David didn’t defeat Goliath by relying on his own strength. He fought the battle by his faith in God. He knew that it was God’s battle and went in God’s name. ‘I come against you in the name of the Lord,’ he said and overcame the enemy with a single stone!
Promises from God
David’s stones were like guaranteed promises from God. We can imagine him going down to the brook to gather them, saying to himself, ‘I’ll kill Goliath, but I just need five covenant promises from God.’ Stones tend to look very ordinary out of water, but under water they display patterns of great beauty. As David picked out the stones, it was as though he picked up promises from God’s Word over which the water of the Holy Spirit had run, making them real, sharp and powerful for hurling against his foe.
What Spirit-anointed promises would God give us if we were standing in front of Goliath, listening to him curse us by his gods? How about some of these: ‘There is no divination that will prosper against Israel’; ‘I will never fail you nor forsake you’; ‘Greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world’; ‘I will always lead you in triumph.’ All these would suffice, but I can imagine David saying, ‘I have found just the stone I need: “No man shall be able to stand before you.”‘
Goliath might have been a giant, but he was only a man. He wouldn’t be able to stand before one empowered by God. That was the promise. David had to be a winner. This giant wouldn’t be allowed to defy the armies of the living God.
Our greatest need is to see God, to recognise that everything that stands against us is nothing compared to his covenant promises. ‘Who is this uncircumcised Philistine?’ He isn’t one of God’s covenant people; therefore he cannot stand. Goliath didn’t stand. David knocked him down and then finished the job by cutting off his head.
Death to Goliath
If we don’t take our battles through to total victory, we’ll leave a gap that the enemy will exploit. There are three places where Joshua did not completely prevail in battle: Gaza, Ashdod and Gath (Josh. 11:22). Interestingly enough, there was later rebellion in each of these places. Samson died in Gaza (Judg. 16:21-30); the men of Ashdod received the stolen ark from the Israelites in another tragic defeat (1 Sam. 5:1); and guess who was born in Gath – Goliath! (1 Sam. 17:4).
Our Goliaths must not merely be knocked unconscious; they must be well and truly put to death! We must have no mercy on them. We must not only love righteousness, but also hate evil and destroy it wherever it confronts us. Every taunt from the enemy must be overcome. You must take God’s promises of victory and hurl them with faith at your enemy every time he tries to tell you that he has you cornered. Ask God to make His promises mighty in your heart. Fear is the substance of things dreaded, but ‘faith is the substance of things hoped for’ (Heb. 11:1 NKJV).
The enemy tries to tell you that you aren’t strong enough to defeat him and that to get anywhere in life you must be wise, strong, noble and influential – perhaps like Goliath appeared to his comrades. It’s a lie. God has chosen people who are foolish, weak, base and despised; and he has chosen you. He has loved you in your weakness because he delights to bring to naught things like Goliath.
Your giants will hurl cruel taunts at you: ‘You’re stupid and feeble!’ ‘You weren’t wanted in the first place.’ ‘You’re a nobody and no one cares about you.’ You feel the wounds and despise yourself – but you needn’t trail off dejected and despairing. God has given you his stones, his promises. He wants you to lift up your head, pick up those promises and fling the truth at the enemy: ‘God has called me by name. He loves me. I’m chosen and precious and I have a glorious inheritance! I’m going to move on with Jesus. I’ve lived with these negative feelings for years but I’m not going to put up with them any more. From now on I’m going to use the Word of God to overcome. I’m going to step out into the freedom and victory that Jesus has won for me!’
‘Unlike us, God never finds himself in the uncomfortable situation of having made a promise he no longer wants to or is able to keep. God is never caught by surprise. God’s promises are made in his infinite wisdom as part of his eternal plan and are backed by his matchless power. What God says, he does. God, because he is God, is a promise keeper.’
Scott Hafemann, The God of Promise and the Life of Faith. Crossway Books, 2001, p. 94.