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Seeds of the Kingdom

Facing Giants

by John Sainsbury

18 November 2021

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Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty.
Zechariah 4:6, NIV

Sometimes in life we can find ourselves in situations when we feel completely overwhelmed. Sometimes, whatever the practical reality of the situation, the size of the problems facing us can just seem insurmountable.

In 1 Samuel 17 we read of a time when the forces of the Philistines were arrayed before the Israelite army under King Saul. Every day, a Philistine champion named Goliath came out to taunt the Israelites by offering a one-on-one combat on a ‘winner takes all’ basis. The thing about Goliath, though, was that he was no ordinary champion. We read in verse 4 that he was nine feet tall!

When Saul became King over Israel, he certainly looked the part. We read in 1 Samuel 9:2 that he was an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites. He was a head taller than any of the others. But even he was dwarfed by Goliath. So, when he heard Goliath’s challenge, we read that Saul, along with all the Israelites, was understandably dismayed and terrified (17:11). What could Saul do in the face of such enormous, such overwhelming, circumstances?

Then, along came David. Whenever we allow the size of the problem we face to be the determining factor, it’s so easy to lose heart. But this is a fascinating story of the small overcoming the enormous. David trusted in God and was willing to step out in faith. Even when his older brother tried to put him in his place, and even when King Saul’s armour swamped him and fell off him, David was undeterred. Instead of focusing on the size of the problem, he looked, simply and courageously, to the greatness of his God.

Armed with the shepherd’s weapons that he had used to protect his father’s flock, David went out to take on Goliath with these words, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” I imagine he’d have looked small and insignificant, standing there in the face of that giant. But the rest, as they say, is history…

It may feel to many of us that the forces arrayed against us are just too huge. One example of this that’s on my heart right now is for those of us who are holding firmly to the truths of the Bible, rather than being overwhelmed and swept away by the powerful currents of our world’s values and demands. Frankly, such forces are indeed huge. But, like David facing Goliath, we would do well to focus less on the size of our own particular ‘giants’, and more on the enormity of the God we serve. Because the truth is that ‘our’ victory is actually His victory through us. And His battles are fought ‘not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty’.

Prayer: Dear Father, even when we face giants in our lives, especially those that challenge our faith in You, help us to focus our attention away from the size of the problem but more towards the hugeness of who You are. Help us, Lord, like David, to put our trust in You. Oh Lord, give us the courage and humility to surrender to You and Your ways alone. Please come swiftly to our rescue and be victorious in and through us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

John Sainsbury and his wife Sue are part of the leadership team at Ellel Grange. John has served as a church leader for many years, most recently as Lead Pastor of the Garstang Free Methodist Church. He has a passion for seeing many brought into the fulness of life that following Christ brings.


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