As I study I Samuel 17, I see two teams with two different kind of quarterbacks, if you will. I see the Philistines, and their quarterback, Goliath and the Israelites and their quarterback, David. So we have two sides, two teams, the Philistines versus the Israelites. Who would win? Well, actually, it came down to just the quarterbacks, just two players. It was David versus Goliath. It was actually Giant versus Giant. Goliath was a physical giant, but David was a SPIRITUAL GIANT!
I want to give you seven statements that help us understand the difference between spiritual giants and physical giants.
- Spiritual giants refuse to be defined by anyone but God.
Here is 1 Samuel 17:8: Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me.
David didn’t see himself as “just” a servant of Saul. He didn’t see himself as “just” a servant of his father as he would run between home and the battle line to take food to his brothers. He saw himself as a servant of God, as a champion.
Goliath wasn’t the only one talking trash to David. When David was making a food delivery to his brothers, he overheard Goliath taunting the Israelites. David started asking questions about the situation, and when he did, his oldest brother, Eliab, belittled and minimized him.
Eliab’s words could have resounded over and over in David’s thinking. He could have started to believe he was “just” a little sheepherder. He was just an errand boy. He could never make a difference. But David knew his own heart. He knew why he asking questions. He knew what God was quickening in his heart.
King Saul also spoke discouragingly over David when he told him he wasn’t qualified to fight the giant in verse 33. David wasn’t going to be defined by the words or opinions of man, and if you want to be a spiritual giant, neither should you be.
- Spiritual giants don’t allow what they see and hear to deter them from the battle.
David had heard taunts and jabs and could see a huge and powerful opponent. He saw a bigger and more skilled army. He saw his own people, the Israelite army, running away every time Goliath started running his mouth. There wouldn’t even be anyone to have his back. From a human perspective things didn’t look good. It didn’t look like he could or would win. The odds were stacked against him. But that didn’t deter David. David wasn’t focused on Goliath’s size. That just made him too big to miss. David knew he wasn’t going into a hand to hand combat situation with Goliath. He was going to use Goliath for target practice. You see, sometimes, what we see and hear just calls for us to adjust our strategy. Not every giant is dealt with in the same manner. As we size up our giants, we need to ask God for help with a strategy that will enable us to be successful. It’s not about the size of your giant. It’s about the strategy you use against your giant.
- Spiritual giants battle with the right motivation.
David understood that what was taking place was more than a showdown between two people groups. What was happening was really a showdown between Yahweh, the One, True, Living God and the pagan gods of the Philistines. This was more than a physical battle. It was a spiritual war. Only David saw it. Everyone else was focused on earthly things and earthly outcomes. David said in verse 26, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”
David didn’t enlist in the battle to gain riches or a wife or a tax exempt status. He signed up because he wasn’t going to have the Lord’s name being defamed. He wasn’t going to have God’s people continue to be bullied or harmed. His heart wasn’t for himself and what he could gain. His heart was for God and God’s people, and that’s why he was victorious! He had the right motivation, the right heart.
- Spiritual giants run to the battle. Twice in I Samuel 17 we read that David ran to the battle line. There was nothing timid in David’s approach. He was aggressive. He was courageous. He was bold. He was decisive. He knew what he was going to do when he got to the battle line.
- Spiritual giants fully rely on the Lord.
When King Saul listed the reasons David wasn’t qualified to battle Goliath, David shared some of his previous accomplishments, and when he did, he gave the Lord credit for his victory. Look at verses 34 and following: But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. 37 The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.”
David’s wasn’t trusting in his sling shot skills. He was trusting fully in the Lord to deliver him from Goliath. David also announced his reliance on God to Goliath when he said in verse 45, 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.
David was fully trusting in the name of the Lord, in the presence of the Lord to go before him.
- Spiritual giants talk triumphantly.
David didn’t say to himself, “There is no way this is going to work. I am no match for Goliath. This is stupid that I am even doing this.” David didn’t say to his brothers, “I hope this isn’t a big mistake. In case I don’t make it back, it’s been nice knowing you.” No. There was no fear and no doubt in David’s mind that he would be victorious. Listen, don’t you let your giants do all the talking, friends! David didn’t. You need to open your mouth and declare the victory.
1 Samuel 17:46-47 46 This day the LORD WILL hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I WILL give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world WILL know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here WILL know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he WILL give all of you into our hands.”
Believers, we need to have a triumphant vocabulary. We need to be people of a positive report. We need to confess that we are overcomers. We need to believe God is up to something good in our lives. We need let the devil know who is boss and that he is going down.
- Spiritual giants lead others into victory.
1 Samuel 17:52-53 52 Then the men of Israel and Judah surged forward with a shout and pursued the Philistines to the entrance of Gath and to the gates of Ekron. Their dead were strewn along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron. 53 When the Israelites returned from chasing the Philistines, they plundered their camp.
Listen, when you pursue and win spiritual battles, other people will reap the benefits along with you. Your spouse is going to win when you win against your giants. Your friends will win when you win against your giants. Your faith, your boldness, your conviction and courage, will win victories that enable other people to see what is possible when we trust God to lead.
It has well been said that “There are people who make things happen, people who watch things happen and people who don’t know that anything is happening.”
David could see what was happening. He realized there was a spiritual war that needed to be fought and won. It was a battle between truth and error, faith and superstition, between God and the dead idols of the Philistines. David’s victory reminded the Israelites that day that God will give the victory.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I believe that every battle we have in this life has a spiritual component. There is a spiritual war tied to everything we face in the physical which means in order to be victorious, we have to have a spiritual strategy in order to win. If you are a Christian, then every battle you face is personal to God. Why? His name is on the line. You wear His name. You wear the name of Christ. God isn’t going to let the enemy have the victory in the life of a man or woman who has committed by becoming a spiritual giant and warring God’s way.