A year ago I was standing in the dry creek bed in an area known as the Valley of Elah. The rumbling of trucks along a nearby Israeli highway made the spot remind me of the land my grandparents owned outside Wichita Falls along a busy farm-to-market road.
Nothing remarkable about either place.
Except, of course, the Valley of Elah is where David killed the Philistine giant Goliath. The rumble of the trucks couldn’t compare with what I imagine was the collective shouts of dismay as a slight, young shepherd took out the warrior giant. The antiseptic story we’re told in Sunday School ends with David using his slingshot to pop Goliath in the head. Not so fast; 1 Samuel 17 goes into far more detail.
You see, David stepped up when King Saul and his soldiers were unwilling to face Goliath. We learn it wasn’t the stone that killed Goliath, but rather David “took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.”
But the story doesn’t end there. The Philistine army, shocked by the death of their unconquerable warrior, turned tail and ran. Rather than call it a day, the Israelites pursued and killed the Philistines, leaving their bodies “strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron.” Then the victorious Israelites came back and plundered the Philistine’s encampment.
Standing in that dry creek bed last year, I picked up several smooth rocks and thought of the impossibility of using one to slay a giant. Take out a massive hulk of man who has spent his life training as a warrior… with a small rock?
Yeah, right. It’s impossible. Right up until the moment it is not.
Of course, Goliath wasn’t killed by the stone; he was killed by his own sword wielded by David. And then chasing an army to their death? Hot, sweaty, dirty, bloody.
Very often the giants we face – in life, in politics, in business – seem impossible to defeat. Yet history is replete with impossible giants being vanquished. We must have faith that the stone in our hand will be guided by the Almighty to the right spot. We must act faithfully, and sometimes even get our hands dirty.
We must be faithfully committed to the work of winning. Too often we accept half-victories that end up as little more than a prelude to our own defeat. The Israelites didn’t walk away after Goliath was vanquished; they pursued their enemies. In the same way, we must be committed to getting the job done and done completely.
Let’s go slay some giants, and pursue our enemies to the Gates of Ekron! We cannot count on kings to do our work for us. It’s up to us, as a self-governing people, to faithfully get the job done.