When I was about thirteen, I watched Wilt Chamberlain play basketball. The seven-foot, once-inch giant was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and they were in Portland to play the Trail Blazers. As he trotted into the visitor’s locker-room at half-time, I stood in the throng waiting. As he passed by, I reached out to pat the hall-of-famer on the back. I missed his back because I was too short. I can honestly say that I patted Wilt Chamberlain on the rump! Yep! I did.
Goliath was almost three-feet taller than Wilt. He “was nine feet, nine inches, tall and wore a bronze helmet and bronze scale armor that weighed one hundred twenty-five pounds. There was bronze armor on his shins, and a bronze javelin was slung between his shoulders. His spear shaft was like a weaver’s beam, and the iron point of his spear weighed fifteen pounds” (1 Samuel 17:4-7, CSB).
In the Valley of Elah, the Israelites where camped on one side while the Philistines camped opposite. Each morning, the Philistine hero hollered, “Choose one man. If he defeats me, our nation will serve you. If I win, your nation will serve us.”
The Israelites were terrified. Who could stand against such a warrior? Not a single Israelite was willing to take the challenge... not even King Saul who stood a head taller than the rest. Like whipped puppies with their tails tucked between their legs, the Israelites cowered in fear.
That’s when a shepherd-boy named David showed up. He over-heard the giant’s profane and confrontational words. As a shepherd, he had protected his father’s sheep. Trusting his great God, He declared, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37, CSB). David vowed, “I’ll fight the big, bad, bully!”
In the creek-bed, David picked up five smooth stones. David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with a sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Armies, the God of the ranks of Israel—you have defied him. Today, the Lord will hand you over to me. Today, I’ll strike you down ... Then all the world will know that Israel has a God” (1 Samuel 17:45–46, CSB).
That day, with a shepherd’s sling shot, David became the savior of the nation. He alone won the victory. He defeated the giant. Doing so, David become a type of Christ.
Just as David defeated a Philistine giant, Jesus has defeated our taunting and tempting enemy, Satan.
Against Satan, in a one-on-one contest, we wouldn’t stand a chance. We need a hero to rescue us by defeating the daunting devil. Jesus has won the battle. It is finished! He defeated our foe. He did what we couldn’t.
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor