1 Samuel 17: 4-7
A champion named Goliath, who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. His height was six cubits and a span. He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armour of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield-bearer went ahead of him.
In among the Philistines, or should I say, towering over them was a huge beast of a man called Goliath. He’s 9 foot 9 tall – he’d have made a great NBA player. But he’s not lanky or skinny like a lot of really tall people. He’s built like a tank - 22 inch collar, 54 inch waist. His armour alone weighed about 10 stone, the metal point of his spear weighs over a stone. Everything about him was intimidating. He looked terrifying.
WHAT IS YOUR GIANT?
I know this can sound a bit trite, but at different stages in our lives we will all find ourselves facing a giant. It won’t be a 9 foot warrior standing in front of us, but it will be something which absolutely terrifies us. Which overwhelms us. It will be some obstacle or issue or fear or problem which simply looks too big and too difficult for us to deal with. Whenever we think about it or look at it we will get this sick feeling in our stomach. It will feel like there’s no way out of it, there’s no way to beat it. An impossible situation.
It could be the giant of illness, the giant of depression, the giant of unemployment, the giant of loneliness, the giant of relationship problems, the giant of money and debt problems, the giant of struggling with particular sins which seem to have a grip on you, the giant of work pressures.
I could go on, there’s a lot of giants people are facing – and there’s giants that you’re going to face someday.
And the battle won’t be in a physical valley like here in this story – but it will be in the valley of hospital, or in the valley of your classroom, the valley of your home, the valley of your office, the valley of your marriage.
We are going to stand face to face with a giant and the odds will seem overwhelmingly stacked against us. It will look impossible. Like Goliath, it will have the capacity and potential to destroy us.
And yet with the arrival of the giant in your life comes a moment of potential, a moment of opportunity for what God has put inside you to come out.
GIANTS HAVE A PURPOSE
Here’s what I have discovered in my own life and through seeing giants in other people’s lives – the arrival of a giant, that opposition or obstacle, is often a sign that God is transitioning you to a new stage or new season in your life.
The giant is a sign that God wants to accelerate your growth because He has something at the other side of the giant which you’re not yet ready for, but which fighting the giant will prepare you for.
It’s in facing the giant that we become the man or woman who is ready for the next stage or position or season that God wants to move us into.
Think about David here. For Saul and the whole of Israel’s army – all they could see was a giant obstacle that was able to destroy them. And so they stood there, as we’ll see, terrified and passive and powerless.
But for David, facing the giant became the point of acceleration for him to move from shepherd boy to king. It was as David faced the giant that the greatness that was hidden inside of him was able to come out for everyone to see. Goliath moved David closer to the throne in one day than he might have done any other way in 10 years.
God wants to use the giants we face to shape us and mould us for the next stage which He has for us. And so when a giant appears in your life, it is often a sign that transition is just around the corner. That God is in the process of repositioning you from where you are to the next stage or places He wants to be.
When a woman is in labour the final stage is actually called the Transition Stage, it’s the most painful and most difficult, but you have to go through it to give birth to what’s inside you.
The most difficult, most painful things in our lives, are often actually transition stages, and God is trying to birth something new out of us that He has been growing inside of us.
If we really grasp that we can face the giant and see the bigger picture, we can find a purpose in the pain, an opportunity in the obstacle, a destination behind the difficulty.
In 2 Cor 4:17 Paul puts it this way:
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
Paul looks at the pain he’s going through, the giants he’s facing, and he sees beyond, to glory that’s on the other side of them.
The other thing a giant can do is blast us out of our comfort zone. As people we don’t like change, we like things to stay the same, we prefer what we know than what we don’t know. So God might be trying to move us, to have us grow, to have us let go of something – but we are determined not to budge. We like where we are, we’re comfortable with where we are and we’re going nowhere thank you very much God.
And so sometimes God will allow a giant to come into our lives to force us to change and grow and move forward.
I enjoy lifting weights and I discovered a long time ago that you will never build muscle lifting weights that are easy and comfortable for you to lift. To build muscle the weight has to be almost too heavy, you have to be able to just about lift it. And as you lift it over and over again, the muscle fibres actually tear, that’s why you wake up the next morning feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus. After they are torn the muscles then repair themselves, but they repair themselves a little bit bigger than they were before.
God wants us all to grow, to move forward, to change, to become more than we are, to increase in our capacity to serve and give and love. But often this can only happen as we come against resistance and face some things that we’d rather avoid.