“Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you” (1st Samuel 17:37 NIV).
When researching the most courageous people in history, I was immediately met with a list of the names of prominent figures: Martin Luther King Jr., Malala Yousafzai, Harriet Tubman, Mother Theresa, Amelia Earhart, and more.
Each individual defeated tremendous odds and persevered in the face of persecution or opposition. They were, without a doubt, courageous.
The list, however, was not fully comprehensive, as an even greater key figure was missing, King David. David’s brothers followed Saul to war, while David would travel to and from Saul’s war camp to tend to his father’s sheep. David’s father, Jesse, instructed David to take food to his brothers and to check in on them.
Shortly after David arrived at the camp, he noticed Goliath as the army was leaving. This Philistine soldier was unusually tall. According to the Bible (1st Samuel 17:4) and the Masoretic Text written in Hebrew, Goliath stood six cubits and a span––roughly nine feet, six inches. He was almost ten feet tall! Additionally, the giant Philistine was equipped with heavy armor and large weaponry. Here's a more specific breakdown to give us a sense of how intimidating this was. He wore a wide range of military equipment, including a bronze-scaled coat of mail or armor made of brass plates having the appearance of scales of a fish weighing 5,000 shekels (approximately 57 kg or 123 lbs.). The coat covered him down to the waist. His greaves, a type of leg armor used to protect the shins, also made of bronze, were commonly worn by Aegean cultures.
Goliath's spear's shaft (rod) was like a weaver's beam about two inches thick. The weight of the spearhead was around 600 shekels (about 6.8 kg or 15 lbs.). The spear that Goliath carried was estimated at ten to fourteen feet long, as the spears were typically meant to be taller than their owners. His helmet was like what the Assyrians wore during those times. He also held a massive sword which David later used to behead him.
According to research, all these pieces of weaponry and armor together probably weighed more than 700 pounds.
Goliath felt a sense of inner courage derived from himself, stature, and strength. David, however, felt a sense of outward courage, recalling how God saved him from the paw of the lion and the bear. David deduced Goliath as a mere uncircumcised Philistine, while others trembled in fear. Using a slingshot and five stones, David ran to his enemy and attacked him. David knew that the Lord was with him.
This simple tactic is what we need to defeat the giants in our lives.
Like David, to kill our giants, we must:
• Know that God is with us despite what the circumstances look like.
• Recall the times when God fought for us, even though it’s easier to forget.
• Be strong and courageous regardless of our feelings, emotions, and what the battle looks like.
As believers, we are commanded to be strong and courageous. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you, whoever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).
We have the right to be courageous, as our courage is rooted in God’s unwavering desire to be with us wherever we go. The story of Goliath and David attests to God’s mighty power when we battle massive problems and giant enemies.
Despite our shortcomings and inability to defeat overwhelming odds in our strength, God displays that when we walk with him, he will protect and deliver us from all life's challenges.
Prayer: God, you command us to be strong and courageous, but sometimes it is difficult. Instill in me the belief that you are with me wherever I go. Amen.
Your Turn: Have you ever had a “Goliath” situation? If so, how did you conquer it?