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Take Goliath Down
All the passages below are taken from Max Lucado’s book “Facing Your Giants” published in 2006.
HE VIES for the bedside position, hoping to be the first voice you hear. He covets your waking thoughts, those early, pillow-born emotions. He awakes you with words of worry, stirs you with thoughts of stress. If you dread the day before you begin your day, mark it down: your giant has been by your bed.
And he's just getting warmed up. He breathes down your neck as you eat your breakfast, whispers in your ear as you walk out the door, shadows your steps, and sticks to your hip. He checks your calendar, reads your mail, and talks more trash than players in an inner-city basketball league.
"You ain't got what it takes."
"You come from a long line of losers."
"Fold your cards and leave the table. You've been dealt a bad hand."
He's your giant, your Goliath. Given half a chance, he'll turn your day into his Valley of Elah, taunting, teasing, boasting, and echoing claims from one hillside to the other. Remember how Goliath misbehaved? "For forty days, twice a day, morning and evening, the Philistine giant strutted in front of the Israelite army" (1 Samuel 17:16 NLT).
Goliaths still roam our world. Debt. Disaster. Dialysis. Danger. Deceit. Disease. Depression. Super-size challenges still swagger and strut, still pilfer sleep and embezzle peace and liposuction joy. But they can't dominate you. You know how to deal with them. You face giants by facing God first.
Focus on giants---you stumble.
Focus on God---your giants tumble.
You know what David knew, and you do what David did. You pick up five stones, and you make five decisions. Ever wonder why David took five stones into battle? Why not two or twenty? Rereading his story reveals five answers. Use your five fingers to remind you of the five stones you need to face down your Goliath. Let your thumb remind you of...
1. THE STONE OF THE PAST
Goliath jogged David's memory. Elah was a deja vu. While everyone else quivered, David remembered. God had given him strength to wrestle a lion and strong-arm a bear. Wouldn't he do the same with the giant?
David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God." (17:34-36)
A good memory makes heroes. A bad memory makes wimps. Amnesia made a wimp out of me last week. My Goliath awoke me at 4:0o a.m. with a woeful list of worries. Our church was attempting to
Write today’s worries in sand.
Chisel yesterday’s victories in stone.
raise money for a youth building, more money than we had ever raised in one effort.
The giant awoke me with ridicule. You guys are crazy. You'll never collect that much money. I couldn't argue. The economy is down. People are stressed. We may not raise enough to buy one brick. Goliath had me running for the trees.
But then I remembered David, the nine-to-two odds, the story of the lion and the bear. So I decided to do what David did: gaze at God's victories. I climbed out of bed, walked into the living room, turned on the lamp, pulled out my journal, and began making a list of lion-and bear-size conquests.
In the five previous years, God had prompted
God has done this before, I whispered. A lion's head hangs in the church foyer, and a bear rug rests on the sanctuary floor. About this time I heard a thud. Right there in the living room! I turned around just in time to see Goliath's eyes cross and knees buckle and body fall face-first on the carpet. I stood and placed a foot on his back and chuckled, Take that, big boy.1
"Remember His marvelous works which He has done" (1 Chronicles 16:12). Catalog God's successes. Keep a list of his world records. Has he not walked you through high waters? Proven to be faithful? Have you not known his provision? How many nights have you gone to bed hungry? Mornings awakened in the cold? He has made roadkill out of your enemies. Write today's worries in sand. Chisel yesterday's victories in stone. Pick up the stone of the past. Then select ...
2. THE STONE OF PRAYER
Note the valley between your thumb and finger. To pass from one to the next you must go through it. Let it remind you of David's descent. Before going high, David went low; before ascending to fight, David descended to prepare. Don't face your giant without first doing the same. Dedicate time to prayer. Paul, the apostle, wrote,
Peace is promised to the one who
fixes thoughts and desires on the king.
"Prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long" (Ephesians 6:18 MSG).
Prayer spawned David's successes. His Brook Besor wisdom grew out of the moment he "strengthened himself in the Lord his God" (1 Sam. 30:6). When Saul's soldiers tried to capture him, David turned toward God: "You have been my defense and refuge in the day of my trouble" (Psalm 59:16).
