Sunday, July 12, 2015

7 Things You Need to Know When Facing a Giant

We are doing a series on David at St. Paul through the end of August, and today's was on the familiar story of David and Goliath.  How does one preach on a passage we know so well?  I felt led to take a very different approach, and because I received so many requests for this "list," you can find it below.  

Sermon Scripture: 1 Samuel 17, selections (Story of David and Goliath)

I would love to have a unique approach to this passage, something like  "Goliath: Misunderstood Teddy Bear" or "Goliath's No Good Rotten Day," but neither of those approaches are very genuine to the text, instead I began to think-- what can we learn from this model of dealing with great adversity?  Taking a note from social media, I thought I would make a list, in no certain order...
7 Things You Need to Know When Facing a Giant

1. Choose your battles wisely.  Most conflicts that we face in life are not Goliaths, though they may feel insurmountable.  As the wise saying goes, "when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Always leave the hammer, or the sling, as a last resort. David talked with several others, including his leader, before determining that God prepared him for such a time as this.

2. Use your God given talent. Don't miss this genius move in the story.  Goliath and Saul expected David to use conventional battle tactics.  David used the skill he knew, and thus rejected the armor that would have weighed him down.  Beyond that, Goliath was ready for a sword match, and the sling/stone caught him completely off guard, literally.

3. See past the giant exterior to the spot of weakness. There is always weakness.  Think Star Wars: Deathstar! David knew that his best chance was to use his sling, which required him to show his vulnerability as well.  But he focused on the exposed portion of Goliath's head keeping his focus narrow.

4. Don't define your worth based on other people's perception of you.  Everyone... everyone said David was too small, too young, too weak, too inexperienced, too something.  Everyone was wrong. God can and will use people at all ages and stages in life.

5. Just keep walking.  You might be surprised how quickly the path clears. To be brave is not to be fearless... it is to walk in spite of the fear. 

6. Go Big or Go Home.  In order to defeat the giant, David had to expose himself and make himself vulnerable. He had to completely commit to this effort.  Everyone who watched David walk up to Goliath thought he would die, but David knew that he must try.

7. Know from whom you draw your strength.  David knew that he was small, but God was big... bigger than any Goliath in his path, and so he did not fear the alternatives.  Some would say this was a false sense of youthful invincibility, others more accurately describe it as faith in the face of adversity.  It is the power of God's strength in our weakness. 
We have all faced, or are currently facing a Goliath in our lives, but keep in mind that just because we like to relate to the underdog, doesn't mean that we are always the underdog.  Just as we all have the potential for David-like faith, we can also be someone's Goliath.  And if that's the case, disarm lest you find yourself face down.  When we are in the place of priviledge and power, it is time to take off the armor and kneel... because God sides with the underdog, the down-trodden, the weak, the poor, and the oppressed.  Let's side with God. 

St. Paul UMC- Fountain City

St. Paul UMC- Fountain City