When I was growing up my dad would tell my brother and me the most elaborate bedtime stories. The elaboration mainly stemmed from our unwillingness to go to sleep, but nonetheless they were fascinating.
To this day my brother and I talk about our dad’s rendition of the story of David and Goliath. He would tell us about the stream where David chose the five smooth stones that he carried in his leather satchel and what he had brought to the army’s camp for lunch that fateful day.
But the best part was the sound effects of David swinging one of those smooth stones around and around and around in his slingshot until he released it into the 9-foot-tall Goliath’s skull.
Now that I think of it, maybe the reason I didn’t go to sleep was the thought of a rock smashing into the giant’s skull, or the way that David would take the dead giant’s sword to chop his head off. Thanks Dad!
We have heard this story time and again. It’s an illustration that is used to encourage us to slay our own giants.
Christian music artist, Francesca Battistelli, sings a song entitled, Giants Fall, that reminds us…
Don’t you be afraid of giants in your way
With God you know that anything’s possible
And that’s exactly what we take away from the story of the shepherd teen-turned-king, that we don’t have to be afraid because with God’s help anything is possible.
But what if I tell you that we’ve been reading this story all wrong?
Giants We Face
Sure, we all have giants we face. Over the last several years I’ve worked up the courage to name some of mine.
- and even Complacency
They still cast their shadows over me some days. So what’s wrong with wanting to slay our giants? To overcome them and come out victorious? A lot actually.
Dead, But Still Deadly
When Louie Giglio, Pastor at Passion City Church in Atlanta, was a college student, he worked summers at a church camp on a jungle-esque island off the coast of South Carolina. Today the area is known for its picture-esque resort, called Hilton Head, but at that time it was overrun by poisonous snakes and other creepy-crawlies.
One of Louie’s jobs was to ensure that the snakes didn’t become too much of a problem on the path that lead to the bathhouse, so he and a group of his friends would go out armed with a baseball bat and a flashlight to wallop snakes on the head until they were dead. They’d then hold the head down with the bat and pull on the snake’s body until the head popped off. They’d grind the head down into the sand and bury it with more sand.
The freaky thing about snakes, besides the fact that they’re snakes, is that their tails continue to move and wrap themselves around things for some time after their head has been removed. And in zombie-like-fashion, the snake’s head though dead, can still sense body-heat and will snap to deliver a deadly bite since there is still enough venom in its fangs to poison anyone who may accidentally step on them, hence the reason why Louie and his friends buried the heads in the sand. (paraphrase from Goliath Must Fall)
I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of these gory details of a dead giant and now a snake. The snake’s head was DEAD BUT STILL DEADLY, and that’s a good picture of our enemy, Satan.
In the Clutches of Death
Satan, who took on the likeness of a snake in the Garden of Eden, and who was promised by God the Father,
Because of your deception, you are cursed
more than all animals, domestic and wild.
You will crawl on your belly,
groveling in the dust as long as you live.
And I will cause hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.
But in that same promise, was a hope for the woman who had been deceived, as well as for all of us who have been heir to this fallen world.
Jesus provided the final blow to Satan, as He went to the cross. Jesus went to the grave in the clutches of sin and death, but 3 days later he walked out of the grave, burying sin, Satan’s sting, once and for all. The battle is over, the victory won. All that is left of Satan is a beaten headless snake.
Do you see it now? The shift in perspective of that Old Testament story of David and Goliath?
David, though armed with a slingshot, isn’t the giant-slayer that we all thought he was. Jesus is. He alone has the power to slay every man’s giants.
So what does that mean about the giants that still plague us?
We live in a time between Jesus’ first and second coming… and the nerve endings of Satan’s tail haven’t died off. They still wrap themselves around us and threaten to choke us. And if we’re not careful, we may listen to the taunting of this giant that leads us into a trap where we might stumble upon his dead head, with spring-loaded fangs poised and ready to pierce us with his crippling venom. We’re left standing frozen, un-moving and dead to the life that God planned for us.
That often happens when we seek to overcome our giants and come out victorious on our own. The glory will be all ours. But we, like David are no giant-slayers. Jesus even reminded his disciples of this in Matthew 19:26,
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.
God is Bigger Than Our Giants
Our giant-slayer is only a call away. Jesus is ready to supply the strength, the endurance and the faith needed to face our giants every day. With precision, He delivered the ultimate blow to defeat our giants, past, present and future. It is He that deserves the glory, honor and praise.
Paul, the first-century terrorist-turned-preacher, echoes Christ in Philippians 4:13, when he says,
I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Paul isn’t saying in this verse that we can do everything because of Christ-plus-something.
No, the equation is Christ-plus-nothing. The power to change, to slay our giants is simply, Christ.
“Giants come in all shapes and sizes, some subtle and others stark. The good news is it’s not God’s plan for you to live with anything standing in the middle of your life, demoralizing you day by day by day. These giants harm you and rob God of his glory in your life. God wants you to live free. God wants your giants to fall. He wants you to live without the chains that bind you, unfettered from beliefs that limit you. And you can!” – Goliath Must Fall, page xiv