Measuring Goliath?

Are we magnifying the challenge or the power of God?

When the Israelites were confronted by a giant Philistine, they listened to his claim of superior might and apparently believed it. Statistics on his height, the weight of his armor, the size of his spear, and even the weight of his spearhead seemed to confirm Goliath's boast, and they found themselves unable to cope with him.

As David's brothers told him about this mighty Philistine, we may be sure the story lost nothing. Yet David was undismayed. Why? He was seeing the battle from a different point of view. The weight of the giant's spearhead seemed less significant because David saw the battle not as a struggle between physical forces but between the one omnipotent God and the mere physical might of a foe. And David had had already proven in facing a lion and a bear that his dependence on the Almighty was not blind faith; he had already demonstrated that God's power works through the righteous to accomplish divine deliverance.

When Goliath boasted of his strength, David's answer was not a boast of his physical qualifications and his human skill with the sling—a formidable weapon in the hands of an expert. Instead, he translated the battle into moral terms: "Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts" (I Sam. 17:45). Then he used the skills he had proven in past conflicts with brute force, and he defeated Goliath.

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The embrace of true fatherliness
February 21, 1994

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