How often have you heard it said, “We need to face our Goliath!” Every one knows what a ‘David and Goliath’ battle means, even if they’ve never read the Bible. We think that the most challenging battle David faced in his life and career was against this giant. But I’d like to suggest that Goliath was an easy target for David compared to other giants he’d encounter in later years.
David walked onto the battlefield, slung a stone, and sank it into Goliath’s skull. He then chopped off the giant’s head with his own blade. I doubt David even broke sweat. But, compared to the wars, persecutions, backstabbings, and family feud that David had to endure, killing Goliath was child’s play.
It’s not always the ‘Goliath’ issues in life that are the most difficult for us. Yes, it was an important day of battle, and everyone was watching. Goliath was an obvious enemy. He and David met on a real battlefield, and the goal was clear – kill or be killed.
But David’s post-Goliath life was not as smooth sailing.
For years to come, David was on the run. His life was endangered by Saul, who was not only his king but David’s father-in-law. Saul threw his spear at David multiple times, and chased him through the wilderness.
Facing a giant on the battlefield on any single day is relatively easy, compared to years of someone making your life a living hell. Imagine years of having a close relative hot on your heels for your blood!
David also brought copious amounts of heartache into his own life. He conspired to kill one of his best friends (Uriah) – a man who was willing to die for him – prompted by his desire to cover up his sexual misdemeanour, which resulted in the pregnancy of this same man’s wife (Bathsheba). His actions produced some of the saddest chapters in the Bible.
After that, David’s family disintegrated into rape, coup, murder, and shame. And who was to blame? David. His youthful battle with Goliath probably seemed like heaven in comparison to the familial hell that came as a result of David’s stupidity.
I realise it’s not always the giants, the obvious enemies, and the clear battlefields that prove most exhausting and dangerous for us. It’s the ongoing, subtle, seductive, minute things in life that wear us out – the things that no one else sees.
The toxic work environment, the unhappy spouse or marriage we feel trapped in, the rebellious kids that bring heartache, chronic sickness, backstabbing, and most of all, the destructive decisions we keep making, although we should’ve learned our lesson years ago.
But what did David do?
It’s not so much what he did, but what he acknowledged he could not do. Read his psalms. Over and over, David tells God, in so many words, “I can’t do this. I can’t handle this. You, dear God, You alone can help and rescue me.”
“You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8)
“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side when people rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive” (Psalm 124:1-3)
“For God alone my soul waits… He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress… For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him” (Psalm 62:1-5)
Then David said to Gad, “I am in great distress. Let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but let me not fall into the hand of man.” (2 Samuel 24:14)
Can you hear what David is saying? He acknowledged that it was the Lord who had preserved him all this while. It was the Lord’s mercies that kept him safe. David did not pray, “Boost my self-confidence, help me to believe in myself so that I may invoke all the strength within me to conquer every problem.”
Rather, time and again, David fixed his eyes on the Lord, humbled himself and prayed for mercy. And this should be the posture of our hearts. Mercy is at the heart of the psalms, for mercy is at the heart of God. The Mercy Seat was the most important furniture in Moses’ Tabernacle – the greatest revelation of Yahweh.
Mercy is our only hope. We must acknowledge that we can’t move on without the Lord. Mercy protected David on the battlefield. It saved David when he wrecked his life, his family, and the lives of many others. And mercy – the mercy of our Father in Jesus Christ – will alone save us. We need to remember that God’s mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.
Asst. Pastor Elijah Chan