Aug. 1-2, 2009 

The Shadow of the Giant, Part One
by Charles R. Swindoll

1 Samuel 17:50

Goliath reminds me of the cross-eyed discus thrower. He didn't set any records . . . but he sure kept the crowd awake!

Day after day, he paraded along the slopes of the Valley of Elah throwing out threats and belching blasphemies across the creek with a basso-profundo voice like twenty out-of-tune tubas. He was not only ugly, he was huge, well over nine feet tall in his stocking feet. His armor included a bronze coat of mail weighing two hundred pounds, a solid-iron spear (the head alone weighed twenty-five pounds), and a big bronze helmet. Add another club, bronze leggings and boots, plus that face of his . . . and you've got the makings of a shoo-in linebacker for the Chicago Bears or next season's center for UCLA's starting five. Pity the poor private who drew duty as Goliath's shield bearer! It was about as suicidal as a novice drifting into the Devil's Triangle on a hang glider. Goliath, you see, was the pride of Philistia; and if you didn't believe it, all you had to do was ask him, or ask Saul's army (if you could find them).

Paralyzed and hypnotized, the camp of the Israelites sat galvanized in their tents. The only noise heard from the Hebrew troops was the knocking of their knees or the chattering of their teeth---in unison. Goliath was, up to that point, eminently successful with his basic strategy of intimidation. His threats boomed across the valley with chilling regularity, producing the desired result: fear. The inspired record informs us that those monotonous blasts from the giant's mouth sounded forth every morning and every evening for forty long days. The dawn of that forty-first day, however, was the beginning of the end for the giant from Gath.

Some ten miles away, a handsome, muscular teenager---the runt in a family of eight boys---was sent on an errand by his father. That innocent errand proved to be an epochal event in Jewish history. Fresh from the wilderness, the sheep trails, and more important, from the awesome presence of God, David stopped and stared in disbelief when he reached the battleground.

For a young man whose unsullied character had been nursed in solitude and spawned in secret acts of bravery, the scene before him was staggering. The young shepherd simply could not believe his eyes. Refusing to accept his brothers' rationalizations or listen to the giant's threats, David saw through the Philistine strategy and withstood it through sheer, solid faith. He knew His God could handle any threat.

Are you facing a giant today? Tomorrow we'll learn from David two timeless truths about giant warfare.

Excerpted from Come Before Winter and Share My Hope, Copyright © 1985, 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.