When you’re a dog living on the streets of Romania you have to take care of yourself. You find your own food and have to protect it from bigger and fiercer dogs. That was my dog’s life before he came to the UK, so it’s no surprise that he is reactive to big dogs. We’ve been working with a dog trainer and he’s so much better, but today I made a wrong judgement call. I saw a huge Newfoundland dog walking towards us and decided to test his progress. He got scared, lunged at the dog and barked. We can all react badly when we’re scared. We become anxious, we feel trapped and we respond in the wrong way. Whether it’s a bigger person who’s confronting us, or a big problem, we can be overwhelmed and act irrationally, or unadvisedly.

 

That’s what happened to the nation of Israel when confronted by the army of the Philistines, who just happened to have as their champion soldier, a 9’9” giant called Goliath. The sight of him was enough to cause the army of Israel to quake in their boots, including their king Saul, who was the tallest man in Israel but no match for Goliath. Goliath taunted them every day and challenged them to a fight. Pick your best soldier to do battle with me. If you win we will serve you, if we win you will serve us. This was a no brainer to Saul and Israel. They were convinced they had no hope of winning and lived every day in fear of what might happen to them. I’m sure they fully expected to be defeated. Then a young, teenage boy arrived on the scene, probably about 17 years old, a shepherd boy who’d been sent by his father to see how his brothers were doing. When he heard about Goliath he offered to fight him which, let’s face it, was simply ridiculous, but fight him he did. What’s more, armed with just a slingshot and five stones he defeated Goliath who was covered head to toe in armour. It turns out this bully was no match for a young boy.

 

Why is that? How could this young boy defeat a giant of a man? Was he especially gifted? Did he have rare skills that made him an awesome fighter? Did he just get lucky? No, this young boy was David, the future king of Israel, and he defeated Goliath because of his faith in God, and his awareness that God would protect him and help him to defeat the giant. When confronting Goliath he said to him, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head … All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1) David had a great faith in God, no fear and an absolute certainty that he was just God’s instrument and it was really God himself who defeated Goliath.

 

When you look at the scene where they met, you wouldn’t imagine that David had a chance of winning. A young boy with no armour, facing a fully clad giant of a man. It takes my mind to the place called Calvary where Jesus was crucified. It’s little known these days, because few read the Bible, but Calvary was in essence a battlefield and the cross of Jesus was where the battle took place. He should have had no chance. He had been beaten to the point of death before being nailed to the cross. His hands were stretched wide open, the worst possible position when you go to fight. His enemies should have had an easy victory, but they didn’t understand who it was they were fighting against and how great he was. Neither did they understand that this battle was the reason he came to earth. He may have appeared helpless but he wasn’t. He was as armed as he needed to be, and just like David he defeated his enemies. Before he died he cried out “It is finished!” (2) That wasn’t him saying he’d had enough, it was a victory cry, he’d defeated his enemies.

 

Who were these enemies? They were sin, Satan and death. Jesus died being punished for our sins. That was one fight, and while engaged in that he also contended with Satan who had longed for this moment when he had his enemy helpless, but he was also defeated. Finally, he defeated death itself, the great enemy of the human race, and those who come to faith in Jesus are guaranteed an eternal life because of what he achieved. Jesus is the victor, the mighty conqueror, the winner and he can help you in your daily battles. Through faith in him you can be victorious.

 

Bible References:

  • 1 Samuel 17:45-47
  • John 19:30