(Originally posted on www.tmurphywrites.com)
I’d already been reading Giants May Fall, by Dutch Sheets when I opened my son’s Christmas gift—Malcom Gladwell’s David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. It didn’t take long to begin seeing connections between them. What Sheets explores from one angle, Gladwell considers from another.
Both books share a similar theme: when facing a giant, don’t get sucked into fighting on his terms. In this blog, I’ll focus on how Gladwell’s observations relate to pursuing God’s will for our lives.
Like David, we will have times we must decide what we will do about the huge challenges standing in our way. Like Goliaths, they taunt us to try and get past them. “I dare you to keep the land of your dreams. Just look what you’ll have to do, what you’ll need to have, who you’ll need to be to succeed.”
How do we avoid cowering on the sidelines the way Saul and his men did in 1 Samuel 17? How do we compete with opposition that seems so strong?
As Gladwell points out, David didn’t have Goliath’s brawn, but he did have advantages over the giant.
In ancient warfare, there were three types of warriors. The cavalry fought from horseback. Infantry clashed on foot, hand to hand. And projectile throwers hurled stones or shot arrows. Like a game of rock, paper, scissors, one type of warrior held an advantage over another. For example, cavalry could outmaneuver projectile throwers with their greater speed. Heavily armored infantry could bring down cavalry riders with their long pikes and spears. And archers and slingers could defeat infantrymen by launching their weapons from afar.
Goliath was an infantryman, loaded down with heavy armor. Though his spear was the size of a weaver’s beam (1 Samuel 17:7), it was a short-range weapon. When he told David to “come to me” in 1 Samuel 17:44 he was inviting David to hand-to-hand combat.
David chose not to attack Goliath’s strengths. Instead, he used the weapon he’d been practicing with most of his life. After years of defending sheep from lions and bears, David had had developed a deadly accuracy with his sling. The giant was doomed from the moment David scooped up those stones. Weighed down with the very armor that made him so intimidating, Goliath was helpless to lumber out of the way.
What does all this mean for us? I’m still piecing this all together, but I think sometimes we despair of fulfilling God’s call because the opposition we face seems so strong. We assume we must accomplish them with particular skills or come from particular backgrounds.
God, however, has been strengthening each of us in certain areas through personal experiences. What we thought of as “coping methods” to get through life, may actually be the weapons God has trained us in to bring down today’s giant.
Years of abuse may have taught us how to survive through hardship. Decades of financial challenges may have made us strong in faith for God’s provision. Acute shyness may have enabled us to become tenacious researchers. And one of these qualities may be just what we need to win over the Goliath challenging us now.
How about you? What kind of human, financial, social, or spiritual giant has you believing you can only obtain your dreams by fighting a certain way? How can you avoid getting sucked into the wrong kind of battle and take a clue from David? Take a moment and leave your comments below.
Guest blogger Terry Murphy is a writer and speaker who loves gathering clues about God from His Word and creation. When she’s not writing or speaking somewhere, you’ll find her in her garden, hiking through nearby nature preserves with her husband, or waiting to renew her youth with the next exciting visit from her children or grandchildren.
Read more of her blogs on https://tmurphywrites.com