My parents named me David, after my uncle, my mother’s brother. I like the name and I like being named after someone in the family. Of course, David is also a popular Bible name. King David was the most famous and most important king in the history of Israel. He is a prominent character throughout the pages of scripture. Although a flawed individual he is described as a “man after God’s own heart.” He had many low points and committed many sins but always returned to God for forgiveness and mercy. As Pastor Jim Cymbala says, “his body was in the Old Testament but his heart was in the new.”
One of the best known stories about David has to do with his killing of a giant. David was the youngest son of many and very low in rank within his own family. He was often out in the field by himself to watch the sheep. His older brothers no doubt saw him as little more than an errand boy.
One day David was sent out by his father to see how the war against the Philistines was going. Three older brothers were on the front lines which as it turned out was a dull place to be. Instead of fighting there was developing a daily stand-off between both sides. A nine foot giant named Goliath of Gath would come out and call for a challenger. He wanted a battle with one individual from the other side, winner takes all. The Israelites were all afraid; no one wanted to be the first of many who would die.
When David heard Goliath on the morning he arrived he was upset that someone would mock and defy “the armies of the living God.” David was more surprised that there were no challengers to Goliath. So he volunteered. I am sure that at first there was laughter but eventually they realized he was serious. So King Saul asked David why he thought he could beat Goliath.
David was ready with an answer. He had spent a lot of time looking after his father’s sheep and there were dangers out there. He never ran from those dangers but always worked to protect the flock. He told Saul, “I have killed lions and bears and I can kill this giant too.”
You see, while it looked like he was out of the way, passing time with the herds, God was preparing him for something. David was gaining experience and confidence, he was using his sling shot and his aim was getting really good. He had taken on lions and bears and would not let them harm the sheep.
My brother-in-law is a hunter. He’s killed many bears with a bow and arrow. I must confess that I’m deeply impressed since it’s not the kind of thing I would do. But I don’t think he’s killed a lion and I know that he hasn’t killed a bear with a sling shot. David was one gusty kid.
David had gained confidence as a young boy, now young man, working for his father. Now he was ready for something bigger, more important. God had been building his faith, one small step at a time. That’s how God builds our faith. We have a little victory and we draw on that experience for the next challenge we face. Then one day we are standing in front of a giant wondering what we should do. Well, we should remember that with God’s help we have already killed some lions and bears. God was with us then and he is with us now. He used those previous experiences for this very moment. That’s how God works.
We all face challenges, giants that seem too big; giants that mock our God and our faith in him. Giants that threaten our lives or the lives of people we love. But God has prepared us for this challenge, whatever it is. He was with you then and he is with you now. David had five smooth stones in his pocket but he only needed one. Yet, he had to have faith and courage to step forward and face that giant down. He trusted everything to God when he said, “The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:37)
So take courage, God has been working and preparing you for this moment and he will not fail you now!