those of the Spirit.
The LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.
– 1 Samuel 17:47
David rejected the unfamiliar armor and weapons of those who didn’t trust God and instead chose the weapons by which God had delivered him in the fields as he guarded his father’s flock.
See the job through.
It wasn’t enough for David to strike Goliath down. He took a sword and beheaded him. Take care of any resentments or other attitude issues that might allow him back to challenge you in another valley. Jesus Himself crushed the head of the devil with His sacrifice and resurrection.
Then the LORD God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all the livestock,
And more than any animal of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And dust you shall eat
All the days of your life;
And I will make enemies
Of you and the woman,
And of your offspring and her Descendant;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise Him on the heel.”
– Genesis 3:14-15
At some point in every life, Goliath will appear. We may not be allowed to choose the place of battle, but we know to Whom the victory belongs.