David’s first big battle was against a Philistine “terminator” named Goliath. Ironically, his last recorded battles were against four more Philistine giants. As you recall, David picked up five smooth stones on his way to fight Goliath. Why five stones? Was it merely extra ammunition in case he missed his first shot or two? Or was it, as some suggest, because Goliath had four super-sized siblings or sons? Grabbing five stones may have been an act of faith. Perhaps David thought:
“God will not only help me defeat this giant, but every giant I have to face!”
In case you haven’t noticed, life is a series of battles. You’re either in a battle, fresh out of a battle, or about to face another one! Wouldn’t it be nice if we only had to face ONE battle or just ONE giant? That’s not reality. News flash—just because you defeat one enemy, demon or temptation doesn’t mean the war is over. The enemy doesn’t give up and neither should we. Let’s make five observations about David’s final conflicts:
. David Kept Fighting. “When the Philistines were at war again with Israel, David and his servants with him went down and fought against the Philistines” (2 Sam. 21:15). This was late in David’s forty-year reign when he was around sixty years old. Notice David personally went down and fought (he was no armchair general). He wasn’t just living in the lap of luxury or being pampered in his cedar palace. No, he kept fighting. That’s what we must do—keep fighting the good fight of faith. There is no victory without a battle. Billy Sunday, the 20th century evangelist known for his bold rhetoric said, “Listen, I’m against sin. I’ll kick it as long as I’ve got a foot, I’ll fight it as long as I’ve got a fist, I’ll butt it as long as I’ve got a head, and I’ll bite it as long as I’ve got a tooth. And when I’m old, fistless, footless, and toothless, I’ll gum it till I go home to glory and it goes home to perdition.” As soldiers of the cross, we keep fighting realizing we are in a spiritual war between God and Satan, angels and demons, good and evil, right and wrong, truth and error. The good news is we’re on the winning side—“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31)
. David Nearly Fainted. 2 Samuel 21:15 (KJV) says, “And David waxed faint.” The Living Bible reads, “David became weak and exhausted.” We’d like to think we’re invincible, that we never get weary or worn out, but that’s not realistic. There will be times of great strength and triumph along with times of weakness and defeat. Here we have King David, a champion, a giant killer, a national hero of Israel, nearly passing out in total exhaustion on the battlefield. The old saying is true, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” When you are physically, emotionally and spiritually drained, remind yourself of Paul’s words, “Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9). Don’t lose heart, don’t give up or quit. David almost did, but he bounced back and won the battle.
. David was Saved by a Friend. “Then Ishbi-Benob, who was one of the sons of the giant . . . who was bearing a new sword, thought he could kill David. But Abishai . . . came to his aid, and struck the Philistine and killed him” (2 Sam. 21:16-17). Certainly, all of Goliath’s relatives had a vendetta against David (they wanted revenge). Goliath’s son, Ishbi-Benob, had David in a vulnerable position and was closing in for the kill. It was a close call, but Abishai, David’s nephew, saved his life and slew the giant instead. Abishai’s name means “possessor of all that is desirable.” He reminds me of another “friend” who has saved us from our enemy time and time again—Jesus. Some giants we may be able to slay on our own with God’s help (Goliath was a one-man job). To conquer other giants, we’ll need the help of spiritual friends—prayer partners, brothers or sisters in Christ to agree with us. There is power in agreement. With God on their side, one person can put 1,000 to flight, but two in unity can put 10,000 to flight (Dt. 32:30). That’s one reason Jesus sent His disciples out in pairs. God teams people together to help each other overcome. None of us are lone rangers (even the Lone Ranger had Tonto). We need a network of spiritual friends.
. David Knew His Source. When God delivered David from all his enemies, he wrote, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence” (2 Sam. 22:2-3). As long as we are connected to our source, we will prevail. If you separate a fish from water, a plant from soil or a branch from a tree, they will die. The same will happen to us if we are detached from God, our spiritual source. Jesus made it clear, “I am the vine, you are the branches . . . for without Me ye can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). We must stay connected to our source to ensure victory.
. David and His Men Slew Five Giants: Goliath, Ishbi-benob (2 Sam. 21:16), Saph (2 Sam. 21:18), Lahmi, (Goliath’s brother—1 Chr. 20:5), and another unnamed giant (2 Sam. 21:20). Three of these behemoths were “born to the giant of Gath” (perhaps Goliath’s sons) and one was his brother, but all were killed by David and his men. The point is we will face multiple giants in our lifetimes, but the same God who helped David defeat Goliath, gave him victory over every giant he faced!
All the giants mentioned in the Bible were enemies of God’s people. Giants intimidate people with their abnormal strength and size. One Hebrew word for “giants” is nephil (plural nephilim) which means “a bully or tyrant,” a fitting description of demons. Goliath was a big bully—defying God and terrorizing Israel until David decapitated him. Likewise, Satan is a bully. He tries to intimidate us with fear, but he is a defeated foe. You may have a giant towering over you today (depression, doubt, debt, fear, sickness, addiction, temptation, etc.). Remember, the God who conquered Goliath whipped all of his overgrown kin too. Take courage, my friend, your giants are coming down in Jesus’ name!
Ben Godwin is the author of four books and pastors the Goodsprings Full Gospel Church. To read more articles, visit his website at bengodwin.org and take advantage of his 4-book bundle for $25.00.