Poor Goliath. When he challenged the Israelite army to send a warrior to do battle with him the great giant never had a chance. As soon as they saw the young shepherd boy armed with his sling and five smooth stones they should have fled immediately into the hills to regroup. David held all of the power and was in total control of the situation. Goliath was the underdog.

Are you surprised by this view of the story? I was too when I read Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book, David and Goliath. Gladwell argues that Goliath never had a chance because David took advantage of the situation and turned everything into his favor. Goliath was heavily armored. He was tall and strong. His weapons were humongous. He looked fearsome. David, the young shepherd boy, volunteered to take on the mighty warrior. When Saul looked at the situation he could only see it through the eyes of the traditional style of one-on-one combat and he tried to arm David in the same way. David, combining quickness and speed with a powerful and accurate weapon, took down the mighty Philistine and turned the tables of war.

Gladwell writes, “What the Israelites saw, from high on the ridge, was an intimidating giant. In reality the very thing that gave the giant his size was also the source of his greatest weakness. There is an important lesson in that for battles with all kinds of giants. The powerful and the strong are not always what they seem.”

Are there any gigantic battles in your life that are bringing you down, leaving you cowering in the corner with nothing but fear on your side? Are there issues in your life that seem huge and insurmountable? Are you discouraged by the way things have gone for you lately? Perhaps what you need is a new way of seeing the battle.

David took on Goliath with courage and faith but he had more than those two things on his side. He found a way to take on this challenge that no one else had envisioned. By learning to see through the problem to a new and never thought of solution he was able to leave behind the fear that others were surely feeling and defeat Goliath.

Paul, writing to a young pastor named Timothy, declares, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline.” That’s not a promise for easy victories but it is a blueprint for taking on any and every challenge we face.

Grace and peace to you,