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The Bible by the Numbers > Day 27

Giant Killers (1 Samuel 17)

Another significant occurrence of the number forty in the Bible is found in 1 Samuel 17:16. The Scripture tells us that the Philistine champion, Goliath of Gath, came out every morning and evening for forty days challenging the army of Israel and deifying Israel’s God. In response, the men of Israel, including Saul their king, who the Bible says stood head and shoulders above them all, cowered in their tents.


Have you ever cowered in your tent when challenged by some God-deifying giant? Although we’re all ashamed to admit it, I fear we’ve all be guilty of it. We see the crisis confronting us and think that it is so much bigger than we are that we dare not confront it. It seems best to cower from it and hope that it will go away, but it keeps coming out everyday challenging our faith and defying our God.


One day, a little shepherd boy showed up in Israel’s camp. He happened to be there when the giant went through his daily routine of ridiculing the God and army of Israel. When the little lad asked why somebody didn’t go down there and teach that giant a lesson, he was laughed off as a cute little kid and taken to the king; after all, the cowering king was in need of a good chuckle. It was soon discovered, however, that the shepherd boy wasn’t joking. He was serious and not a bit scared.


To everyone else Goliath of Gath was to big to hit, but to David he was to big to miss. Everyone else was thinking about how much bigger Goliath was than they were, but David was thinking about how much smaller Goliath was than God was. The same God who had miraculously helped him before to kill a lion and a bear would surely help him again to kill this God-defying Philistine. Thus, armed with a sling and five smooth stones he went down into the valley to confront the giant. The rest is history!


No God-defying giant can stand before the mountain-moving faith of a man of God, even when that faith comes in a pint-sized package. Our enemies may seem armed to the teeth and us completely unarmed but for a sling. Still, with God we have them completely outgunned. As the Apostle Paul asked in Romans 8:31, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” 


It’s time to quit cowering in your tent and come out to face the God-defying giants in your life. You are a member of an army comprised of “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). Therefore, like David of old, you too can kill God-defying giants for the glory of God.

Don Walton