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 hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. (1 Sam 17:45-46 NIV)
David sees what others don’t and refuses to see what others do. All eyes, except David’s, fall on the brutal, hate-breathing hulk. All compasses, sans David’s, are set on the polestar of the Philistine. All journals, but David’s, describe day after day in the land of the Neanderthal. The people know his taunts, demands, size, and strut. They have majored in Goliath.
David sees the armies of God. And because he does, David hurries and runs toward the army to meet the Philistine (17:48).
You might say that David knew how to get a head of his giant.
When was the last time you did the same? How long since you ran toward your challenge? We tend to retreat, duck behind a desk of work or crawl into a nightclub of distraction or a bed of forbidden love. For a moment, a day, or a year, we feel safe, insulated, anesthetized, but then the work runs out, the liquor wears off, or the lover leaves, and we hear Goliath again. Booming. Bombastic.
Try a different tack. Rush your giant with a God-saturated soul. Giant of divorce, you aren’t entering my home! Giant of depression? It may take a lifetime, but you won’t conquer me. Giant of alcohol, bigotry, child abuse, insecurity … you’re going down. How long since you loaded your sling and took a swing at your giant?
Too long, you say? Then David is your model. God called him “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22 NIV). He gave the appellation to no one else. Not Abraham or Moses or Joseph. He called Paul an apostle, John his beloved, but neither was tagged a man after God’s own heart.
One might read David’s story and wonder what God saw in him. The fellow fell as often as he stood, stumbled as often as he conquered. He stared down Goliath, yet ogled at Bathsheba; defied God-mockers in the valley, yet joined them in the wilderness. An Eagle Scout one day. Chumming with the Mafia the next. He could lead armies but couldn’t manage a family. Raging David. Weeping David. Bloodthirsty. God-hungry. Eight wives. One God.
A man after God’s own heart? That God saw him as such gives hope to us all. David’s life has little to offer the unstained saint. Straight-A souls find David’s story disappointing. The rest of us find it reassuring. We ride the same roller coaster. We alternate between swan dives and belly flops, souffles and burnt toast.
Giants. We must face them. Yet we need not face them alone. Focus first, and most, on God. The times David did, giants fell. The days he didn’t, David did.