by Rev. Randy Brown
Throughout the season of Lent, we’re going to be looking at a theme called “The Battles,” because we all have battles and we all have giants that we face each and every day. We’re leading from the Old Testament, a couple of battles in the Old Testament, to the New Testament battles that we’ll be talking about closer to Easter Sunday. Finally, the victorious battle that Jesus fought and won upon the cross. It’s interesting, and I think it’s appropriate, that we look at the battle beginning with David who is a forerunner of the Messiah. Jesus was of the house and lineage of David and then it comes on to being Jesus, starting with the battle… looking at the battles with his ancestor and on to the descendant of David, who’s Jesus the Christ.
Face the Giants or Facing your Giants. Those are books and movies that have been released recently. As we look at the series of battles we realize that battles are a part of the story of God’s people. We’re not just… It’s not a life of luxury. It’s not a life of ease. It’s not a bed of roses. But, there are battles that we face, and it’s part of the story. Anybody here not facing a battle? Okay. Well, if you had raised your hand, my response was going to be, “Well just get ready because it’s coming,” because battles are a part of the story. It’s always been a part of the story of the people of God. There are battles that we have to face.
You may have come today with a battle, with a giant confronting you. It may be financial. It may be relational. It may be a broken heart or a shattered dream. It may be an addiction. It may be what the future might hold. But, as you face the giants… That’s an interesting title, because the title is half the battle. If we face the giants, that’s half the battle.
When there’s a giant that comes before us, there are three things that we can do to respond to that. We can ignore the giant thinking that it will go away if we’ll just leave it alone and don’t talk to it and don’t think about it. It’ll go away. How’s that worked for you? Doesn’t work that way. Or, you can acknowledge the giant and choose not to do anything about it. That doesn’t work very good either. Or, you can acknowledge the giant and face the giant and deal with it. And, that’s what David did as a part of his battle.
Now, I don’t want to be negative this morning, but I want to state a truth. Sometimes in your life and in my life, guess what, the odds are against us. The odds are against us. Just ask David. What kind of odds do you think he had? Here he was, a young boy, wasn’t even old enough to shave. And, then, all of a sudden he’s leading the army. One day he’s out in the creek or in the brook, and he’s trying to find some smooth stones, and he kneels down and he gets his pants wet up above his knees, but he’s finding those smooth stones, and he’s putting them in the shepherd’s pouch. They’re the flat, smooth stones. They’re the kind that he’s learned to throw like a missile, and it’ll hit the head of the bear or the lion. And, sure enough, he becomes victorious against the enemy.
And, then there’s Goliath; he’s about 9 foot, 9 inches tall. His ammunition or his armor, rather, we’re told weigh probably 125 pounds. We don’t know what his collar size was, or his shoe size, but it was big. Some had told us that his belt size was probably 56. He was a big boy. He represented the Philistine Army. What was David’s odds? Are they better than yours – or worse? Your Goliath doesn’t come to you with a sword and a shield. Sometimes your Goliath comes just dancing around in your mind, causing you worry and stress and high blood pressure.
Your worry, your giant bellows out just like Goliath did, and it taunts you. Or, sometimes your giant might wake you up in the middle of the night and you can’t sleep anymore. Sometimes it may just prance through your mind at the office or in the living room. Or, perhaps your giant is one that it’s a past that you can’t shake off. Or, perhaps your giant is a future that you don’t want to face. Giants are all around us, and they continue to haunt us. They continue to come at us. David knew this. It was Saul’s army… One way it was described, in Saul’s army, they’d been fighting the Philistines for a long time, and Saul was there and he was like, “I can’t believe we’re still fighting this battle.”
Sometimes we continue to have to face the battle and fight the battle, because we don’t deal with it when the time is appropriate. Saul was like, “You know, my grandfather fought this battle, and my daddy fought this battle.” And, then he got young David ready, and David fought the battle. The giant has raised his voice, he reared his head, and he began to bellow out. The soldiers on both sides would fear and trembling. When that kind of giant faces you, and you’re in that kind of battle, my question to you this morning is this: Where is your focus? When you’re going into battle: Where is your focus? Do you see God? You know Goliath; you recognize his voice. He’s walking around and you recognize his walk. But, the question is: Is that all that you see? Or, do you see something more in the midst of the battle?
David shows up, and his discussion is not about the giant. His discussion is about God. He discusses God. The soldiers don’t mention God. His brothers don’t mention God, but when David goes center stage, that’s all he’s talking about. “For the battle is the Lord’s,” and he knew that. The Lord was the subject of his fight. We are the army and our fight is with the living; it is in behalf of the living God. There wasn’t any small talk, wasn’t any chit-chat – he got straight to the point. He said – He had to take pride in this – His flesh came out when he says, “Who does this uncircumcised Philistine think he is?” I think he enjoyed calling him names, because the battle was the Lord’s.
I’ve got a friend through The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and he’s going through a battle right now. He’s one of the most gifted, committed Christian coaches that I’ve ever met in my life. Two years ago he came in second to being named Head Coach at a major university. He was disappointed as many of his friends were. I got word this week that he’d gone back to his former college where he was coaching, and he was relieved of his duty for no reason. He’s struggling right now, but in talking to him and talking to his wife; he knows that it’s in God’s hands. He knows that God is getting him ready for something great. You see – he knows that the battle is the Lord’s, and he’s a faithful fighter.
