I have been thinking about the Bible account of David and Goliath a lot recently. Many of the common lessons from this account include relying on God to defend you in every situation and being able to defeat any obstacle – that size doesn’t really matter. Those are all good points…but I want you to look at it from a different perspective today.
“Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim.
And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines.
And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them.
And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.
And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us. And the Philistine said, I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.
When Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.”
– 1 Samuel 17:1-11
Let’s stop here for a moment. These few verses alone tell us that Goliath was an intimidating person. A cubit equals the distance from the elbow to the tip of the longest finger. Of course, this varies person to person, but there were standard measures back then. The main two: the Hebrew short cubit and the Hebrew royal (or long) cubit (1). My opinion is that the Hebrew royal cubit was used, which equals about 20.4 inches (I say this based on 2 Corinthians mentioning that Soloman’s temple was built according to the cubits of “the former measure” – indicating the royal cubit. Because this happened after David fought Goliath, I would estimate that the royal cubit was used to describe Goliath. However, this is just my opinion…you should do the research for yourself to find out what you believe). In ancient times, a span was about half a cubit. Let’s do some math and figure out how big Goliath was, using the Hebrew royal cubit:
Goliath’s height = [(6*20.4inches) + (20.4 inches/2)]
Goliath’s height = 122.4 inches + 10.2 inches
Goliath’s height = 132.6 inches
Goliath’s height = 11.05 feet (divide the inches by 12)
If the Hebrew royal cubit was used, Goliath was just over 11 feet tall. If the Hebrew short cubit was used, then he would have been a bit over 9 feet tall. Regardless of which cubit was used, Goliath was very tall – anywhere between 9 feet and 11 feet. His mail coat would have been roughly 125 pounds, and the tip of his spear would have weighed 15 pounds (100 shekels equals about 2.5 pounds).
I think we can all agree that Goliath was a formidable opponent. Just by looking at him, you’d likely be scared – probably thinking he could break you in half like a twig. To top it all off, Goliath proclaims, “Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us…. I defy the armies of Israel this day; give me a man, that we may fight together.” (1 Samuel 17:8-10).
When the Israelites heard these words, they were afraid and dismayed. Goliath went out and proclaimed this for forty days and received no response (1 Samuel 17:16). As time went on, the Israelites who caught so much as a glimpse of Goliath “fled from him, and were sore afraid” (1 Samuel 17:24). Who could possibly go up against such a formidable force and win?
Enter David, the future king of Israel – at this time, however, he’s a young boy and the shepherd of his father’s flock. David shows up, hears what Goliath has to say, and proclaims,
“What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?…And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine….Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear [that took a lamb out of the flock]: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.”
-1 Samuel 17:26, 32, & 36
David basically said, “If no one else is going to get rid of Israel’s disgrace and shame for being terrified of this tyrant, then I will. Who does Goliath think he is, defying the armies of the living God? By all means, don’t let anyone have a heart attack because they think Goliath is too big to defeat. I’ll do it. He has defied the armies of the living God. Someone needs to do something.”
David saw something that was wicked, evil, and against God – something so inherently wrong. All of the Israelite soldiers were terrified. Who could possibly stop it? This evil was so big…one guy couldn’t possibly win and defeat it. So why even try?
David rejected the armour that king Saul gave him, and instead took his staff, five smooth stones from the riverbed, and his sling (1 Samuel 17:39-40). Why did David take five stones? The Bible doesn’t specifically tell us, but Goliath had four brothers (2 Samuel 21:15-22)…and it’s always good to prepare for trouble that may happen (i.e. one of Goliath’s brothers coming down to kill David). What was Goliath’s reaction to David?
“And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.”
– 1 Samuel 17:42-44
And if Goliath’s stature and defiance of Israel and God wasn’t enough to scare someone, surely this reaction would. But here’s what David said,
“Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou has defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth my know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.”
– 1 Samuel 17:45-47
Instead of being intimidated by Goliath, David knew he had to fight for what was right and stand up against this evil that blatantly defied God. And that’s not all. When Goliath rose to meet him, “David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:48). David didn’t stand there and wait for the evil to come to his own backyard, so to speak. He saw that it was wrong and he rushed in head first to stop it – disregarding his own safety. And here is the outcome of this battle:
“And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore, David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron.”
– 1 Samuel 17:49-52a
Not only did David defeat Goliath, but he followed through with his word. He had promised Goliath that he would kill him and take his head…and that’s just what he did. Only after the Israelites saw that someone could defeat this giant did they rush in to help defeat the rest of the Philistines. They weren’t willing to be the only one to stand. When did Israel become so weak? How could they just stand idly by and let someone curse God and His people?
Now look around you. Our Constitutional liberties are being trampled upon. Our freedom is being trampled upon. Our churches are being trampled upon. And it seems no one – least of all our churches – is standing. You know that old saying, where if you give an inch, they’ll take a mile? In the United States, we were told (in March) that it would only be a 15 day shutdown to “flatten the curve”…and here we are in the same state roughly nine months later – it’s almost Christmas. (Also, here’s something that many people don’t seem to understand: “flatten the curve” does NOT mean “get rid of the curve”. It literally means flatten it – stop it from rising too quickly and get it to become steady).
Just like the armies of Israel, when did our people become so afraid and weak that, within a matter of months, they are more than willing to wear a mask and call out anyone who tries to stand against it? Many of those in power, including governors, mayors, and even the media, are all spreading fear – just like Goliath. They look at those who are willing to stand against the tyranny and say, “Who do you think you are? You’re just one person. We’re like Hydra…cut off one head, two more will take its place. There’s no way you can win. You might as well just run back home and listen to us. You can’t stop us.” Day by day, it seems like they’re right. You see people wearing masks when they’re alone in a car. You see others closing business because the governments say they are “nonessential”. The ones who live out their God-given rights to freedom and liberty are being fined and thrown in jail for not following the demands of those who are not our doctors. So many people – who know it’s wrong – just roll over. After all, they’re only one person. They can’t possibly stop it…and even if they manage success against one, there will always be more (but David knew this, too…and prepared for it).
If you cannot see what is happening, then you need to study the U.S. Constitution and the principles that this country was founded upon. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that our certain, unalienable rights are “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, unless faced with a virus that is likely not going to kill you”. This virus is about as dangerous as the flu (which, miraculously, we’ve had no cases of this year…turns out the cure to the flu was COVID…wonder how that happened?). When you’re sick, you stay home. If you’re healthy, then you go about and live your life. You take advantage of the freedoms that the U.S. Constitution gives you. But there are those who would have us believe that method doesn’t work anymore.
I am almost 20 years old, and I’m looking around at this insane world – where people have handed over their freedoms for the false security of a mask. But what can I possibly do to rectify this? I’m only one person. Just like with everything else in life, the Bible has the answer: Stand.
Don’t run, hide, or turn a blind eye to it – and certainly don’t join it or advocate for it. That’s no way to win a battle and defeat a giant – no matter the size. The Bible account of David and Goliath teaches us that we need to always stand and fight for what is right…not what is popular or what the majority believes. Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Adams (although Sam was a bit harsher) both observed:
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
– Benjamin Franklin
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.”
– Samuel Adams
If you are not 100% sure that you’ll go to Heaven when you die, now is the time to repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ. If you have any questions or doubts about your salvation click here to learn how you can be saved!
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version.
- Hodge, Bodie. “How Long Was the Original Cubit?” Answers in Genesis. https://answersingenesis.org/noahs-ark/how-long-was-the-original-cubit/