How do you survive a fugitive life in the caves? David did with prayers like this one: "Be good to me, God---and now! I've run to you for dear life. I'm hiding out under your wings until the hurricane blows over. I call out to High God, the God who holds me together" (Psalm 57:1-2 MSG).
When David soaked his mind in God, he stood. When he didn't, he flopped. You think he spent much time in prayer the evening he seduced Bathsheba? Did he write a psalm the day he murdered Uriah? Doubtful.
Mark well this promise: "[God] will keep in perfect peace all who trust in [God], whose thoughts are fixed on [God]" (Isaiah 26:3 NLT). God promises not just peace but perfect peace. Undiluted, unspotted, unhindered peace. To whom? To those whose minds are "fixed" on God. Forget occasional glances. Dismiss random ponderings. Peace is promised to the one who fixes thoughts and desires on the king.
Invite God's help. Pick up the stone of prayer. And don't neglect ...
3. THE STONE OF PRIORITY
Let your tallest finger remind you of your highest priority: God's reputation. David jealously guarded it. No one was going to defame his Lord. David fought so that "all the earth may know that there is
See your struggle as God’s canvas.
On it He will paint His multicolored supremacy
a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's" (1 Samuel 17:46-47).
David saw Goliath as a chance for God to show off! Did David know he would exit the battle alive? No. But he was willing to give his life for the reputation of God.
What if you saw your giant in the same manner? Rather than begrudge him, welcome him. Your cancer is God's chance to flex his healing muscles. Your sin is God's opportunity to showcase grace. Your struggling marriage can billboard God's power. See your struggle as God's canvas. On it he will paint his multicolored supremacy. Announce God's name and then reach for ...
4. THE STONE OF PASSION
As Goliath moved closer to attack, David quickly ran out to meet him. Reaching into his shepherd's bag and taking out a stone, he hurled it from his sling and hit the Philistine in the forehead. The stone sank in, and Goliath stumbled and fell face downward to the ground. (17:48-49 NLT)
David ran, not away from, but toward his giant. On one side of the battlefield, Saul and his cowardly army gulped. On the other,
David lobotomized the giant
Because he emphasized the Lord.
Goliath and his skull-splitters scoffed. In the middle, the shepherd boy ran on his spindly legs. Who bet on David? Who put money on the kid from Bethlehem? Not the Philistines. Not the Hebrews. Not David's siblings or David's king. But God did.
And since God did, and since David knew God did, the skinny runt became a blur of pumping knees and a swirling sling. He ran toward his giant.
Do the same! What good has problem-pondering gotten you? You've stared so long you can number the hairs on Goliath's chest. Has it helped?
No. Listing hurts won't heal them. Itemizing problems won't solve them. Categorizing rejections won't remove them. David lobotomized the giant because he emphasized the Lord. Let your ring finger remind you to take up the stone of passion.
One more stone, and finger, remains:
5. THE STONE OF PERSISTENCE
David didn't think one rock would do. He knew Goliath had four behemoth relatives. "Ishbi-benob was a descendant of the giants; his bronze spearhead weighed more than seven pounds" (2 Samuel 21:16 NLT). Saph made the list, described as "another descendant of the giants" (v. 18 NLT). Then there was "the brother of Goliath of Gath. The handle of his spear was as thick as a weaver's beam!" (v 19 NLT). These three seem harmless compared to King Kong.
There was a giant there [Gath] with six fingers on his hands and six toes on his feet-twenty-four fingers and toes! He was another of those descended from Rapha....
These four were descended from Rapha in Gath. (vv 20, 22 MSG)
Why did David quarry a quintet of stones? Could it be because Goliath had four relatives the size of Tyrannosaurus rex? For all
Never give up.
David knew, they'd come running over the hill to defend their kin. David was ready to empty the chamber if that's what it took.
Imitate him. Never give up. One prayer might not be enough. One apology might not do it. One day or month of resolve might not suffice. You may get knocked down a time or two ... but don't quit. Keep loading the rocks. Keep swinging the sling.
David took five stones. He made five decisions. Do likewise. Past. Prayer. Priority. Passion. And persistence.
Next time Goliath wakes you up, reach for a stone. Odds are, he'll be out of the room before you can load your sling. [165-173]
1. The offering exceeded our expectations.
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