No one discuses God, but David discusses no one but God. And, his focus is on God and not the giants. David sees what other people don’t see, and he refuses to see what other people do see. Can you imagine that day when the armies were standing there on the side of the ravine? If you had been there and you were one that would write in a journal, what would your journal entry have been that day? You would have seen a little boy and a great big giant. You would see a young man who, as I said a moment ago, “he ain’t even shaved yet,” and then a giant Neanderthal. And, you wouldn’t have given him very good odds would you? But, when you went home, there was a different journal entry, because God was victorious through a young shepherd boy. David majors on God. He sees the giant. He’s not in denial. He just knows that as big as Goliath is, God’s bigger. And, I want you to know that as big as your giants are, God’s bigger. God’s bigger than those giants in our lives.
Scripture tells us an interesting thing: there comes a moment when David’s prepared. He’s ready, and it’s time to do it. And, he begins to take the sling. And, he begins to wind up. And, he begins to run toward the giant. The battle is won when he runs toward the giant. I say to this to my own unworthy heart, because there’s sometimes out there I don’t want to face; I want to flee, I want to hide. But, if David had hidden we never would have had the story of the power of God in unlikely circumstances.
I don’t know how many movie buffs are here this morning, but years ago there was a movie by the name of – I think it was, The Hunt or Search for Red October. And, in that movie there’s a scene where there’s a submarine. The submarine is getting ready to become under attack by an enemy torpedo. Am I right, Frank? The thing about the torpedo… They launched the torpedo. They get word that the torpedo has been launched. It’s headed straight at them for their destruction, and the commander of the submarine decides he can’t outrun it. So, in a brave move, he turns the submarine around and heads straight for it. One of the things about torpedoes is the have to have time to be armed fully. If you head toward them and you get there before they’re armed fully, they don’t do near the damage if any damage at all. And so, instead of trying to outrun the torpedo, the commander of the submarine turns it around and heads straight for it, and the crew survives. There’s no damage.
How many times have I run from the giants only to let them do destruction, when if we go straight towards the giants knowing that God’s in charge, there’s no destruction? But, we have to be brave enough and bold enough to go and face the giants and to go toward the giant. When’s the last time that we got our sling out and took a swing? David’s brother…the brothers were there and as he’s getting ready to go and do battle with the giant. I can just see him. They’re embarrassed. They’re covering their faces. They don’t want to see the destruction of David.
And, Goliath, he can see all that’s going on, and I think he kind of laughs. I think this laughter over took him and he just, “Ha ha ha ha.” I think when he did that – his headgear moved. And, when his headgear moved, there was a part of his head that wasn’t covered anymore. It wasn’t protected, and guess where that smooth stone landed? Right in that open spot. And, his knees buckled, and his eyes crossed, and the giant fell because a little boy wouldn’t back up. He ran toward the giant. He faced the giant. When’s the last time you ran toward your giants?
Oftentimes, we want to retreat and not cope or deal with it, and we let the giants eat our lunch. Not David. That doesn’t bring about victory, that brings about defeat. Try something different this week when you face your giants. Realize that God will saturate your heart and soul, and that if you amplify God, the giants will be minimized. Download the resources of heaven. Face your giants.
You may be saying, “But preacher, what about… Why, why, David? Don’t you read the rest of the story? Well, yeah David… Somebody said in Sunday school this morning, “He was bipolar,” and he was. Sometimes David can stand with the kings and sometimes he can’t stand up at all. He fell as often as he stood. He stumbled as often as he conquered. He could handle Goliath, but he couldn’t handle Bathsheba. One minute he was an Eagle Scout, and the next minute he was in the mafia. One minute he could lead the army, and the next minute he couldn’t even do anything with his family. What does Acts tell us about David? He was a man after God’s own heart.
You see, we don’t have to be perfect to let God use us. God’s not looking for perfect people; He wants to use us. One minute, if he was a diver, he’d be on the cliff and he’d do a beautiful swan dive and the next dive was a belly buster. He just messed it all up. Kind of like – us. In the God moments, in the good moments, there was no one better. In the bad moments, there was no one worse. The good moments was when he focused on God and not the giants.
If you read this story you’ll observe two things, or David observed two things and you’ll see them. The one I want to mention is this: if you read this story this afternoon in 1st Samuel, Chapter 17, and if you’re a math person, if you’ll take the number of times that David talks about God and count them, you’ll come up with 9 times that David talks about God. And, if you read the same scripture and keep count about how many times David talks about Goliath, there are 2. He thought 4 times more about God than he did his giant. What does that tell us? That when we face the giants, we need to be thinking more about God than we do the giants.
Sometimes I hear people and all they talk about is are the giants, and how big their giants are. Talk about how big God is. Don’t dwell on the giants. Dwell on God. What’s your ratio? You talk about guilt? Talk about grace 4 times as much. You talk about complaining? Spend 4 times more counting your blessings than you do your complaints. Spend 4 times more counting God’s grace than you do the guilt. Spend 4 times more thinking about the hope that He gives us instead of the dread that we have. Think about God’s strengths 4 times more than you do the dread of the day. Focus on the giants, you’re going to stumble. Focus on God, they’ll tumble.
Let me close with this statement: God made a miracle out of David. God made a miracle out of David. And, if He made a miracle out of David, He wants to make one out of you. Will you let him? Take a swing and see what He does. And, let God make a miracle out of you.