“… But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel”
1 Samuel 17:32-49, Mark 4: 35-41
Today’s text comes from the lectionary reading, and it is a story of David fighting with Goliath, –the story everyone seems to know. The main story is that, as you know, Goliath, the champion of Philistine armies taunted and defied Israelite army for forty days saying that if anyone from Israelite army comes and fights with him, whoever the victor is, the defeated one and the army will become slaves to the victor and his army. Goliath was a giant, 9 feet, and 9 inches in height and he was wearing a 5000 shekels of a bronze coat, which is about 125 Ibs.
In short, forty days signifies wilderness in life, –trials and temptations of Satan, that threaten us, the armies of living God, to destroy. Goliath is a symbol of Satanic power that taunts, deceives, and attacks us in our lives. We face Goliath, seemingly insurmountable problems or trials in our lives. We become overwhelmed with the size of problems and trials when we face them, –the size of 9 feet 9 inches tall and wearing a war coat of 125 Ibs is an overwhelming size to an average ancient Israelite whose height was about 5 feet and 3 inches. The goal of Goliath, the Satanic power, is to defeat us and to make us slaves to Satan, as Goliath suggested in verse 9, “If I prevail over you, you will become our slaves.”
Satan is overwhelmingly powerful having threatening weapons as we see in the case of Goliath who had a javelin, a spear, and a sword. His javelin was a metal pole with a sharp point, throwing it at an enemy who was running towards him. His spear was a long wooden pole with a sharp metal head, pushing the spear into an enemy whom he could reach. His sword was of gigantic size, using it to kill any enemy who came close to him.
If we are armies of God, one way or another we face Goliath in our lives, from time to time, sometimes every day when we are in fierce spiritual wars with Satan. Goliath comes in the form of diseases and sicknesses, or in the form of financial disasters or natural disasters, –earthquake, flood or famine—threatening to destroy our livelihood, or in the form of domestic conflicts or our relationships with people around us, or in the form of death of our loved ones. The biggest Goliath of all is our own Goliath of ourselves, –ego, pride and prejudices, and resentment. I have a lot to say about my own Goliath that I have been fighting with for the last two weeks.
When we face Goliath in our lives, how should we fight with it and have victory over Satan and his demonic power?
Let’s look at David how he fought with Goliath who threatened him and Israelites to make slaves of Philistines. Let’s learn from David how to fight against Goliath when we face Satan, the beast, that comes with or without form.
Let’s look at his weapons to fight against Goliath:
Verse 40, “Then he took his staff in his hand, and chose five smooth stones from the wadi, and put them in his shepherd’s bag, in the pouch; his sling was in his hand, and he drew near to the Philistine.”
We can note here in verse 40 that David had staff, five smooth stones from the Wadi river, and his sling. He refused to wear or have worldly armors, such as bronze coats, javelin, spear or sword. Instead, he had staff, five smooth stones from a river, and his sling.
What does staff signify here? Who had a staff besides David in the Old Testament? Moses, right? Moses had a staff in his hand, which was used at the parting of the Red Sea and to produce water from a rock. The staff Moses and David had in their hand signifies the power of God manifested in God’s guidance, protection and provision for God’s people. David depended on none other than the power of God in fighting with Goliath.
How about us, do we depend on God’s power or our worldly
tactics, knowledge, and skills in fighting with Goliath? Something for us to think about whenever we face Goliath, whether we are depending on God or worldly methods and tactics!
Before we get to the five smooth stones, we have to look at David who got those stones in Wadi river. In Hebrew, the word nachal is a stream, brook, or river. But its verbal root, also nachal, which means to inherit, to occupy, to bequeath, or to possess. Taken that “river” signifies Holy Spirit, the living water, David drew his ammo from the only trustworthy source, the living water of God which was in his possession from the inheritance he had in YHWH. Do you get it? David had possessed living water of God in his inheritance. That was why David was recognized as “a man after God’s own heart” being smoothened by the living water of God, 1 Sam. 13:14. David knew that “living water”/Holy Spirit would always prevail over the beast whether that beast is an actual beast of the field, or is a man living in the beast’s image of Satan. David had already chosen to live after the image of God. Those people made and perfected in the image of God RULE over all creatures, great and small. Remember? When Adam was perfectly made in the image of God, he was to rule all the creatures in heaven, on earth, and in the sea? Goliath, the Satan was no exception.
We are created in the image of God but we have been distorted the image of God in us because of our sins. By sitting beside the living water of God and meditating on the Word of God, the constant washing of the water of the Word wears down all of our rough and crooked edges. When we restore our image of God through the living water of God, we can subdue and overcome Goliath that threatens to destroy us.
How about five stones? What do they signify?
First of all, in Hebrew, a stone or eben, is a contraction of the words or put together words, father and son (av + ben). What is stronger than the Father God and his Son Jesus? Nothing! Nothing or no one can stand as in fighting before Father and Son put together! Why did then David choose five stones, instead of just one? what does it mean?
“FIVE is associated with grace, the gospel, and anointing.” Remember Pentecost? On the fiftieth day, the strong anointing of the Holy Spirit on God’s people happened in the Upper Room? FIVE also stands for words of God, five books of Moses or Torah. The Ten Commandments were written on two stone tablets, with FIVE commandments teaching us how to love YHWH and FIVE teaching us how to love our neighbor. Torah, Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament David picked up, and the word of God defeated a beast, Goliath. Holy Spirit which testifies about God and His Son in the words of God, –Holy Spirit and the words of God were weapons of David to fight with Goliath.
David fought with Goliath with prayer. Verse 45, “…David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied”. We pray in the name of Jesus. David prayed in the name of the Lord. We cannot have victory over Satan without prayer. We have to fight with Satan with prayers in the name of Jesus, our Champion in our spiritual warfare.
Finally, we can defeat Goliath, our enemy, with Jesus. Verse 49, “David put his hand in his bag, took out a stone, slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead; the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell face down on the ground”. Stone signifies Jesus, the rock, the salvation. The stone sank into our enemy’s forehead. Jesus is the only one who can put our enemy to death.
What is your Goliath? Do you face Goliath? Or Do we aware that Goliath, our enemy is trying to destroy us, the body of God at all times? I have been struggling to deal with my own Goliath, –my ego, pride, prejudices, and resentment in me. I do not have much fear Goliath that comes from outside, but the Goliath living in me is the hardest to deal with in my experience. With God’s help, we can prevail in fighting our own ego, too! Thanks be to God!!