Confession time! I never watched any superhero cartoons, movies, or read comic books as a kid. My heroes were all Bible characters, Bugs Bunny, Garfield the cat, Indiana Jones, and Revolutionary War heroes. Does that make me strange? Possibly! But then again, none of my heroes wore underwear on the out side of their costumes, pranced around in tights (except for Bugs Bunny), or concealed their identities for their protection. Who’s strange now? Probably still me, but I’m ok with that. Fast-forward a few decades to yesterday. Ty and I were on the trampoline playing none other than “David and Goliath.” He loves that story in the Bible.
He was David and he had a red bouncy ball in his hand as his sling and stone. He would whirl his around and around until he was ready to hurl the ball at my face. There were a few misses and several scare me to death throws, but every so often he would drill me in the forehead. I would then fall to the trampoline mat and lay lifeless for a couple minutes. It was mostly because I had a headache from being drilled in the head by his fastball. Kids got a cannon on him for being 4.
As I laid there staring at the sky contemplating whether to get up and keep playing while risking a concussion; I began to think about Goliath as a person. Most people know the story of David’s victory over Goliath from Sunday school or VBS. Even secular media will reference David versus Goliath type scenarios for sports or other competitions. But no one routes for Goliath. I began to wonder why and then I began to wonder if God loved Goliath. Did God offer Goliath grace for salvation? Was there ever any hope for Goliath to believe in God or was he always going to be a tagline of massive power losing to an underdog? (If you haven’t figured out by now, I look at Scripture from a strange angle 🙂 )
What do we know about Goliath that would help us answer some of these questions? The account is in 1 Samuel 17. The Philistine army and the Israelite army had come together to fight. The Philistine army had a champion named Goliath who stood nearly 10 feet tall, but apparently was very fluid and capable of taking any man on in battle. He was not some string bean; he was a stacked, muscled up giant with a will to kill. He challenged Israelite warriors to come out and face him one on one. All the Israelite men shook in their boots and that included King Saul. Vs. 16 gives an interesting tidbit that I think is a clue to figuring out God’s intention for Goliath. The verse says that Goliath came out morning and evening for 40 days, ready to fight.
40 days! Let’s think about that for just a second. God could have easily had David come to the camp on Day 1, hear Goliath throw down the challenge, and fight Goliath. Yes! But God allowed Goliath to stand before Israel, God’s chosen people, for 40 days. That might not seem like anything to you, but to me that seems like a grace period. Consider this. The Israelites were set apart by God so that the whole world would know that God exists, God loves them, and that God saves broken people while giving them access to Himself. God was still a saving and gracious God, even in the Old Testament. The Israelites were supposed to be a beacon to the world so they could know Him and live for Him. I believe the Israelites were to show such dependence on the God they claimed that it would have been a great testimony for Goliath and the other Philistines to know God as well. But what happened instead? The Israelites shook and quivered for 40 days and never called on the name of God, not even once. The Israelites didn’t reflect God in any way and Goliath never got to see the God they knew, even in the 40 day grace period.
If you read on in the text, the first mention of God and His deliverance comes from a young boy named David who wasn’t even in the army. The one person who trusted God in the entire camp wasn’t even supposed to be there as a fighter. David goes on to fight, but gives Goliath the heads up as to who is really fighting Him. It wasn’t David, it was God. So does this mean that God hated Goliath or didn’t want to redeem him? I honestly believe that David giving the message of God fighting this battle was one last grace attempt for Goliath. Goliath could have heard in that moment about this powerful God who delivers and trusted Him in that moment. He could’ve stopped the whole thing! But Goliath hardened his heart, cursed David in the name of his false gods, rejected the true God, and died without trusting in God to redeem him.
Grace was available for Goliath for 40 days and right before he fought David. Now, think about that one person you know that is far from God. I mean, you would consider it an epic miracle if that person came to Christ. Right now, God is having mercy on them and offering them grace for salvation. Here is where you are to be like the Israelites. You are to reflect a loving and gracious Savior to them. Don’t be like the Israelites shaking in your boots, but be bold like David to exalt the name of Jesus to them so they can hear and accept the free gift of salvation. As long as they have breath in their lungs and their heart still beats, they have time to accept Jesus. Please be faithful to share.
Back to David and Goliath for one second. How epically cool would it have been if when David announced that the fight is the Lord’s and He delivers; that Goliath would have stopped and trusting in Creator God. Wow! That would have been more powerful than David killing Goliath. It would strengthened an entire army to trust the God they claimed and it would have sent a giant back into his people as a witness to a loving all-powerful God. I mean who wouldn’t listen to a strong, muscular giant talking about a powerful God who saves. Goliath would’ve had a huge impact as a Philistine evangelist.
Who around you seems the furthest from God? How are you reflecting a loving Savior to them? Are you too busy thinking poorly of them or are you reflecting on a powerful God who would’ve saved a giant? Jesus still saves! And He can save and redeem the hardest of cases. The question is, are trusting in Him so that they can see it?
Grace and Peace to you as you reflect a loving, powerful Savior to your Goliath.