The old man peers through the window overlooking the vast valley. That’s where it took place decades ago. When things were simpler. When things were clearer. No throne to occupy. No kingdom to rule. No economy to maintain. The shepherd boy turned king breathes a deep sigh. After all these years, he can still smell the stench of war…
He strolled on that field, years ago, with nothing much but his slingshot and his faith. They tried to persuade him to turn back. Instead, he dismissed and turned them away. He was offered an armor but he shook his head and turned it down. Even the offer of a prize was moot. With or without the promise of a reward, the boy knew what he needed to do and was determined to do it. Only his zeal surpassed his fear as he advanced by his lonesome on that battlefield.
Behind him was a pathetic sight — his countrymen cowering in fear. Before him was a throng of arrogance —- a Palestinian army sensing imminent victory. But within him was a fire — an unquestionable faith on a God who has seen him through countless times in the past.
A giant loomed before him — mocking. Bulging muscles burst forth from the giant’s armor. His mouth foamed with every scornful remark. The giant’s eyes squinted with disdain as the young shepherd boy advanced with every step. The giant gripped his weapon and readied himself for his conquest. He lets out a roar and attacked. Everyone watched with bated breath as the drama unfolded to its resounding climax. A slingshot for a sword. Faith in God versus faith in one’s self. God-sufficiency against self-sufficiency. The giant beats his chest to announce his power. The boy points to heaven to declare God’s power.
“David said, ‘The battle is the Lords’!”
The boy whips his sling and the little rock flew. Just like before, on the hills of Israel, battling against the bears and wolves which attempted to devour his flock, the boy, once again, prayed for God’s intervention. And as always, as if an unseen hand carried the stone on air and directed it to the enemy’s forehead. Slam! The little rock rocked the giant’s world. For the giant, everything after that went blank. Darkness followed. And the only sound of breathing he could hear, for sure, wasn’t his own but that of Hades.
Goliath falters on the battlefield. But the boy wasn’t through with him yet. The boy knew that the giant’s head had to come off if he was to put a final ending to the Palestinian threat. Swish! The blade goes and off went the giant’s head. The Israelites break into a cheer. The boy breaks into a prayer. Perhaps he whispers in prayer what was once his battlecry: “Thank you, Lord. Truly, this battle belongs to you!”
The old man wipes his tears away. Those were years ago. Time has a way of making one forget. Yes, he is now a king nearing his last retirement years. He had won countless battles, issued numerous edicts and conquered many victories. This King has accomplished much now. But somehow the emptiness from within has eclipsed his glory from without.
Being king means being sufficient, he thought. You have everything you need. An army at your beck and call. Money at your disposal. A kingdom under your feet. But the king swallows hard at these thoughts. Because he remembers, as he takes a peek at his past, that self-sufficiency, like what he has now, was the giant’s ticket to defeat. When the giant felt he was sufficient, he became arrogant. Feeling invincible, he became reckless. Thinking he was indestructible, he clashed with real power — the power of God-sufficiency.
The king remembered how, as a young shepherd boy, he completely relied — not on his weapons, nor his skills, nor his influence — but on his God. He was “God-sufficient”. And he won his battles because he relied on his God.
The King digs his face in his palms and prays: “Dear God, forgive me if I became so reliant on who I am and what I have. You are my real power, my true source of strength. Goliath isn’t dead. I still have my goliaths in my life today. Goliath came to life when I fell into adultery with Bathsheeba. Goliath rose from the dead when, out of jealousy, I placed an innocent man, Uriah, on the frontlines of the battlefield. Goliath resurrected when I couldn’t keep my family together. Lord, self-sufficiency is a lie. Life is too big for me. Teach me once more to rely on you alone. For the battle belongs to you and the glory is yours alone.”
Some modern-day self-help gurus teach us an ancient lie — that we are self-sufficient to fight the challenges of life. My friend, life is a Goliath. And the only way to win is to do what David did —- to rely on Somebody bigger than life.
Your Goliath could be anything from a broken marriage, to loneliness, to regular dialysis sessions, and to depleted funds. But you cannot fight them on your own. Give the battle to God and only then can He fight for you.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not promoting low self-esteem. Instead, what I suggest is you esteem yourself but not for what you can do but for what God has done, what God continues to do, and what God will continue to do for you.
So march on that field with faith. Look your Goliath straight in the eye. Bring out your slingshot and tiny stones. Say a little prayer. And then surge ahead exclaiming valiantly, “The Battle is the Lord’s!”
Believe, my friend, it really is.