Bible Society of South Africa

A true leader does not back down from a big challenge – 6 July 2021

By Ewald Schmidt

Bible text(s)

26David asked the men who were near him, “What will the man get who kills this Philistine and frees Israel from this disgrace? After all, who is this heathen Philistine to defy the army of the living God?”

1 Samuel 17:26GNBOpen in Bible reader

David was a part-time musician for King Saul, the rest of the time he was a shepherd for his father (1 Samuel 17:15). Israel had an arch-enemy, the Philistines, who decided it was time for war again. It was a cold war at first, with both armies coming to a standstill at Ephes Dammim. It was a war of words and intimidation. The Philistines had a giant, Goliath, a man from Gath, and he was three metres tall! His armour weighed 57 kilograms, and he had a huge spear. He was a champion fighter. Every morning, he appeared at a hill overlooking the armies of Israel. He shouted insults at the army, and at the God of Israel. He then challenged Israel to provide their champion for a bout of single combat to the death. But no one in Israel had the courage to take on his challenge.

King Saul should have stood up and taken on the responsibility. He was a head taller than his compatriots, and a skilful warrior. With the Lord’s help, he could have taken on Goliath and won the day for the honour of God. But he did not trust in the Lord any more.

David was at home, when his father sent him to deliver supplies for his brothers on the front line. David saw Goliath as he neared their camp – and heard his insults. He was disgusted that no one in Israel would stand up and face the giant. He asked the men around him what would happen to the man who would stand up for the honour of God. His eldest brother, Eliab, heard him and was angry. He called David conceited and wicked, just a spectator to the fight. Eliab was also more suitable to take on Goliath than David, he was much bigger and taller than David. But he also lacked the courage to take on the giant and took it out on David.

We see something of David’s character and faith shining through in this chapter. There is a huge problem standing in front of them, but no one rises to the challenge. When he identifies the problem, he takes it down. A true leader does not back down from a challenge just because the weak criticise him or her. A leader seeks ways to conquer the giant. We sometimes have to face a giant in our way. He may have another name. Don’t back down, seek God’s help and guidance, the giant must fall!

Prayer: Lord, in this life, we face many giants. There are challenges much larger than we feel capable of handling. But you are bigger than my biggest giant, in your Name every giant will fall before you! Amen.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.15
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