King David is my favorite person in the Old Testament. A very rare mixture characterizes David’s heart as a man who was both a poet and warrior. He wrote beautiful songs for God but also cut off the head of a giant with the same hands that spread the parchment and dipped the quill. As I strive to grow more as a leader in God’s Kingdom and pray to be a believer who influences the generation coming behind me, I see something else about David that makes me long to live under a similar mantle:
“After this there was again war with the Philistines at Gob. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Saph, who was one of the descendants of the giants… And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand, and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimei, David’s brother, struck him down. These four were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants. – 2 Samuel 18, 20-22
All of us know about David killing and beheading Goliath when the entire army of Israel had been frozen with fear by the Philistine Giant. David was a young, brave, God-fearing patriot of Israel and he forever silenced the taunts of Goliath with one slung stone. This was the beginning of David’s fame and destiny in Israel which eventually led to his kingship. Yet, flashing forward many years, we see that some who followed David became giant killers themselves. The best that I can tell there are only a handful of giants defeated in Scripture and all of them were taken down by men who followed David, the original giant slayer.
David’s mighty men killed giants named Ishbi-Benob, Saph (Sippai), and Lahmi, as well as an unnamed giant with six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot. Abishai, Sibbecai and David’s nephew, Jonathan, are named as co-conquerors in the world of giant-killers. I find it noteworthy that these men were willing to fight opposition that outsized them. Facing giants is no casual calling yet these men were all familiar with the exploits of their leader, David. Undoubtedly, their king had told them of how God actually killed Goliath and David merely had the privilege of slinging the stone. Through the example of his courage, faith and willingness to fight a fight that nobody else was willing to fight, David inspired those who would follow him.
And some of them became giant-killers too.
Time is running short. The end of the age seems to be rushing toward us at an unprecedented clip. The sons of Issachar discerned the days in which they lived (1 Chronicles 12:32) and we need to follow suit. All of us are being influenced by somebody. The pople we follow are either killing giants, tolerating giants or being crushed by giants. It is actually a big deal that we discern which type of person is influencing our thinking. You are partially covered by the shadow of those whom you fall in line behind so I challenge you to follow giant-killers – men and women who do not avoid the conflict and are not lifting a moistened finger into the air to see if the winds are blowing favorably for them before they commit to the battle. The craving for comfort, ease and safety are potentially turning the 21st century Church into a massively wide group of people who run about a quarter inch in spiritual depth. The faithless spies in Numbers 13:33 saw the giants occupying the place of promise and came back to declare that they could not win the battle God had ordained for them. Joshua and Caleb, conversely, proclaimed that the battle could easily be won as God empowered them. Unfortunately, the entire camp of Israel listened to those who feared the giants and they thus paid the ultimate price for following the ten giant-dreaders instead of the two giant-killers. Of note is the fact that Joshua and Caleb eventually entered the land as conquerors while those who were intimidated by the largeness of the opposition died in their desert wanderings.
So who will you follow in the Kingdom?
Be influenced by men and women who live by audacious faith. Beware of those who seek to zap your zeal, stifle your surge and diminish your daring. Find a giant slayer and get in line behind that person. Yes, you will forfeit your sense of circumstantial safety. Yes, you will be viewed as radical by those who are resigned to the lowest common denominator approach to the Christian experience. No, you will not likely be surrounded by large numbers of people who share your vision. No, you will not be affirmed and understood by most people.
But you will kill giants.
But you will experience what it means to exit the valley with the enemy extinguished.
But you will not just sing songs of victory…you will write them as one who knows firsthand what it means to beat the odds and defy the odds-makers.
Follow giant-killers and you will become one yourself.