Let’s talk about giants today. Got any giants in your life?
1Sam 17:2-4 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. Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
Where did giants come from?
Gen 6:1-2, 4 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose…The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
Num 13:31-33 But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us." So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."
Deut 2:9-10 Then the LORD said to me, 'Do not harass Moab, nor provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land as a possession, because I have given Ar to the sons of Lot as a possession. (The Emim lived there formerly, a people as great, numerous, and tall as the Anakim.
Josh 11:21-22 Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. There were no Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some remained.
1Sam 17:4 Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.
1Chron 20:5-8 And there was war with the Philistines again, and Elhanan the son of Jair killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver's beam. Again there was war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature who had twenty-four fingers and toes, six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot; and he also was descended from the giants. When he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David's brother, killed him. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.
1Sam 17:8-10 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." Again the Philistine said, "I defy the ranks of Israel this day; give me a man that we may fight together."
1Sam 17:33-37 Then Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth." But David said to Saul, "Your servant was tending his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God." And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and may the LORD be with you."
1Sam 17:38-40 Then Saul clothed David with his garments and put a bronze helmet on his head, and he clothed him with armor. David girded his sword over his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. So David said to Saul, "I cannot go with these, for I have not tested them." [Instead he went with what he had tested.] And David took them off. He took his stick in his hand and chose for himself five smooth stones from the brook, and put them in the shepherd's bag which he had, even in his pouch, and his sling was in his hand; and he approached the Philistine.
What’s the deal with 5 smooth stones?
· Smooth cut through the air better – less drag
· It’s how many his magazine held
· Goliath had four other brothers
· He had what he needed and was prepared for other contingencies.
1Sam 17:45-47 Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that 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."
But what is it with giants? Because of their size they feel invincible to push others around and intimidate and taunt to overpower whoever they want. Usually because of their size they have the strength to back up their words. They can exert pressure simply by standing there.
"Bullying is repeated, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. Its purpose is to terrorize by the threat or actions of physical or psychological harm.”
It is likely we were all bullied at some point in our lives. We used to call it being picked on or teased. As kids, we could have been victimized regularly. You’re too little, ugly, fat, skinny, stupid, lazy. You walk funny, can’t sing, throw like a girl. As adults, we could experience bullies in the workplace or at the store or in the home.
We may have had parents that bullied us, siblings, kids in the neighborhood or at school. At work we could have had a boss or competitive co-worker that were bullies.
I’ve worked with pastors who were bullies. Bullies typically are so insecure they have to cut others down or tower over them to feel superior.
You’ve heard of a bully club or bully pulpit. Someone exerts some type of force to intimidate others into submission. Politicians use this, as do government officials making rules and regulations, to control the people. We’ve all been beaten down by it these past several months.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will close churches and synagogues in New York City if they do not “agree to follow the rules” concerning social distancing and masks. “If the rule is no more than 50 percent of the people in a black church, I want someone at the door when 50 percent enter the church, a person there who says to the pastor, you agree to follow the rules. That’s 50 percent. That’s it or we close it down.” Andrew Cuomo is a bully.
Study the Middle East. Most of those nations developed with a tribal mentality. Whoever carries the biggest stick, makes the most noise, projects the biggest threat leads the tribe or the nation. To keep the people submissive, they have to maintain the strongest intimidation. After the first Gulf War, Henry Kissinger told President Bush not to take out Saddam Husain because, as undesirable as he was, he held Iraq together with an iron grip that if removed would bring chaos to the region. The second President Bush went after him. The chaos continues today.
But what if your bully is more personal, here in the present and not the past? What if it isn’t a person but something harder to define? Maybe it’s the media telling you what to do or society telling you what to believe or what is right and wrong? Maybe you are being taunted by a rampant virus or perhaps hearing of wars and rumors of wars is making you feel physically threatened. Could be you are listening to some voice telling you lies from a narrative you know is wrong: like a politician or their political ads, a newscaster, a preacher, a friend, a relative.
Maybe it’s not a person. Maybe it’s:
- Physical limitations
Maybe it’s less tangible, like:
- Failure or haunting mistakes from the past
- Lost memories
Seabiscuit – Horse with torn ligament in his leg is about to be put down. Tom Smith rescues him. When asked if he’ll ever race again, he said, no, but he can do other things. “Don’t throw something away just because it’s banged up a bit.” A bully would never tell you that. A bully wants you to believe you can’t do anything of value, that it’s over.
What’s bullying you?
What’s your giant?
Why do we listen to what he’s saying? Because in every taunt there is a measure of truth or it wouldn’t matter.
Could Goliath have easily killed David? Of course. But David factored the Lord into the equation. Without the Lord he could never have stood up to Goliath.
He knew whatever Goliath said didn’t change who he was or affect the outcome God intended. What’s a bullies’ goal? To get you to believe his taunts are what will happen.
He presents himself as an apparently immovable force confronting us, trying to convince us he is worthy of fear simply because of his size, volume, ability, threat, or reminder of the reality of what’s going on.
So, how do we deal with the Goliaths in our lives? You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from building a nest in your hair. A bully wins when his taunts are absorbed into our life, dominate what we know is the truth and become a part of how we see ourselves. The moment we lose sight of who we are in Christ, a child of the living God, we let the bully win.
How did David deal with his giant?
· He reminded himself who he was. Child of Almighty God.
· He knew what was in his pouch
o God’s been faithful in the past.
o God has never failed.
o God will accomplish what concerns me.
o God is enough.
o God will fight my battles.
· He locked and loaded
· He let her fly, trusting in God to make it hit the target.
David chose not to be undone by a mere giant when he belonged to God Almighty.
Phil 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Ps 55:22 Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
I’ve tested Him.
So, got any giants taunting you? Grab some stones, write on them the truth and put them in your bag.
- Life is hard but God is good.
- Life isn’t fair but God is gracious.
- Life is unpredictable but God is sovereign.
- Life can get dark but God is Light.
- Life can trick us to believe a lie but God is truth.