In recent days my thoughts have returned to standing in a dry creek bed in the Valley of Elah, kneeling in the dirt to pick up smooth rocks. What brought that memory to mind has been hearing so many friends expressing their fear of giants stalking the land. But these smooth rocks and pebbles are a reminder that we don’t have to be afraid.
The Valley of Elah is where David killed the Philistine giant Goliath. It’s one of my favorite stories from the Old Testament… but not the antiseptic version most Sunday School classes stick to. You know, where David used his slingshot to pop Goliath in the head and everyone went home happy singing a Disney song.
Not exactly. When David’s rock knocked Goliath down, the young shepherd boy ran to the body and promptly beheaded it. 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 bodies “strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron.”
Then, the victorious Israelites came back and plundered the Philistine’s camp.
Remember, none of the mighty warriors in the Israelite army wanted to confront Goliath. They shirked from the fight in fear.
Very often the giants we face – in life, in politics, in business – seem impossible to defeat. We worry about being de-platformed by tech giants, or whatever. We think ourselves into believing that we cannot take on entrenched politicians and their cronies in the media.
And, yet, history is replete with impossible giants being vanquished by those viewed as inconsequential in the eyes of the world. Of course, let us remember David didn’t go onto the battlefield alone – he was literally fighting alongside God.
As a quick aside, we must – like David – be sure we’re fighting the fights to which God has called us, not simply those that are politically expedient or feel good in the moment.
Like David, we must faithfully confront the giants in our path. And we must be willing to get our hands dirty in the process. In so doing, we’ll inspire others around us to join in the fight.
Lastly, 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! 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.